| By Maureen Chigbo |
THREE years after the World Bank picked Nigeria on a pilot project for public-private partnership projects, PPPs, funds allocated for it is still lying fallow in the bank’s vault. Paul Noumba, sector manager, Finance and Private Sector Development (Western & Central African countries), said the non-utilisation of the fund, made the World Bank to restructure and scale it down to $25 million at the first instance to take care of technical assistance and capacity building while in phase two, it would release$85 million. The initial ratio was $150 million and $300million.
Noumba, who led the World Bank fact-finding team on which government agency was adjudged the best place to domicile the project implementation unit, PIU, of the Public/ Private Partnership Projects, PPPs, in Nigeria, stated this when he visited the Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE, in Abuja. He said the World Bank team was in the country to find out which agency was capable to handle the fund and apply it appropriately.
He told Benjamin Ezra Dikki, the acting director general of the Bureau of Public Enterprises, that the World Bank would assist the BPE in the areas of advisory services, manpower development and funding in some of its transactions like the commercialisation of the Federal Housing Authority, privatisation of the Abuja Stock and Commodities Exchange and the eight reform bills being fine-tuned for presentation to the National Assembly.
Noumba’s pledge came after Dikki listed the sectors where reforms are being done by the present administration. The director general called for the domiciling of PIU in the Bureau as the law establishing the BPE gives it the mandate to execute PPPs through concessioning/commercialisation. He added that the successful concessioning of the country’s 24 ports by the Bureau was a clear testimony of its capability to handle PPPs. He said already, the Bureau had made a presentation to its bosses on the need to domicile the PIU in the privatisation agency.
According to Dikki, the federal government has to demontrate strong political will for all the reforms in the sector to succeed, adding the present administration had shown a strong political will in that direction.
— May 27, 2013 @01:00 GMT