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ICRC to expand facility management in PPP projects

ICRC to expand facility management in PPP projects

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 Maureen  Ihua-Maduenyi

The Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission has revealed plans to expand facility management in public-private partnership projects in the country.

The  Acting Director-General, ICRC, Mr. Chidi Izuwah, said facility management could be integrated with PPP for the upkeep, maintenance and operation of buildings such as offices, hospitals, schools, sporting complexes, convention centres, shopping complexes and hotels.

Izuwah spoke at the 7th edition of the Nigerian Facilities Management Roundtable with the theme: ‘Enabling positive experiences in a post-recession real estate market’, organised by Alpha Mead Group, in commemoration of the World Facility Management Day, 2018.

He said outsourcing facility management services would enable public entities to focus on the provision of public services, while the facility management operator would provide the best working environment.

“Facility management integration with the PPP aims to remove the discontinuities between design, construction and facility management services and optimising life cycle costs. Facility management/PPP represents a growing percentage of all PPPs being delivered today worldwide,” he noted.

Izuwah said to achieve its aim, the ICRC would promote the awareness of facility management through PPP and the associated business prospects for the private sector through publicity campaigns, seminars, events and information materials.

He added that the commission would also provide early notice of projects included in the project pipeline that were selected for implementation and provide details in relation to the facility management scope included in projects, as well as engage with the Organised Private Sector institutions to strengthen and foster collaborative relationships to enable each party to effectively advocate business interests and opportunities.

“We will also provide practical guidelines and advice for existing facility management companies and for companies that want to grow their business in the FM area; develop standardised output specifications through consultation with the private sector; ensure that the payment mechanism is appropriately linked with output specifications; and provide forums for meetings and networking between local and international companies,” he stated.

According to him, the PPP model is critical globally as both a funding and operational mechanism for public infrastructure and the Federal Government supports PPPs and instituted the ICRC to develop and enforce guidelines, policies and procurement processes for PPP at all government levels.

“Facility management integrated with the PPP is a growing percentage of all the PPPs, for the maintenance and operation of infrastructure and buildings. FM services integrated with the PPP are critical in addressing deficit in asset maintenance in Nigeria. Nigerian ports concession and the Garki General Hospital are two examples of successful FM PPP arrangements in Nigeria,” he said.

The Group Managing Director, Alpha Mead, Mr. Femi Akintunde, stated that in recent years, there had been several commendable PPP models geared towards increasing the infrastructure stock and enhancing the lives of Nigerians, but that most of them could not reach their optimal lives before they were truncated or suffered severe setback.

He noted that delivering a PPP project required skills, competencies and technicalities across various spectra.

“What we are seeing currently is that beyond financial and technical capabilities, actors in PPP projects pay less attention to issues, especially maintainability and sustainability of the project. These inactions are affecting the quality of the PPP projects and the value they deliver to their stakeholders. At other times, the lacuna created by this attracts the wrath of the public, who feel the PPP actors take them for granted,” he stated.

Akintunde said policy inconsistency was one of the major reasons why the country still had a huge infrastructure deficit and failure of existing PPP arrangements.

“PPP has been unable to play a key role in our infrastructure stock because the private sector does not trust government policies to guarantee the future of their investment. Also, existing PPPs are at their current state because the private sector has no long-term view of the projects, hence they are interested in cashing out rather than ensuring that the projects fulfil their lifecycle,” he added.

Akintunde noted that maintainability and sustainability of a project should not be determined after construction, adding that they needed to have been designed into the project from inception.

“Talking specifically about technical know-how and the regulatory role of the government, this is an area they must be deliberate about. When projects are designed for maintainability, they earn the trust of the public, the investors benefit from them long term, and the government earns from the improved standard of living of the people and economic prosperity that such infrastructure creates,” he added.

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