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Review PPP laws, experts tell FG

From: Zika Bobby

The Federal Government has been urged to review and redefine the laws guiding Public Private Partnership operations in the country in order to achieve sustainable development.

This recommendation was made by the panelists at the Public Private Partnership (PPP) Review Forum, organised by the Center for Ethics and Sustainable Development (CESD), in Lagos.

The forum reviewed the legal framework for infrastructure delivery in Nigeria both from the traditional procurement model and the Public-Private Partnership model. It also identified major legal constraints to infrastructure delivery and addressed areas that will mitigate political risk to infrastructure delivery, promote effective stakeholder management, ease of infrastructure investment and foster gender and social inclusion. It concluded that governments at all levels, especially at the centre, should take urgent actions for sustainable infrastructural delivery to the people.

In their assessment of the Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission (ICRC) set up by the Federal Government under the Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission Act of 2005 aimed at regulating PPP projects within the country, the panelists, which included Principal State Counsel, Lagos State Ministry of Justice and Assistant to Lagos State Attorney General on Civil Litigation, Mr Olamide Ibrahim, Managing Partner, Bona Fidei Law Firm, Mr Tony Kpokpo, Executive Director, Centre for Ethics and Sustainable Development, Dr. Olajumoke Akiode and Principal Counsel Babatunde Ogala and Co, Mr Babatunde Ogala, agreed that the legal framework of this commission needs to be reviewed because its duties are not clearly defined especially in relation to PPP projects. They decried the vagueness of ICRC’s definition of what Public-Private-Partnership is and what it should entail.

The experts identified the duplication of some laws in various Infrastructure delivery Acts of the states calling for urgent reviews with the aim of producing a single document which would address everything relating to infrastructural development in the country, enact laws which would remove areas of overlap.

They emphasised the reduction in the bureaucracy involved in the enforcement of the Public Procurement Act from the current reality where it would take at best 6 months to go through the process of procurement. They also looked into the land grabbers law in the state, and the creation of a “Taskforce” was identified as a movement in the right direction which ensures the prosecution and arrest of offenders, but such “task force” ought to be a short-term intervention and their role should later on be returned to the Police.

The forum addressed the need for manpower development for both the policy makers and the implementers of the PPP, saying this would increase the needed understanding of the complex and technical nature of PPPs in order to efficiently maximize the model for sustainable human development.

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