Governor Bello’s PPP Model and Fast-rising Kogi Economy – Nafisat Bello
By Nafisat Bello
Governments all over the world have realized that public-private partnerships (PPPs) can facilitate positive development, especially when the private sector-financed public infrastructure and public
services are hardly achievable these days due to financial crisis.
Kogi State under the administration of Governor Yahaya Bello is leveraging on PPP for infrastructure development as the government continues to initiate projects that elevate the infrastructural standards of the state.
Having recognized the daunting task ahead of him from the inception of his administration, Bello found it necessary to design a roadmap that would move the state to the path of economic recovery. He therefore came up with his New Direction Blueprint which provided a roadmap for proportional and accelerated development.
Through the blueprint, the state has so far recorded giant strides, boosting its investment and developments in all critical sectors like education, security, infrastructure, health, agriculture, youth and women empowerment, environment, civil service and even the economy.
From 2016 to date, Governor Bello has been courting private sector support for its comprehensive economic reform programmes, I.e, in funding its ambitious but innovative infrastructure plan. The aim of the socio-economic programs is to reduce the poverty rate through a 5-point socio-economic agenda which are security, education, health, agriculture and economy.
To achieve this objective, the government implements the Private Sector Participation (PSP) through the landmark establishment of the State Bureau for Public Private Partnerships (B – P3) which has been on the front burner ensuring the PPP Bill was successfully signed into law.
The Bureau is mandated under the Kogi State Public Private Partnership (PPP) Law to implement the administration’s epoch-making Public Private Partnership funding paradigm that will contribute about 40% of total investment requirement to fund the private and public sector streams of the administration’s Development Blueprint.
The Bureau of Public Private Partnership (BP3) is a model development initiative adopted by the Kogi State government for development through active integration and interaction between government and private institution. It has been revived and rejuvenated by the Bello administration, having realised that there cannot be development without an active private sector participation to grow the economy.
The state Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, being the arrow-head of the initiative, has been given additional steam under the New Direction Agenda of the Bello administration in ensuring areas of economic development through PPP are harnessed.
For instance, in the area of structural enhancement, the established Economic and Investment Team composed of technocrats from various MDAs brainstorms and interacts with local and foreign investors. In fact, the Economic Team has interacted with over 200 investors both locally and internationally covering different sectors of the economy.
Similarly, a lot of Memoranda of Understandings (MOU) have been generated and are at various stages of execution while executed ones are already yielding positive results. These include engagement of Agric Integrated Services Africa Limited which established a 50 ton p/d Rice Mill Plant, 80 ton p/d Parboiling Plant and cultivated over 800 Hectares mechanized farm in Omi, Yagba West Local Government Area.
Cabota Energy Services Limited is engaged to dish out 30MW Tri –Fuel Turbine Power Plant while Apib Korea Resources is building schools and hospitals across the state.
Another firm, ONIDA Development Limited, is crystallizing investment of Greenhouse farming in conjunction with the Ministry of Agriculture. The involves setting up the greenhouse farming through construction of power house, provision of green house technology equipment and alternative power generation at Abobo, in Okehi Local Government Area.
The solid mineral sector is not left behind as it is currently witnessing a new impetus in view of the massive deposits of solid minerals in the state to engender a massive turn-around in the economic fortunes of the people.
The initiative has so far boosted the state’s economy and made it more competitive. Other benefits derivable from the scheme includes irrigation of millions of hectares of agricultural land and provision of access roads for isolated communities.
It is therefore not surprising that after the governor granted the State’s Board of Internal Revenue autonomy with revenue administration digitalized, the Kogi State Internal Revenue Service (KSIRS) now generates over N1.3bn monthly, from a paltry N350million that was being generated by the previous administration.
A recent research project by Chukwuemeka Nnachi Oko-otu and others concluded that with the implementation of Kogi’s model of PPP, the state economy is now forward looking, security of investment has been guaranteed, foreign and local investment are on the rise and public spending has drastically reduced.
According to other observers, the establishment of the Kogi BP3 business and innovations desk presents the state with a unique win-win opportunity for the rapid economic transformation of the state. The success of the model has prompted increased employment opportunities, increased economic and commercial activities, increased internally generated revenue for the state, increase in the net saving and foreign exchange, poverty reduction, provision of a ready market for Agric production as well as enhancement of long term investment in assets for Kogi state.
There is no doubting the fact that Governor Bello is on the right economic track. He has brought in a lot of experts who have formed a crack team that is gradually making the state one of the most productive economies in the country.
Nafisat Bello is with the Politics Digest