By Lucy Nwachukwu
Abuja – Mr Chidi Izuwah, the Acting Director-General, Infrastructure Regulatory Concession Commission (ICRC) on Monday said lack of capacity was a major challenge of infrastructure development in the country.
Izuwah said that this during the Certified Public Private Partnership Professional training(C-P3 Professional) for civil servants organised by ICRC in collaboration with the World Bank in Abuja.
He expressed optimism that the certification and training would equip the participants to be able to address the infrastructure deficit in the country.
“Lack of capacity is now a major thing that we need to address; we need to have public servants who have the technical capacity and sophistication to handle PPP projects.
“This is because PPPs are complex, legal, financial and technical.
“So to be able to develop these projects, take them to the market in the way and manner that it is bankable and attractive to the private sector you have to have the skills.
“And that is what you are doing today and we are very pleased to be partnering with the World Bank.
“This shows you that Nigeria is back in the play on the PPP bracket around the world.
“This is a very strong demonstration that the World Bank is sponsoring this training to make sure that we have C-P3 certified professionals in Nigeria.
“We are working with the office of the Head of Service to see how we can take this further in terms of training masses of civil servants in Nigeria at the federal level and other levels.
“So that they can have the capacity to be able to develop bankable projects,’’ Izuwah said.
The ICRC boss explained that the essence of the training was to ensure that Nigeria was the best PPP destination in the world.
He noted the huge deficit in the country’s budget, saying that the only way to bridge the infrastructure gap in the country was by using PPPs.
“The budget cannot provide all these, so we need to draw in millions of capital and expertise from the private sector across all sectors of health, housing, power, port etc.
“So many countries have been able to do a lot of projects using PPPs and we want Nigeria to be able to do same.’’
According to Izuwah, C-P3 professional is the only qualification in the world globally recognised for PPP practitioners as it involved the World Bank, African Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank and the like.
He congratulated the participants and urged them to concentrate in the training to enable them understand what the programme entailed.
“As a way of contributing to the development of PPP in the country, I want to present a book on PPP which will be given to the best participant of this training.
“It is my dream that with this training, competence and technical skill you will acquire today, you will be able to package PPP project that will be world satisfying.
“My dream is that the competence that you will acquire from this training will ensure that very soon, every valley of infrastructure challenges we have in Nigeria shall be overcome.
“And every hill and mountain of infrastructural problem be made plain, the rough places and crooked roads made straight so that Nigerians can travel everywhere within few hours.
“I dream that very soon, Nigerians will make standard and high speed trains from Sokoto to the Bar Beach and no longer go to Dubai but holiday locally as the infrastructure will be there.
“I also have a dream that the North-East of Nigeria will be transformed into an oasis from the competence it will have and the infrastructure that it will develop.
“My dream is that with the competence and certification you will get from this programme that in 45 months, we will change the infrastructure face of Nigeria,’’ he said.
The director-general reiterated that on Sept. 22 the commission would be launching the PPP disclosure web portal, adding that Nigeria would be the first country in the world to launch the portal.
He said that the portal would fully align with the World Bank standard, an indication that with the right technical competence and ability, Nigeria might lead the world. (NAN)