Within the past eight months, the federal government has earned at least N2.4 billion from the concession of infrastructure concessions through a public-private partnership model, records have shown.
Daily Trust reports that the federal government through the Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission (ICRC) operates the Special Concession Account (SCA) created through a Finance Circular issued in May 2020.
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Records obtained from the Commission indicate that over N2.4bn has been generated eight months after it was created.
The circular was in line with the Presidential directives to ensure that all revenues from Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) go into one dedicated Treasury Single Account (TSA) and to ensure that proper data in terms of investment and revenues coming from PPPs are properly accounted for.
The Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) had issued a Federal Treasury Circular reference No. TRY A12 & B12/2018; OAGF/ CAD/026/V.11/324 dated November 7, 2018, causing it to be opened with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the SCA.
Consequently, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed then issued the Finance Circular to the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as well as the Concessionaires to remit all monies accruing from PPP agreements into the SCA domiciled with CBN.
The only ones exempted are proceeds from asset sale and liquidation.
According to the data, these MDAs and concessionaires have remitted N2,400,689,340 into the SCA since May 2020 till date.
Speaking on the effects of this new revenue generation source of the federal government, experts say the new income stream shows how the government can earn revenue in diverse ways with the right policies in place.
According to David Akwu, an economist at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, this new capability also demonstrates how the federal government and even the states can generate enormous amounts of resources through well-structured PPP projects.
“Everywhere in Nigeria, there are opportunities for PPP projects – from mining to agriculture, transportation infrastructure, hospitals, and other social facilities. The opportunities are huge and the government can generate revenue from them while also providing functional quality infrastructure to the citizens,” he said.
When contacted for comments, the Director General of ICRC, Engr. Chidi Izuwah, said the objective of the SCA is to streamline the receipt of all PPP payments in the country for transparency, accountability and probity.
Izuwah said presently, the revenue accruing to the government through concession and PPP arrangements is not known and this may lead to abuse and leakages by the MDAs and concessionaires.
On the benefits of the SCA, he said: “It includes effective monitoring of revenue accruing to the government from PPP projects, assisting government in economic planning.”
The other impacts are enhancing national budgeting and redistribution of revenue allocation, supporting the federal government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) initiative on infrastructure provision, while providing information to policy and decision-makers among others.