Bello Calls For More Private Sector Investment In The Development Of Transport Infrastructure In Nigeria

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Hassan Bello, the executive secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), has called for more private sector investment in the development of transport infrastructure in Nigeria, which he said holds over $3 trillion investment portfolio.

Bello, who delivered a paper titled: “Pushing the Boundaries of Public-Private Partnership Initiative for Shipping Industry Development,” at a breakfast meeting organised by the Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce, said the National Integrated Infrastructure Master plan (NIIMP), provided a veritable platform for PPP in the provision of transport infrastructure in Nigeria.

The investment in the transport sector as contained in the NIIMP for 2014-2017 is $0.72 billion; $1.7 billion, $3.2billion and $5.7 billion for between 2014 and 2017, bringing the total investment requirement to about $3.0 trillion from 2014 to 2043.

According to Bello, the NIIMP is aimed at raising Nigeria’s core infrastructure stock estimated at between 20 and 25 percent in 2013 to a minimum of 70 percent by 2043. “With all these investment projections, the country was still having deficit in infrastructural investment due to over reliance on government funding.

“For instance, 2016 federal allocation to the transport sector showed a gap of about N900 billion creating an enormous deficit due to the near total reliance on government funding and mono-economy,” he noted.

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Bello however pointed that PPP is increasingly becoming a more effective vehicle for delivering transport and shipping infrastructure, compared to the traditional procurement of budgetary appropriations. Under the PPP arrangement, he said, responsibilities are delegated to the private sector while the title in the law and assets remain with the government.

Enumerating the benefits of PPP to the private sector, Bello said investors are entitled to free land, protection through appropriate legislation, provision of subsidies and guarantees, provision of right of ways and long-term vision, while the private sector continues to fund and operate the infrastructure provided.

According to him, the PPP arrangement is beneficial to both private and public partners as both strive to maximise the use of each other’s strength, reduce development risk, reduce public capital investment, mobilise excess or underutilised assets, improve efficiencies, improve services to the community, improve cost effectiveness, share resources and mutual rewards.

Bello, who noted that the advantages of PPP are enormous, said it would improve service delivery, facilitate faster procurement and bidding process, promote transparency, good governance and anti-corruption practices, facilitate effective utilisation of scarce resources, and promote best practices and reforms for better efficiency.

“The port reform and the eventual handing over to private, has justified the need to push the PPP arrangement further in the country. Since the ports were concession, ship waiting time had become zero from 21 days; vessels turnaround time had reduced to 41 hours from five days; container dwell time reduced to 14 days from 28 days while operational time had extended to 24 hours every day, including Saturdays and Sundays, instead of operational period of 9am to 4pm, Monday to Saturdays,” he explained.

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He described all these as pointers to improved port efficiency occasioned by huge investment in equipment, ports infrastructure, lightening and common user facilities. He also enumerated the ongoing PPP projects in the country as the $2.33 billion Lekki port, the Inland container Deports and Truck Transit Park (TTP) projects.

Investment windows, he said, are still open for intending investors on Inland Container Depot, also known as dry ports located at kakuri in Kaduna State, Heipang in Jos; Funtua in Zamfara State; Erunmu-Ibadan in Oyo State; Zawachiki in Kano State, Isialangwa in Abia State and Janri near Maiduguri, Borno State.

The inland container Depot (ICD) is ports located in the hinterland with facilities to load and offload containers. They aimed at bringing shipping services to the doorstep of hinterland shippers. Currently, of all the ICDs, the Kaduna port has the status of port of origin for export cargo and final destination for imports.

The council, according to Bello, is currently facilitating the development of Truck Transit Parks (TTPs) on major corridors in Nigeria. TTPs are public rest area located off highways designed to provide temporary rest location for truck drivers. They are primarily a short term safety breaks and longer-term parking services in highway road corridors.

Each of the TTP, he said would be provided with a fuel station, restaurants, mechanic workshops, health clinics, hotels and motels and a host of other facilities for drivers and travelers comfort.

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They are being built in locations including Port Novo Creek in Lagos State, Ogere in Ogun State; Onitsha in Anambra state; Maraban, Jos in Kaduna state; Jebba in Kwara state; Ore in Ondo state; Obollo-Afo in Enugu State; Benin bypass in Edo state; Aviele in Edo state and Illela in Sokoto state.

Citing example, Bello said in U.S where the TTP project is in vogue, private investors have always shown interest in having a share of billions of U.S dollars being spent annually by road users.

He said local customers were always attracted to well- designed and customer friendly truck stops, where fuelling and ancillary revenue services like accommodation, truck washing and other services are available. “Customers on roads spend an estimated $42 billion at travel plazas and truck stops annually in the US.

Earlier, the deputy president, Nigeria-American chamber of commerce (NACC), Oluwatosin Komolafe, pointed to the imperative of shipping in the socio-economic development of any nation as more than 70 percent of goods are transported using shipping.

Nigeria, he said, generates more than 70 percent of the goods in west and central Africa sub-region, yet the shipping sector continued to be dominated by foreign shipping companies. This alone, he said, called for PPP initiative to developing the Nigeria’s shipping sector for job creation and improved gross domestic product (GDP).

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SOURCEBusiness Day
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