MICHAEL JOSEPH OHIANI, a law firm, was just lately confirmed by the Senate as director-general/CEO of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Fee (ICRC). A pioneer employees of ICRC, he was earlier the staff chief, Govt Device at the Credit card debt Administration Workplace (DMO) in which he participated in bilateral negotiations and projects management. He spoke to OBINNA NWACHUKWU in Abuja on what the commission is carrying out to end Nigeria’s infrastructure deficit, the significance of functional public-personal partnerships and other concerns. Excerpts:
In advance of your confirmation as DG, you ended up in acting capability for a even though, what would you say were being milestones reached all through your period of performing as the director-basic of ICRC?
Initially, allow me say that we experienced a large amount of jobs in the time period. A great deal of MDAs came to us for help and assistance. We had been ready to attain the commercial near in regard of Onitsha Port. We have worked with the NCC in respect of the revenue assurance procedure. These are some of the jobs we have carried out and we stick tenaciously to the aviation highway map which we want to consummate right before the end of this administration in phrases of actualising the concession of the 4 terminals Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano. Also, we want the countrywide carrier to be on stream. All these were accomplished during the time I started out acting.
We have also been able to assure that the PPP programme is manufactured welcoming. What pretty a number of men and women complain about more than the decades is that PPP is very arduous, that ahead of you can consummate a venture, it takes rather a extensive time. So, what we have done is that we appeared at the areas that can be manufactured a bit versatile with no compromising the essence of PPP rules the transparency in PPP, the issue of who emerges as a chief. All these are what we have accomplished.
We have also been performing with BPE also. And in all these items, my own perspective is that, the issue of diplomacy, you never have to have any rancour with any MDA. We have been operating with all the MDAs, when you convey a job, we look at the dynamics and what it will provide to the table, what it will convey to Nigeria in terms of employment and income. Which is my own push and at the time I see that we then glimpse at what are the defects in your OBC (Outline Business Circumstance).
Fortuitously, my predecessor received an in-household economic modeller. So, I will sit with him and say glimpse, I have a person philosophy which I inherited from Dr. Mansur Muktar for the duration of the actualisation of financial debt aid. He stated, “if there is a difficulty go and resolve it and really do not deliver bureaucracy to say since of this or that you were being not equipped to remedy the problem”. So that was how we ended up ready to exit credit card debt from Nigeria when I was in DMO. I also introduced that philosophy into my operation below in ICRC.
As soon as you deliver a project in this article I appear at the great importance, what it will provide to the everyday living of an normal Nigerian and see how we can make it do the job not how we are going to get rid of it.
After you deliver a project in this article I search at the worth, what it will convey to the lifetime of an regular Nigerian and see how we can make it to get the job done not how we are going to destroy it
Now that you have been verified, what new issues are you bringing to the table?
One of the items I intend to do is to make the workers pretty satisfied. To have them alongside, make sure that their welfare is taken treatment of due to the fact a pleased workforce permits you to operate more durable. Haven reported that I have to have to prioritise new tasks.
A person of the pet tasks I have in head is clever teaching. Wise training in the sense that coming from Covid-19 we recognized that you can be at a significantly length and continue to be in tune with what your friends are performing as it is done in other climes. So we are wanting at that, to get the job done with the ministry of education so that the problem of e-library is performed in all the universities both of those federal and state owned universities. You know our scale of preference is the federal but in undertaking that we will also collaborate with states. Just like when they established up the Sovereign prosperity fund, when the states noticed the have to have for it they keyed into it. We will operate with the Governors Forum so that they will also crucial into it.
One more job is how to stem healthcare tourism. Working experience has proven that a lot of cash are squandered outside the house this nation on healthcare costs. A large amount of Nigerians travel even as close by as Ghana for procedure that could be accomplished right here. As I talk with you now we are working with the NNPC, they have submitted 5 OBC’s and we have by now treated a single. They want to establish state of the artwork hospitals in every of the geopolitical zones of the state. So, if we can do that, it will go a very long way in stemming clinical tourism. Also if you go to our universities you will imagine that there is a ratio for pots and stoves since in the hostel just about every scholar has his or her personal pots and stoves exhibited in the open. This is not conducive for finding out.
We have started out doing work with several of the federal universities to see that we upscale students’ lodging. We are presently in conversations with the College of Abuja, Uyo, Enugu and other folks. So, we are going to glimpse into this and be certain that students’ hostel accommodation is sorted out. What we require to do is to bring in PPP the private sectors to commit in students’ accommodation. This will include the building of new ones and the rehabilitation of present types to make them conducive for mastering.
The other element we intend to go into is to resolve the problem of electricity in the state. Correct now, there is a huge trouble in that sector. Because, energy is pretty critical to some of the items we want to achieve. In this respect, we are working tirelessly with the ministry of h2o sources they have quite a quantity of dams all more than the nation. We want to have (a suitable) electricity blend, we ought to not count entirely on gasoline, we should really have thermal as perfectly as coal plants. We intend to function with the ministry of Mines and strong minerals growth on this. In China, even in South Africa they use coal for energy, they are resorting back again to coal. Why really should we not use coal? Based on current know-how all we need to do is to take into cognizance the ozone layer and the atmospheric pollution.
You mentioned clinical tourism, and that can take me back to what ICRC has been carrying out or has carried out. A single, there is the concern of Garki Standard Hospital Abuja, a federal authorities job in which ICRC played a position. Also in 2019, ICRC built known options to concession 12 federal hospitals and that brought some furore for the reason that some workers kicked versus it. So, initial, what is ICRC doing in conditions of ensuring sanity as considerably as Garki Clinic is worried, then what is the condition of concession of the 12 federal hospitals?
In respect of the Garki Standard Healthcare facility, it is a federal clinic. It is owned by the FCT. It is one of the legacy initiatives we inherited. Legacy challenge in the feeling that it was done right before ICRC came into being. Having said that, by our Act we choose custody of the settlement and the agreement. Suffice it to say that the concession settlement fully petered out in the perception that it went as a result of the complete process of the 15-12 months interval. The period of the concession came to an end in the first quarter of 2022.
What is taking place now is that we want to see how we can have a seamless changeover from the concessionaire back again to the guarantor so that there is no disruption of providers. So that is the challenge that is currently being labored out. Since when it was done like I explained to you it was a legacy undertaking, there was no suitable hand again clause. For each individual concession we constantly insist on a hand back clause.
What hand again clause involves is that, just before the expiration of the interval, the two functions would consider stock of what is on ground the equipment that you have been working with more than the a long time, the state you have to place them in in advance of the federal govt requires again its asset. That is the method that is currently being accomplished. The authorities did not terminate the agreement as it is erroneously currently being canvassed in some quarters.
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These at present controlling the position will have to have invested tens of millions of bucks to put it in the existing affliction. Though the arrangement said 15 decades, if the operator has performed very well, is it not probable to uncover a way to enable that man or woman to continue?
I pretty agree with you that a good deal has been spent. Which is the essence of the hand back again clause. The hand back again clause states that both of those parties will examine what has been invested. Have you been able to recoup your expenditure? If you have not been in a position to recoup your investment decision how many much more decades need to be provided to you to recoup your investment decision? If you have recouped your investment decision, is the guarantor prepared to consider over?
These are the troubles to be discussed due to the fact we don’t want a concession in perpetuity. That’s why we have been discussing it with both equally functions. We have fulfilled with the FCT, we have also fulfilled with the concessioner. We are speaking about with them to see that the full of this detail is resolved amicably.
What about the 12 federal hospitals?
On the difficulty of the 12 federal hospitals we have been specified an OBC. What we claimed is that there should really be a pilot plan for the reason that when you want to concession a healthcare facility you don’t want a condition wherever you would leave the total job in the hands of one particular person. So which is 1 of the difficulties the federal ministry of health is doing the job out with the proponents that appear, go to every of the federal clinical centres, go over with them and see the spots that need to have authorities intervention due to the fact ICRC is not the owner of any of the assignments, it is the ministry.
Not only that, it is also really vital that you sensitise and carry along all the stakeholders, like the doctors and those people that use the facility. So, we have accomplished some scientific tests to clearly show that search, the tariff we have been paid out will not be a lot more than what we are at this time remaining compensated and we are making certain the medical professionals and other staff that no occupation will be dropped, that what they are going to do is to determine regions that require private sector intervention. The private sector will offer the products and operate them for a interval of time. Then, when the budgetary provision is specified to you, you dedicate it to places that the private sector would not want to spend in. These are the versions we are operating on and as quickly as they are concluded we would concession the 12 federal hospitals. But we do not want to leap the gun.
The main problem we have with our infrastructure is lack of suitable organizing. The other problem is absence of funds from the cash market place for infrastructure enhancement.
When do you expect this venture to be sent since it has been on since 2019?
When it started, the devices was bought via traditional procurement and there were no clauses for upkeep. So, these are the regions we have to function on and see that you have a sustainable PPP. As you are knowledgeable, in social infrastructure, there is not substantially dollars. In addition, you have to get legal responsibility hole money wherever there is the will need and all these have to be included in the spending budget. So you have to choose a holistic analysis to be certain that when you appear out you are ready to have a incredibly seem, sustainable challenge. That is what I have in head.
Nigeria and a lot of other African nations around the world are suffering from an infrastructure deficit. What do you feel is the purpose for that?
The main challenge we have with our infrastructure is lack of proper arranging. The other situation is absence of cash from the funds market place for infrastructure advancement. I stated suitable organizing in the feeling that we employed to have to start with enhancement plan, next advancement system, 3rd progress strategy (in that manner). But in the course of the armed forces period we jettisoned the issue of enhancement designs.
When you don’t do appropriate planning, there is no way you can deal with your infrastructure problems. For illustration, if you go to the Uk and give beginning, you need to sign-up the newborn. If you never sign-up the youngster, when the little one grows up he/she can not accessibility their facilities. Why is it so? It is so simply because they have to system for it. If you go to Lagos Victoria Island, a whole lot of all those regions utilized to be govt houses. We had liaison workplaces of state governments but nowadays, numerous of those locations have been turned into business outfits. So, electric power usage planned for those regions has expanded. If you go to some states, you now find out that the landlords will wake up nowadays and come to a decision to include two, a few storeys to their properties without government acceptance. That presupposes there will be an raise in use of energy.
At the time you do not make acceptable organizing, you just can’t have ample infrastructure. So, which is what the federal authorities has observed. In actuality, we just re-released the revised nationwide integrated master system and ICRC played an significant job. The pioneer DG mooted the plan that if you want to develop your infrastructure you want to have an integrated learn plan.
You also uncover that we really don’t have a strong capital marketplace. It is just lately that the CBN is accomplishing a thing about that. CBN has arrive up with the infrastructure fund. We also have around N5 trillion that if you have a correctly produced project it will be supported with. Also there is now an infrastructure lender and other enhancement banks in the nation.
Really do not you assume that even the ones we have presently are not performing incredibly perfectly, for instance the streets, rails, water system. I consider if they are currently being managed perfectly there won’t be ICRC. Is not it ideal to say that they are being concessioned simply because they are not accomplishing effectively?
I beg to disagree with you in the feeling that our inhabitants is about 215 million now so that puts force on our infrastructure. Hence, we have to have to enhance our infrastructure. How do you do that? You have to create an enabling surroundings for the non-public sector to spend, you can’t do it on your own. That is why we have ICRC to make sure that, in particular part 11 of our Act, claims that the moment you go by the gamut of our procedures, no government will arbitrarily terminate your concession.
For instance, we are at the moment embarking on HMDI (Highway Growth and Administration Initiative), wherein we are going to concession 12 roads to the non-public sector less than our PPP task. Ideal now, the governing administration is negotiating with the desired bidders. What we want to do is to cost-free governing administration methods from these 12 roads and permit the non-public sector invest and maintain them. Government has no business executing business. When this project is completed, the volume that is freed from annual budgetary provisions will be used to treatment for other roadways and you need to have to know that the streets that belong to the federal govt is about 35 p.c, it is the state and community governments that have the bigger duty of preserving many of the roadways.
You are claimed to have arrive from a loaded history. Is your angle to everyday living and operate motivated in any way by that?
Yes, what it has taught me is that I really do not see wealth as anything for the reason that as a baby I was exposed to wealth. On the other hand, my father instilled willpower in us to the extent that when I was escalating up, I used to go to my father’s cold retail outlet to sell fish before likely to school. And you must account for every fish bought. That instilled integrity and fiscal self-discipline in us.
Throughout holiday seasons, we would go to my father’s farms and his filling station to provide gasoline. Even when I was in college, I nonetheless went there. You do that before you get your stipends. Then the poultry, in the course of extended vacations, I also went to the poultry. So, I am uncovered to all these issues.
Then, the secondary school I went to, we had Bishop Ajomu, he was a disciplinarian. A extremely disciplined human being that even lecturers could not appear late. That is the purpose one particular would observe if I have a conference, I go there five minutes to the time. All those are the philosophies that have moulded me in excess of the years believing in the sanctity of labour, self-discipline and also having into thing to consider my individual background that some of my brothers are Muslims, some are Christians.