The Nigerian government is exploring alternative funding sources to revitalize and commercialize Federal Government properties abroad. This move comes at a time when funding has become a major problem for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with many properties being underdeveloped or poorly maintained. The infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have opened talks to find a sustainable solution to these challenges.
During the inaugural meeting, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, stated that some of the issues that had put the country’s properties abroad in such dire situations include funding, reduction in staff, and changes in layouts. He also noted that many properties had continued to depreciate in value while some had even been lost due to the inability of the ministry to develop them in line with the laws of the host nations.
To tackle these challenges, the Ministry has set up a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) unit, which is tasked with finding partners to come on board to turn prime properties into money-making ventures. The PPP unit will work with private investors to revitalize and maintain existing properties and develop or acquire new properties for newly set up missions.
The Director-General of ICRC, Michael Ohiani, informed the Ministry that the ICRC was set up to regulate infrastructure development and management using private sector funding. The ICRC will monitor the entire PPP procurement process and conduct due diligence on private sector investors to ascertain their capability for any PPP project.
The Ministry wants to use proceeds from the PPP initiative to maintain its missions and properties abroad. The revenue generated from these properties will be used to take care of the properties that the ministry is using. The proposed PPP arrangement will involve the Ministry bringing in the property while the private investor brings the funds to revitalize the properties.
The inauguration of the PPP unit and the first training marks the beginning of the technical aspects of the proposed PPP arrangement. With the commitment of the ICRC to see the proposed projects through to fruition, all is now set for innovative funding solutions to revitalize Nigeria’s missions abroad.