Stakeholders list benefits of public private partnership

Guest lecturer and founder Anthony Professional Corporation, Canada, Anthony Ross, Queen Counsel, (left); Lagos State Deputy Governor, Dr Idiat Oluranti Adebule; Senior Partner, PUNUKA Attorney & Solicitors, Chief Anthony Idigbe (SAN); Chairman, Nestle Nigeria Plc, David Ifezulike, an engineer and the Managing Partner, PUNUKA Attorneys, Mrs. Elizabeth Idigbe at the 10th yearly PUNUKA lecture with the theme: “The Role of Public Private Partnership in Infrastructural Development” in Lagos. PHOTO: BERTRAM NWANNEKANMA

Legal stakeholders have harped on the importance of adopting Public Private Partnership in sustaining development in the country.

Renowned Canadian lawyers, Anthony Ross, a Queen Counsel (QC) of Anthony Professional Corporation, Canada and Frank Walwyn, a Partner at top Canadian law firm, WeirFoulds LLP described  PPP as key towards  infrastructural development in Nigeria.

The duo, who spoke at the yearly PUNUKA Attorneys  & Solicitors lecture with the theme: “The Role of Public Private Partnership in Infrastructural Development”, in Lagos, said, the increasing population in many countries such as Nigeria has led to rising demands, hence  the need to move  towards creating  new capacity through public private partnership.

According to them, there is a global infrastructure gap/deficit, which cannot be met with public funds but requires alternative investment / financing strategies for delivering infrastructure.

They therefore tasked engineers working in government to rise up to the challenge by coming out with a free financing model to tackle infrastructural challenges.

In considering project planning under the PPP,  they said  the public  owner must refrain from issuing procurement  documents before  project is defined.

According to them, public owners should  avoid costly and embarrassing changes which  can give rise to unforeseen risk and prevents the procurement  process from stalling  or lapsing.

Drawing comparison with experiences in Canada and the Caribbean, Ross said successes recorded in Canada  were determined by supportive political environment, sophisticated  procurement agencies, stable PPP market and efficient procurement.

In Caribbean countries, he noted that more than USD$8.5 billion were invested in infrastructure assets in last 20 years, with Dominican Republic  and Jamaica being the leading destination for investment.

For the Chairman of the occasion and Chief Executive Officer, Chapel Hill Denham, Mr. Bolaji Balogun, Nigeria will need between USD $20 and USD $30 billion over the next decade to overcome her infrastructural challenges.

He noted that even with the increment of the budget in infrastructure in 2017 budget, Nigeria cannot even measure with her infrastructural need hence the importance of PPP as the only sustaining way to finance all the infrastructural requirements of the country.

He called on government to create all enabling environment that can guarantee public private partnership to reduce wastages in the system.
The  Director-General and Chief Executive Officer of Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission  (ICRC), Mr. Aminu Diko in his remarks  noted  the importance of  time  as the  biggest challenge to procuring infrastructure services through PPP, saying it needed  to undertake a proper feasibility study/business case, secure approvals and to conduct a fair, equitable, transparent and competitive procurement process.

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