The Bureau of Public Enterprise BPE has advocated increased Public-Private Partnership PPP in financing critical infrastructural development in the maritime sector in order to enhance its revenue generation capacity and make it a major revenue source for the Federal Government over and above the oil sector.
Director General of the BPE, Alex Okoh, who stated this during a webinar session on “Public Private Partnership as alternative financing model in the maritime sector” hosted by the Nigeria-South Africa Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by the SIFAX Group, cited the success of the port concession programme as justification for more private sector funding.
He revealed that the Federal Government’s revenue from the sector had more than doubled in the last 10 years, especially in the post-concession era, adding that competing needs for government’s lean resources has also made PPP a welcome option.
He further explained that the Federal Government has simplified the PPP processes which now allows for private sector players to seek out projects that can be financed through the PPP model.
“The Bureau of Public Enterprise has been entrusted with a significant part of the PPP responsibilities in Nigeria through the Federal Government’s circular of September 2020. What this means in effect is that players in the country’s maritime and other key sectors of the economy can identify and suggest projects to the government through the BPE or relevant Ministries, Department and Agencies MDAs. “Once these projects are examined, approval will be given to the relevant parties to undertake an appraisal, feasibility study or outline of business case which will be scrutinised by the government. Thereafter, a tender will be published.
“The benefit of this is that the originator of the project will be allowed to provide a matching offer with that of the highest bidder and if the party is able to match this offer, they will be declared the preferred bidder”, he said.
Dr. Okoh called on the private sector to work towards bridging the huge infrastructure gap in the nation’s maritime sector by providing solutions to these gaps.
He noted that such investments in and around Nigeria’s ports will help reduce the high shipping and terminal charges and local transport to warehouse costs which will in turn make the country’s port more competitive and business friendly in comparison to other African countries.
In his remarks, Group Executive Director, Corporate Services of the SIFAX Group, Bode Ojeniyi, said that the subject matter was timely and germane, given the huge infrastructural deficit in the sector that could be addressed with PPP.
He however proposed that the government should do better in terms of making the country more business friendly by removing the crippling bureaucratic bottlenecks that currently makes investments unattractive.