Executing Public Private Partnership Projects in Nigeria
Nigeria has also caught the bug of structuring Public Private Partnership, sometimes referred to as concessions. Considering the fact that the past the present past Minister of Finance and National planning is quoted for stating that the this is the only way for the country to bridge is infrastructure gap gives us the impression that this concept is here to stay.
PPPs have enjoyed high success rates in many countries, so you ask yourself why are Nigerians not more enthusiastic about this new trend?
This report high lights the peculiar nature of Nigeria that makes people sneer at the idea of Public Private Partnerships in Nigeria. We will analyse some of the completed and ongoing projects and high light the pros and the Cons so far. I am of the opinion that the PPPs have been structured in a way that the benefit to the Private Partner far outweighs the benefit to the Public.
Public Private Partnership projects in Nigeria are either issued by the Federal Government or the State Government.
Sometimes the Federal government prevents states which vote for opposition parties from developing infrastructure as stated in the case of Lagos State. Ambode the present governor of lagos state was quoted in Punch newspaper Jan 27 for saying that “ Ambode replied that the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway road belonged to the Federal Government and that the state had been trying to work on the road but was prevented by the PDP-led Federal Government.”
This highlights two serious issues, firstly the issue of centralized planning whereby projects should be coordinated and infused in to a master plan and secondly the problem of political insecurity whereby projeccts can be terminated by a new administration.
In the same Article the PDP candidate Agbaje said, “The Lekki-Epe tollgate is a government project. The government signed a contract with the private partners for N50bn. Government had since paid off the original private partners to the tune of N80bn instead of the initial N50bn agreed. I see no reason why people should continue to pay toll.”
The private patner had been paid off almost double the cost of the initial agreement in record time and the toll is still effective, it has not been reduced or modified in any way, end users are still expected to pay the expensive toll fee. The government has converted the project into its cash cow.
Trends show that projects issued by the State Government tend to have a higher completion rate but completion is not exactly success, The failure in this case is that the people feel cheated by the private patners - excessive toll fee.
The State PPP projects tend to be designed in such a way that the end user pays, the general sentiment is that the private patner over charges and the profit gains are enormous.
The one thing synonymous with almost all the projects is the term “ Under Construction” – 10 year old projects still with the same heading. For Example the Katampe District Infrastructure Plan designed by the Federal Capital Terriotory Administration which was commission in 2010 is still under development five (5) years later with no sign of an end in site.
The regulatory body incharge of overseeing this projects is not doing a good job at monitoring execution, tighter deadlines shuld be set and private patners should be penalised for missing deadlines.
The overall sentiment is that PPPs in Nigeria are designed to enrich the private sector at the expense of the public who do not always get a better service. In my view the public should be more vocal at the project conception stage and should revoult against substandard service delivery or prolonged endless projects