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Government seeks private sector partnership on infrastructure

By Victor Gbonegun
21 May 2018   |   4:23 am
The Federal Government has called on the private sector to see existing infrastructure deficit in Nigeria as an opportunity to partner on a win-win basis with the private sector in the social infrastructure space.

The Federal Government has called on the private sector to see existing infrastructure deficit in Nigeria as an opportunity to partner on a win-win basis with the private sector in the social infrastructure space.

Stakeholders in the industry were also charged to position themselves towards achieving positive experiences for the sector in spite of current inclement market realities.

Accordingly, it is believed that this is possible through reinvestment in human development and technology as a total solution.

Over the years, government has been able to document the funding requirements to close the infrastructure gap in specific sectors like the $48billion for power, $36billion for transportation, $20billion for Agriculture and Water but it is important that government works closely with key stakeholders to identify and agree on priorities areas of infrastructure and real estate developments and proffer effective solutions based on roles and responsibilities of stakeholders.

Making the call at the 7th edition of the Nigerian Facilities Management roundtable 2018 held in Lagos, In a presentation on; “Enabling positive experience by using the PPP model for the provision and management of public infrastructure and quality assets”, the Acting Director General of Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Chidi Izuwah said the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model is critical globally as both a funding and operational mechanism for public infrastructure.

According to him, the Federal Government is mobilising relevant agencies and parastatals to make available incentives, such as land use reforms, subsidies, building materials, cost reduction programs, and tax exempt status that will ensure increased housing delivery in the appropriate price bracket.

“The Federal Government supports PPPs, and instituted the ICRC to develop and enforces guidelines, policies, and procurement processes for PPP at all government levels. FM integrated with PPP is a growing percentage of all PPPs, for the maintenance and operation of infrastructure and buildings such as offices, hospitals, schools”

He said ICRC will support FM projects and seeks to expand its application nationwide emphasising that FM PPP opportunities in Nigeria include; roads, public offices, urban infrastructure–streetlights, public toilets, transport terminals, waste transfer and management systems, schools, hospitals, airports, marine infrastructure and power transmission infrastructure.

Speaking on ”Enabling Positive Experiences in a Post-Recession Real Estate Market”, the Group Managing Director of Alpha Mead Group, Femi Akintunde, an engineer, noted that the real estate market was one of the worst hit sectors during the 15-month period of Nigeria’s economic recession. The lull which defined the market, he said was most prominent in the residential segment as widening vacancy rates, increasing cases of rent and service charge defaults and slowdown in construction activities characterized the sub-sector.

The Nigerian FM Roundtable is an annual Business-to-Business, high-calibre event initiated in 2012 by Alpha Mead Facilities, in commemoration of the World Facilities Management Day; and has played host to about a thousand top executives from the public and private sectors in Nigeria and Ghana.

The event was attended by Nigeria international health expert, Prof. Babatunde Green, a specialist in manufacturing; Tokunbo Talabi, the group head, real estate of Eco-Bank; Kunle Osilaja, retail manager; Mrs. Bola Shobanjo, Chief Executive Officer of Fine and Country West Africa; Udo Okonjo and Chief Executive Officer, International Real Estate Partners (IREP), Erejuwa Gbadebo among others.

Akintunde pointed out that as facility managers, practitioners must develop the competence and capacity to help clients navigate hurdles such as by delivering value that assures clients have the best in class service in a environment safe, secure and comfortable at all times.

“This is perhaps the best time for us Facility Managers to demonstrate how crucial we are to the real estate value chain. So, I anticipate a real estate market, which will return to its boom period with a lot of credit, accorded to FMs for their unequivocal commitment to quality service delivery.

“We need to start Enabling Positive Experience by evolving from planning and managing facility resources, support services and the working environment to help top management formulate business strategies, plan and control organizational activities, facilitate decision-making process and safeguard business assets both tangible and intangible and ensure corporate compliance”, he stated.

For him, to gain a workable public private partnership for project maintainability, parties to the PPP model especially the government, must create an enabling environment, design regulatory and compliance framework, ensure accountability, a balanced tax system, demonstrate trust and fairness and avoid corruption.

Also speaking, the Chief Executive Officer of Fine and Country West Africa; Mrs. Udo Okonjo called for innovative thinking, and creating value for customers in the FM space. Corroborating her point, Mrs. Bola Shobanjo advised Facility Managers to train their service men in order to render efficient services in a transparent manner.