Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission Act needs amendment, says Jemide

icrcReviewing the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) Act 2005 in order to give it more powers to impose fine and penalties has now become imperative, says the managing partner, Details Commercial Solicitors (DCS), MrAyuliJemide.

Jemide who said that the Act’s provisions on procurement also need to be modified, spoke at DCS’s fifth Business Series conference in Lagos with the theme: Nigeria’s Infrastructure: what next?

His words: “I think there needs to be more specific provisions in the ICRC Act, regarding the ICRC, not just as a regulator but as a dog that can bite. I think there is need to have specific provisions in the ICRC act regarding their powers to charge fines and penalties. I also think there is still a conflict between procurement under the ICRC Act and procurement under the 2007 procurement law.

“A reviewed ICRC Act will have clearer statements on who is responsible for procurement in public private partnerships as opposed to procurement under the 2007 Act, which should deal with traditional procurement.”

Speaking on the import of the event, Jemide said when government doesn’t have money to finance infrastructure, there has to be an alternative source of financing. “Government doesn’t have the money to sort out our infrastructure. We have to be realistic about that. If they don’t have the money and the infrastructural issues need to be sorted out, where will the money come from? That is the underlining fact behind having this discussion”, he stated.

He also noted that Nigeria needs a development bank that will drive infrastructure financing. To him, it will be ideal to have a local development finance institution (DFI) rather than relying on multilaterals or foreign DFIs.

“If you have your own development bank, it will help to constantly create the right framework and the right space for infrastructure financing. For instance, one of the things a development bank will do is to put seed capital to develop projects up to a point where they are bankable, before you call in investors,” he said.

The conference had other notable speakers who also made passionate interventions on the best way to raise infrastructural finance. They include Olufunke Jones of Ecobank, Wale Shonibare of the United Capital Plc, Hakeem Olopade of the Infrastructure Bank Plc, Tony Ejiofor of the First Bank Capital and Opuiyo Oforiokuman, representing Arm-Harith Infrastructure Investment Limited.

Discussions at the event centred on sources of infrastructural funding. While some talked about raising tax capture because only about 12 percent pay tax; others talked about helping Nigerians develop savings culture as well as raising funds through the capital market.

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