MDAs Are Conniving With Private Investors To Sabotage PPPs Programmes-ICRC

The Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission has accused Ministries, Departments and Agencies of conniving with private investors to sabotage Public Private Partnership programmes and concession of Federal Government assets.

The ICRC made the allegation in a statement on Monday seen by THE WHISTLER and directed all MDAs to disengage and transfer proceeds of illegal concession of assets to the ICRC in the next 60 days.

The commission pointed out specifically that some MDAs are not involving it on issues surrounding expression of interest, request for qualification and Request for Proposals for the engagement of concession, joint ventures, leases management contract, service contracts, operations and maintenance, or other forms of private sector participation on FG facilities or assets.

ICRC said some MDAs were engaging private sectors in such investments and private financing and risk transfer “without recourse to the ICRC (Establishment) Act 2005 and the National Policy on PPP (N4P).

Based on the Act, any FG Ministry Agency, Corporation or body involved in the financing, construction, operation or maintenance of infrastructure, by whatever name called, the ICRC is empowered to take custody of every concession and monitor compliance with the terms and condition of the agreement.

Consequently, the commission said, “Contravening MDAs are invited to note that their actions constitute an act of economic sabotage to the Government and infringement of Section 1 (1), (2) and 20 of the ICRC Act.”

The Commission also said such arrangements that were done outside the notice of the ICRC had negative value for money for the government.

The ICRC noted that such poorly prepared and developed PPP projects had the potential of crystallizing unmitigated risks that have no contingent liability provision.

It also helps “mortgaging the fiscal health and balance sheet of the Nigerian Government, retaining substantial risks with MDAs leading to liability claims like the P&ID suit,” ICRC added.

ICRC explained that the actions by the MDAs weaken the sanctity of contracts.

According to the ICRC, Nigeria’s PPP ecosystem would be further threatened, adding that the worst would be “credibility crisis for Nigeria’s overall PPP programme.”

The country targets PPP to close the nation’s infrastructural gap, but the ICRC said with the development, the country may witness rise in failed PPP contracts and procurement mismatch.

ICRC said, “On this premise, we hereby issue this regulatory notice and caution MDAs, bankers, venture capital firms, transaction advisers, international development partners, civil societies, the general public and stakeholders in the PPP space to desist forthwith from further perpetuation of the above trends as it is clear contravention of the law and may lead to colossal damage of the fiscal health of our nation, Nigeria.”

The commission directed all MDAs to immediately suspend and stay actions on any current process of engaging Private Partnership in contravention of the provision of the ICRC Act.

Also, all executed Memorandum of Understandings and contractual instruments between MDA’s and Private Sector should be transferred to the ICRC for immediate review.

For monies accruing to government from such arrangements, the commission directed that it should be immediately transferred to the Special Concession Account.

ICRC warned that “All submissions should reach the Commission sixty days from the date of this publication, after which the Commission will consider these practices as economic sabotage and it will be treated accordingly.”

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