FG partners ALSF on capacity building, restates trust in PPP

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The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, Alhaji Mahmoud Isa-Dutse has reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment to Public Private Partnership (PPP) model as a viable option for the development of infrastructure in the country.

The ministry’s director of information, Mr. Hassan Dodo made this known in a statement in which he said the Permanent Secretary disclosed this in Abuja during the opening of a three-day capacity building workshop on Public Private Partnership (PPP) Projects for Public Servants in the Railway and Inland Dry Port sector.

Dodo said Alhaji Dutse, who was represented by the Director, Technical Services Department in the Ministry, Mrs Fatimah Hayatu, said the Federal Government may not have all the finances required to fund all infrastructure deficit, thus Public Private Partnership (PPP) is the credible alternative to traditional procurement.

He explained that the decision of the Federal Government to commit resources to skills and capacity development of public servants handling PPP projects was in a bid to enhance the officers’ ability to develop, negotiate, attain financial closure and manage the post-contract phase of Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects.

The Federal Government had in 2017, through the Federal Ministry of Finance, entered into a cost sharing grant agreement with the African Legal Support Facility (ALSF), a subsidiary of the African Development Bank, deliberately for the development of capacity and knowledge of public officers charged with the delivery of Public Private Partnership (PPP) Projects.

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“The first work stream of the training was held in 2018 and it focused on all aspects of Public Private Partnership (PPP), with participants drawn from various critical infrastructure Ministries, Departments and agencies (MDAs).  The 2019 capacity building exercise, co-sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Transportation, focused mainly on Public-Private Partnerships within the railway and inland dry ports sub-sector of the transportation sector,” he said.

A Deputy-Director in the Federal Ministry of Finance, Barrister Moremi Soyinka-Onijala explained that the capacity building, an initiative of the Honourable Minister of Finance on realizing the need to equip the officers in discharging their duties in Public Private Partnership (PPP); was in line with the Honourable Minister’s responsibility to manage the fiscal affairs of the country.

“The focus of the 2019 training on the railway and inland dry ports showed that the Federal Government was deeply concerned about the infrastructure deficit in the sector and was working to attract private investment to bring in required funds to develop and operate projects within the sub-sectors,” she said.

She expressed optimism that the workshop will increase efficiency and effectiveness in the procurement of PPP projects by reducing the reliance on foreign Transaction Advisors for Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects.

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In a presentation, Ikenna Emehelu, a partner with the US law firm Norton Rose Fulbright pointed out that, “Federal Government doesn’t have enough money to build up Nigeria’s infrastructure; PPP model allows the Federal Government to share risk and responsibility of designing, building, financing, operating, and maintaining physical infrastructure projects with the private sector.

“But Federal Government cannot assure that it struck a good deal with the private sector, unless its staff are trained to negotiate with the private sector”.

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