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Babalakin advocates strong PPP for infrastructure deficit

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[File] The Chairman of Bi-Courtney Nigeria Limited, Wale Babalakin

The Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) at the weekend held its eighth fellowship lecture and conferment of Fellows of the society to 28 engineers.

The guest lecturer, Dr. Wale Babalakin, chairman, Bi-Courtney Ltd, in his lecture titled ‘Constraints of Implementing Infrastructure Projects Through Public Private Partnership (PPP), at the Banquet Hall of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Conference Centre, Abuja, threw the new Fellows the challenge to take the lead from foreign contractors in the infrastructural turn around of Nigeria.

He said: “I consider it very sad that 58 years after independence, there are no Nigerian companies that can compare favorably with the foreign companies like Julius Berger. You have to accept the challenge.

I seize this opportunity to call on the Society to lead from the front and use its knowledge of engineering to contribute extensively to the development of Nigeria.

He identified sincerity as the biggest challenge to the Public Private Partnership (PPP) initiative of the Federal Government. He defined PPP as “a contract where a public function is executed by a private concern on agreed terms.

And as a reward for its participation, the private sector is remunerated usually through the project for its service in accordance with the agreement.

He observed that government on its own cannot fund all its responsibilities from its own resources.

Using the 2018 budget of the Federal Government as the indices he said: “The total amount of money available for critical infrastructure like roads, power and housing is about N550 billion.

Sadly, this amount can barely complete one road out of over 40 roads needing interventions.

Even more worrisome is the complete inability of government to sustain the few roads/infrastructures it manages to build due to poor planning and maintenance.

This underscores the imperative of PPP in a developing economy such as ours.

However, for PPP to work, it has to be created and monitored by an institution that is sufficiently empowered to act as an arbiter between the government and the investors.

Such a body or commission must be empowered by law to act independently as an arbiter between government institutions and private investors.

President of the NSE, Adekunle Mokuolu, gave kudos to Babalakin for his unprecedented incursions into the PPP.

Together with chairman of the board of Fellows/College of Fellows, Engr. Felix Atume, fellowship was conferred on 28 distinguished engineers.


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