The Bursar, Federal University of Petroleum, Effurun, Delta State, Mr Sam Inengite, has said that Nigeria can only achieve its infrastructure needs through Public Private Partnership (PPP). In this interview with Daily Sun, Inengite, a chartered accountant of over 20 years, and the author of Building Sustainable Public Private Partnerships, said in every developed country around the world, governments has to partner the private sector to attract private investment to assist the government to meet its critical infrastructure needs. He spoke on why he embarked on writing the book.
What inspired you to write this book?
I was motivated to write this book as a result of the massive infrastructure deficit in our country today. We have an infrastructure deficit in virtually every area –power, housing, roads, water, aviation, oil and gas, et cetera. In every developed country around the world, governments had to partner with the private sector to attract private investment to assist the government to meet her critical infrastructure needs. Nigeria, therefore, needs to thread the same path if she needs to urgently meet this infrastructure development need. This book, therefore, offers practical solutions to our country’s most pressing need which is infrastructural development.
Which areas of operation of PPP did you focus on?
This book is the first broad-based work of its kind in this part of the world. It covers the accounting and finance, economics, legal, and environmental aspects of PPP. But more importantly, it covers the leadership aspect of PPP which I consider the most important. This is because, if the leadership takes PPP as a strategic roadmap to develop critical infrastructure, then all other aspects will fit into the overall master plan.
We are in a country believed to be populated with people who do not read. How much impact do you think this book will make?
It is true that our reading habit is at its lowest ebb as a people, but that should not be a hindrance to finding solutions to our problems. One of the benefits of this book is that the book is made up of ten stand alone chapters which can be read independent of others. Besides, the chapter 10 on critical success factors gives a summary of the key issues in the book. This chapter can therefore be read as a summary of the book. The book also strongly recommends capacity building of public sector executives involved in capital expenditure decision making about the rudiments of PPP. This would address the knowledge gap about PPP that this book seeks to address.
PPP is a public procurement process. In a society where bribery and corruption is endemic, do you also think the book will make any impact?
It is true that corruption is a major problem in the country, however PPP as an infrastructure development model promotes accountability, openness, transparency, respect for due process, and encourages due diligence. These are all antidotes of bribery, corruption, and other unwholesome practices.
How will your book assist in the fight against corruption?
As stated above, PPP promotes transparency and accountability. This book, therefore, promotes the adoption of PPP as the most efficient, and cost effective means of plugging our infrastructure gap. So, the adoption of PPP as recommended in this book is a weapon to fight corrupt practices in contract and procurement processes.
Did you write the book out of your own volition or contracted to embark on it?
This book was written purely as my own initiative. I spent more than twenty years in the private sector as a banker. I was involved in the financing of infrastructure from the private sector. Over the last four years, I have also been in public sector as the Bursar of the Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun (FUPRE), Delta State. So, this is my own way of giving back to the society from the wealth of experience I have gathered in both the public and private sectors.
Since PPP came into being in Nigeria, what difference has it made so far?
PPP has not made much impact in Nigeria due to the knowledge gap about its rudiments. This book has, therefore, come at the right time, to demystify PPP and promote it as the most sustainable infrastructure development model around the world, and which must also be embraced in Nigeria.