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World Bank Laments $450m Un-utilised PPP Fund

The World Bank Tuesday expressed regret over the non-utilisation of about $450 million- Public-Private Partnership (PPP) project fund, three years after it was released to the Nigerian authorities.

World Bank Sector Manager, Finance and Private Sector Development (Western and Central African countries), Mr. Paul Noumba, said the funds had been lying fallow since it was made available.

Speaking during a fact-finding mission to the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), he said the unfortunate development had forced the bank to review the value of the fund.

He said: "Because of the non-utilisation of the fund, the
World Bank had decided to restructure and scale it down to
$25million at the first instance to take care of technical
assistance and capacity building while in phase two, it would release $85million.The initial ratio was $150 million and $300million."

He said in a statement signed by BPE's spokesman, Mr. Chigbo Anichebe, a copy which was made available to THISDAY that the World Bank team was in the country to find out which agency was capable of handling the fund and apply it appropriately.

He, however, pledged the World Bank’s assistance to the Bureau in the areas of advisory services, manpower development and funding in some of its transactions like the commercialisation of the Federal Housing Authority, privatisation of the Abuja Stock and Commodities Exchange and the eight reform bills being fine-tuned for presentation to the National Assembly.

Speaking during the visit, acting Director General, BPE,
Mr. Benjamin Ezra Dikki, declared that for reforms to succeed in any country there must be a strong political will at the top.

He listed some of the reforms the present administration had given full backing to include; the power privatisation, commercialisation of the Federal Housing Authority (FHA), privatisation  of the Abuja Securities and Commodities Exchange (ASCE) and the approval of  eight reform bills by the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) which are expected to be presented to Federal Executive Council (FEC) for onward transmission to the National Assembly.

The acting DG called for the domiciling of PIU in the bureau as the law establishing BPE gave it the mandate to execute PPPs through concessioning/commercialisation.
He added that the successful concessioning of the country’s 24 ports by the bureau was a clear testimony of its capability to handle PPPs.

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