By Tony Obiechina, Abuja
The Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission is set to gazette a total of 53 eligible and bankable Public Private Partnership projects, worth about $22bn for investors.
Already, the Commission has published 51 eligible and bankable PPP projects, worth over $17bn from different economic sectors which have been granted the Outline Business Case Compliance Certificates, but which did not have identified bidders.
The Director-General of ICRC, Mr Michael Ohiani made these disclosures at the Africa Public Private Partnership Network Investment summit with the theme: “Financing Africa’s infrastructure through Public Private Partnership”, in Abuja on Monday.
He told participants at the event that as of May 2022, there are 77 post-contract PPP projects under implementation at the ICRC Projects Disclosure Portal.
The portal is the first disclosure portal in the world, established by the ICRC in collaboration with the World Bank.
The ICRC DG pointed out that the Commission has about 197 pre-contract projects at different phases of project development and procurement.
Similarly, he said the agency since it was created has achieved a lot, noting for instance that between 2010 following the inauguration of its Governing Board and 2021, under the regulatory guidance of the ICRC, the federal government has approved PPP projects worth more than $9bn.
The ICRC Boss also disclosed that the agency has issued 128 Outline Business Case Compliance Certificates to date, stating that these projects have been certified bankable projects, to enable them proceed to procurement phase.
He said, “This Investment Summit is coming at a time when the continent is gradually coming out of the COVID 19 pandemic, which dealt series of blows to investment portfolios and decisions; as well implementation of on-going infrastructure service delivery projects.
“The Pandemic also affected the ability of governments to finance the much-needed public projects, with its attendant record of dwindling revenue.
“Our country was not spared from these challenges; however, there is the growing need to salvage our projects which are under implementation on one hand while developing bankable and viable PPP projects for investment on the other hand.
“The innovative structuring of PPP transactions through globally accepted competitive and transparent processes cannot be over-emphasized; especially as the initiative is in support of our 2021 to 2025 Mid-Term National Development Plan, which projects the use of private sector financing to achieve about 85 per cent of our N348.1trn Plan.”
He said as countries look towards infrastructure financing, the key in the 21st century is for governments to enhance the investment environment for national level investment for local and foreign investors, and look to innovative financing mechanisms that promote local capital markets, private sector risk, and rely on regulatory systems to balance investor and consumer requirements.
With fiscal and budgetary funding constraints plaguing governments across the continent, the ICRC DG told participants that private participation in infrastructure has become an economic necessity, rather than an optional financing solution, as hitherto considered.
“Partnership between the public and private sectors for the financing, design, build, maintenance of infrastructure and delivery of associated services is absolutely necessary for Africa governments to meet the need for modern and efficient infrastructure, and for reliable cost-effective delivery of public services.
“Governments all over the world, including the Africa continent, have come to recognize that the collaboration between public and private sectors is crucial to securing dependable and sustainable funding for infrastructure and reducing the pressure on fiscal budgets.
“PPP arrangements have engendered acceleration of infrastructure provision, faster implementation of projects, and reduced whole life costs of projects,” he added.
He expressed optimism that the Summit on financing Africa’s infrastructure through PPP would provide the unique opportunity to have the details, the direction, the options, and focus on infrastructure financing to boost the African economy.
In his keynote address at the event, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, stated that Africa faces huge infrastructure gaps.
However, he pointed out that these infrastructure gaps also present huge opportunities for private investment through public-private partnerships, especially in sectors such as energy, housing, transportation, agriculture, technology, waste management, and social services and amenities.
According to him, the continent requires energy, transportation, and new satellite cities to accommodate millions of people moving from rural to urban areas.
He said, “The current economic growth pattern on the continent stresses the importance of private sector investment through PPP in promoting Africa’s growth and structural transformation.
“Hence, identifying the private sector development as an engine of sustainable structural transformation through PPPs is of critical importance to the continent.
“Indeed, to release the potential of Africa, there is the need to develop and imbibe a resilient and vibrant PPP framework as a means of facilitating rapid infrastructure transformation of the continent.”
To be able to stimulate and create a vibrant private sector on the continent and accelerate infrastructure development, the SGF stated that a number of issues must be addressed.
“There is definitely the need to create a welcoming investment climate. This can be achieved by reducing risks and costs of doing business and by securing private property rights, improving governance, fighting corruption, simplifying regulations, and promoting competition.
“African governments must also resist pressure to erect trade barriers for intra-African trade to flourish. Currently, intra-African trade amongst African states is about 10 per cent of total exports. This is the lowest amongst other regions in the world.
“But we strongly believe that with the initiative of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement the situation will drastically improve,” he added.
Mustapha said there is also the need for financial sector development by strengthening regulatory and institutional frameworks to improve governance and increase competition, improving access to finance and financial literacy, developing payment systems, and enhancing creditor rights.
In his goodwill message, the Director-General of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF), Mr Asishana Okauru, said the Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) have shown that if properly structured, could be an effective infrastructure financing and delivery tool.
“In Nigeria, proactively we have already begun this process as the Nigeria Governors’ Forum in collaboration with the ICRC has established the Nigeria Public-Private Partnership Network to address the issues and bottlenecks towards Infrastructural development of strategic sectors of the subnational economy by public-private partnerships”, he stated.
He noted that the NGF believes that improving the capacity and resources of State governments to prepare PPP pipelines and bankable PPP projects, offers a sustainable long-term approach to improving social infrastructure, enhancing the value of public sector assets, and making better use of taxpayers’ money
Polaris Bank not Sold, all Banks Safe, Sound – NDIC
By Joseph Amah, Abuja
Mr Bello Hassan, Managing Director, Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) has said that all Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) in Nigeria, including Polaris Bank are safe and sound.
Hassan made the clarification on the sideline of a three-day Capacity Building Workshop organised by the Legal Department of NDIC, for law enforcement agencies at BWC Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, on Wednesday.
He also said that Polaris Bank was not sold as reported by some media recently.
The event had, “Effective Investigation and Prosecution of Banking Malpractices that Led to Failure of Banks’’, as its theme.
“All banks that are operating within the country are sound in as much as their licences have not been revoked.
“If there is a problem, the regulator that issues the licence will be the one to revoke the licence.
“In as much as the licence is not revoked, you’re free to continue to bank with the institutio; it means it is safe,’’ Hassan said.
The NDIC boss also explained that the corporation usually carried out stress tests on banks on a monthly basis, to ascertain their financial soundness.
He said: “The Central Bank also does stress testing, and so do we in NDIC. In fact we do it on a monthly basis to ascertain the financial soundness of those banks and we see no red line.
“When we talk of key financial soundness indicators, we are talking about the capital adequacy and liquidity and the quality of the assets.
“Those two solid financial soundness indicators that you use to gauge the safety and soundness of these institutions are robust.
“So, based on that, the banks are safe and sound; continue to bank with them.’’
Recall that the management of Polaris Bank recently discredited the report on the purported sale of the bank by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to private individual for N40 billion. (NAN)
Jos Main Market Controversy: ‘Prepare for Seamless Handing Over’ -YOWICAN Tells Lalong
From Jude Dangwam, Jos
The Youth Wing of the Christian Association of Nigeria Plateau State Chapter (YOWICAN) has called on Governor Simon Lalong to prepare for a seamless handing over as the applauses seem to be fading away on a daily basis with the recent display of desperation to rebuild the burnt Jos International Market using Jaiz Bank.
The body stressed that the Lalong -led administration should stand down any further engagement with JAIZ Bank and focus on the ongoing projects in the state and also work hard towards returning students of the State Tertiary institutions back on campus, settle all outstanding salaries, pensions and other emoluments of it’s civil servants
The youth group stated this in a statement jointly signed by the Chairman, Deacon Markus Audu Kanda, the Vice Chairman Barr Panmak Mark Lere and the State Secretary, Nehemiah Nanmwa Micheal and made available to Journalists Tuesday in Jos the Plateau State capital.
The statement reads in part: “We again remain resolute to restate our position on this issue in the interest of Plateau State and her inhabitants, that the Government should stand down any further engagement with JAIZ Bank on this issue and focus on ongoing projects in the state.
“Work hard towards returning students of the State Tertiary institutions back on campus, settle all outstanding salaries, pensions and other emoluments of it’s civil servants, as well as begin to prepare for a seamless handing over as the applause seem to fade away by each display of desperation on this subject” .
The body insisted that Plateau stakeholders at the meeting did not endorse the rebuilding of the Jos Main Market using the leaked template with Jaiz Bank “falsely transmitted by the Director of Press and Public Affairs to the Governor of Plateau State, Dr. Makut Simon Macham.”
They questioned the rationale behind the misrepresentation of the outcome of the meeting , which had the presence of the Former Military Governor of Plateau State, Samuel Atukum during who’s tenure the International Market was completed and commissioned and told the Governor Simon Lalong at the meeting to use the remaining time he had in office to continue with consultations.
“What about the revered elder statesman, His Excellency, the Former Military Administrator of Plateau State, Admiral Samuel Bitrus Atukum, during whose time as the Governor of Plateau State the Jos Main Market was completed and commissioned.
“He categorically celebrated the fact that no MOU has been signed with JAIZ Bank on the market and clearly cautioned the Plateau State Government not to go on with that arrangement, rather, use the remaining time in office to widely consult on the issue and allow the next administration to handle the issue of the Market? Is His Excellency not part of the stakeholders? What happened to this view strongly expressed by him?” they questioned.
Nigeria Tops Africa’s World Bank Debtors’ List, Ranks 4th Globally
By Joseph Amah, Abuja
Rising debt has pushed Nigeria up the World Bank’s top 10 International Development Association borrowers’ list.
The World Bank Fiscal Year 2021 audited financial statements, known as the IDA financial statement, showed that Nigeria was rated fifth on the list with $11.7bn IDA debt stock as of June 30, 2021.
However, the newly released World Bank Fiscal Year 2022 audited financial statements for IDA showed that Nigeria has moved to the fourth position on the list, with $13bn IDA debt stock as of June 30, 2022.
This shows that Nigeria accumulated about $1.3bn IDA debt within a fiscal year, with the country taking over the fourth top debtor position from Vietnam.
This debt is different from the outstanding loan of $486m from World Bank’s International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
The top five countries on the list slightly reduced their IDA debt stock except Nigeria.
India, which is still the first on the list reduced its IDA debt stock from $22bn in the previous fiscal year to $19.7bn, followed by Bangladesh from $18.1bn to $18bn.
It is followed by Pakistan which cut its debt from $16.4bn to $15.8bn, and lastly, Vietnam, which went down the list to fifth position, from $14.1bn to $12.9bn.
Nigeria has the highest IDA debt in Africa, as the top three IDA borrowers (India, Bangladesh and Pakistan) are from Asia. The World Bank disclosed recently that Nigeria’s debt, which may be considered sustainable for now, is vulnerable and costly.
The bank said, “Nigeria’s debt remains sustainable, albeit vulnerable and costly, especially due to large and growing financing from the Central Bank of Nigeria.”
However, the Washington-based global financial institution added that the country’s debt was also at risk of becoming unsustainable in the event of macro-fiscal shocks.
The bank further expressed concerns over the nation’s cost of debt servicing, which according to it, disrupted public investments and critical service delivery spending.
Economists have also raised concerns over the rising debt profile of the Federal Government.
The Fiscal Policy Partner and Africa Tax Leader of PwC, Mr Taiwo Oyedele, expressed his agreement with the World Bank on the high cost of debt servicing.
He said, “I agree with the World Bank. Although the debt to GDP ratio is not too high, if you think about the debt service cost to revenue ratio, it is already over 70 per cent. That’s when you know it’s costly.
“Nigeria borrows at double-digit, and even when we borrow in dollars, the rates are very high and then you devalue the naira and the cost of servicing the debt in naira goes up because it is dollar-dominated debt.
“Put all of that together, and you can easily say to yourself that even though our debt to GDP ratio is very low, our cost of borrowing is unsustainable because it is very high, and therefore, make it very costly.”
A former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and former presidential candidate, Kingsley Moghalu, also criticised the increasing borrowing tendency of the government, urging the officials to re-consider other ways of generating revenue for the country.
According to Moghalu, it was also not reasonable to borrow for infrastructural development as the government could expand the public-private partnership options for such development.
In a document by the Director General of the Debt Management Office, Patience Oniha, recently obtained by our correspondent, the DMO stated that high debt levels would often lead to high debt services and affect investments in infrastructure.
According to the DMO DG, “High debt levels lead to heavy debt service which reduces resources available for investment in infrastructure and key sectors of the economy.”
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