OrderPaperToday – The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), has kicked against the Public-Private Partnership Regulatory Commission (PPPRC) Act being proposed by the Senate.

The Act being sought is to repeal the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) Act 2005 and the Public-Private Partnership Regulatory Commission Act 2022.

This came to the fore on Thursday, during a public hearing held on the bill by the Senate Committee on Works.

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While the bill enjoyed support of other critical stakeholders, BPE kicked against it on the ground of alleged duplication of functions between the envisioned agency and BPE.

BPE Director-General, Alex Okoh, in his submission kicked against the bill, stating that the role of an operator should be delineated from that of a regulator.

Extant laws according to him, mandate BPE to superintend over PPP transactions. There is no territory in the world where PPP is regulated by an agency, as envisioned by the proposed Public-Private Partnership Regulatory Commission (PPPRC).

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“We appeal to the Senate not to come up with a legislation that will worsen inter-agency collaboration through duplication of functions,” Oko stated.

Acting Director-General of ICRC, Michael Ohiani in his submission said the proposed bill will put the inter-agency rivalry between ICRC and Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) to rest, as far as regulation of PPP is concerned.

Ohiani noted that the ICRC has significantly contributed to developing the overall economic development of the country.

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According to him, between 2010 and 2020 under the regulatory guidance of the federal government, Nigeria has approved over $19 billion dollars Private Public Partnership Project (PPP) project.

“We have been giving certificate of compliance in respect of 142 projects and Full Business Case (FBC) Certificate. The objective of the bill is well spelt out by putting to rest the seemingly jurisdictional conflict between ICRC and BPE.

“This is in consonance with the circular that was issued by the Federal Government which states that the ICRC shall act as the regulatory agency for PPP transactions, with power to inspect, supervise and monitor the projects and process to ensure compliance to relevant laws and regulations.

“PPP is a global phenomenon which must be well regulated in Nigeria as envisioned by the proposed legislation. The bill is no doubt, people-oriented,” Ohiani said.

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But Chairman of the Committee, Senator Adamu Aliero (APC, Kebbi Central) in justifying the piece of legislation, noted that its enactment would give rise to an upsurge in the private sector participation in critical infrastructure development.

A member of the Committee, Senator Robert Ajayi Boroffice (APC Ondo North), as well as the Chairman assured the BPE that the proposed bill will not in any way infract on extant laws.

Other critical stakeholders who threw their weight behind are the Office of Attorney-General of the Federation, represented by Director of Legal Drafting, Pius Oteh, the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, and a representative of the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), Engr. Chukwuma Kachi.

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