The World Bank said government agencies refused to utilise previous funds.
The World Bank said on Tuesday that its financial support to Nigeria for the implementation of projects under the public-private partnership (PPP) strategy has been scaled down drastically for poor utilization by government agencies and departments.
The Bank’s Sector Manager, Finance and Private Sector Development (Western & Central African countries), Paul Noumba, said in Abuja that the non-utilisation of the funding to the Project Implementation Unit (PIU) of the Public/ Private Partnership Projects (PPPs) in Nigeria necessitated the decision to restructure and scale it down from $300 million to $25million.
According to Mr. Noumba, Nigeria was the first country selected by the World Bank for a pilot project for PPPs, noting that it was regrettable that for the past three years, funds released for the purpose had remained unutilized.
“The World Bank had decided to restructure and scale it down to USD$25million at the first instance to take care of technical assistance and capacity building, while in phase two, it would release USD$85million.The initial ratio was USD$150 million and USD$300million,” he said.
The World Bank team, which visited the acting Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Benjamin Dikki, said they were in the country to find out which agency of government had the capability to handle the fund and apply it appropriately for the purpose it was intended.
Mr. Dikki, in his speech, identified the factors that could facilitate a successful reforms process in any country, pointing out that key among these factors is a strong political will at the top to pursue the reform agenda.
He said the ongoing reforms in the country have been lucky to be enjoying the full support of the present administration, particularly in the power privatization, commercialization of the Federal Housing Authority (FHA), privatisation of the Abuja Securities & Commodities Exchange (ASCE) and the approval of eight reform bills by the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) expected to be presented to Executive Council Federation for onward transmission to the National Assembly for approval.
The Director General called for the domiciling of PIU in the Bureau, pointing out that the law establishing BPE confers on it the mandate to execute PPPs through concessioning/commercialization, adding that the successful concessioning of the country’s 24 ports was a clear testimony of its capability to handle PPPs.
He said already the Bureau has made a presentation to the relevant authorities on
the need to domicile the PIU in the privatisation agency as the present administration has demonstrated strong political will in that direction.
Mr. Noumba pledged the World Bank’s continued assistance to the Bureau in the areas of advisory services, manpower development and funding in some of its transaction.
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