5 December 2012

Nigeria: Shonekan Scores Jonathan Low on Infrastructure Development

Former head of the Interim National Government (ING), Chief Ernest Shonekan, yesterday warned that infrastructure deficit in the country would persist because federal government was not doing enough to tackle this developmental obstacle.

Shonekan spoke in his capacity as chairman of the governing board of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), which presented the 2011 annual report and audited financial statement of the commission to President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He listed government's inability to mobilise long-term funding for project development, inability to commit ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to a stable and coherent pipeline of private public partnership (PPP) and poor project preparation by MDAs as some of the key challenges confronting infrastructural development.

Other challenges facing infrastructural development, Shonekan added, are the inability to enforce vital aspects of the ICRC Act in its current form, absence of coherent infrastructure investment programme, non-integration of PPP projects into the national planning framework and paucity of funds for the commission's operations.

"Addressing these challenges is critical to the success of ICRC and the attainment of the infrastructure component of your transformation agenda", he told the president.

According to him, the commission has recorded some achievements since its inauguration in 2008, particularly within its first two years when "the commission recruited key staff, developed organisational processes and engaged MDAs and other stakeholders."

He said further that the commission also developed a National Policy Framework for PPP, held regional engagement workshops across the country "to secure the buy-in of stakeholders" on the policy, and issued operational guidelines for PPP to MDAs.

He added that the commission also worked on bridging institutional knowledge gap and "collaborated with states to set up their PPP units, transfer best practices, provide a legal, policy and regulatory environment that is conducive to private sector investment in infrastructure projects."

Shonekan explained that between 2010-2012, the board focused on harnessing the commission's regulatory role and capped its achievements with winning Africa's Investor Award in South Africa as well as the 2010 Public Private Partnership Award of the Commonwealth Business Council.

Presenting the commission's 2011 report, he said it received a little less than N1.1 billion appropriated for it and expended N1.016 billion.

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