•As FG urges African countries to resist trade barriers pressures

By Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief

The Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, ICRC, said yesterday it had since 2021 prepared 51 Public, Private, Partnership, PPP, projects worth $17 billion with no bidders indicating interest.

The ICRC disclosed this as the federal government urged African countries to resist the pressure of erecting trade barriers across their borders, in view of the implementation of African Continental Free Trade Agreement, AfCFTA.

Acting Director-General of the agency, Michael Ohiani, who disclosed this at the African Public Private Partnership, PPP, Networks Investment Summit in Abuja, said:  “In 2021, we published a pipeline of 51 eligible and bankable PPP projects worth over $ 17 billion. 

”This list contains projects from different economic sectors which have been granted the Outline Business Case Compliance Certificates, but which did not have identified bidders.”

He added that in the current year, ICRC planned to gazette a pipeline of 53 eligible and bankable PPP projects, worth about $22 billion.

Ohiani disclosed that between 2010 and last year, under the regulatory guidance of the ICRC, the federal government approved PPP projects worth more than $9 billion.

Speaking at the summit, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Mr. Boss Mustapha, said the continental free-trade would immensely benefit the entire region, if implemented with the needed commitment.

The SGF also challenged authorities across the region to create business-friendly environments in order to attract the much-needed private capital for the development of infrastructure.

He said:  “To be able to stimulate and create a vibrant private sector on the continent and accelerate infrastructure development, a number of issues must be addressed. There is definitely the need to create a welcoming investment climate.

”This can be achieved by reducing risks and costs of doing business and by securing private property rights, improving governance, fighting corruption, simplifying regulations, and promoting competition.

“African governments must also resist pressure to erect trade barriers for intra-African trade to flourish. Currently, intra-African trade amongst African states is about 10 o of total exports. This is the lowest amongst other regions in the world.

”But we strongly believe that with the initiative of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement the situation will drastically improve.“

“There is also the need for financial sector development by strengthening regulatory and institutional frameworks to improve governance and increase competition, improving access to finance and financial literacy, developing payment systems, and enhancing creditor rights. Similarly, access to finance by the private sector is equally very key.”

According to him, public-private partnership, PPP, has become a very viable procurement option, as well as a reliable and dependable vehicle for accelerating infrastructure development and structural transformation in many economies across the globe.

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