Nigeria has inaugurated a nine-member Project Implementation Committee (PIC) for the partial commercialisation of its four pilot River Basin Development Authorities (RBDAs).
Inaugurating the committee on Tuesday in Abuja, Mr Suleiman Adamu, the Minister of Water Resources, said that the RBDAs were strategic players in the actualisation of national food security, jobs and wealth creation through their various agricultural activities.
The river basins are Upper Niger River Basin Development Authority (UNRBDA), Niger Delta Basin Development Authority (NDBDA), Sokoto-Rima Basin Development Authority (SRBDA) and Ogun-Osun River Basin Development Authority (OORBDA).
According to him, to make them more productive, commercially viable and self-reliant, the Federal Government approved the partial commercialisation of 12 RBDAs with the aim of accessing private sector funds for their revitalisation and ensure effective service delivery.
“Therefore, the partial commercialisation of the RBDAs is a golden opportunity to contribute to the advancement of the reform agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari through Integrated River Basin Management.
“This is to serve as a vehicle for enhancing food security, jobs and wealth creation as encapsulated in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) of the government.”
Adamu said that the committee would be guided by certain Terms of Reference (ToR) some of which are to review the approved recommendations and the proposed implementation strategy by the advisers for the partial commercialisation and introduction of Public Private Partnership (PPP) in some projects of the pilot RBDAs.
“Monitor and review the implementation and make appropriate recommendations to the minister.
“Recommend ways and means to ensure optimal utilisation of RBDA facilities and liaise with relevant stakeholders to ensure smooth and seamless implementation of the recommendations.’’
Adamu said that the committee was made up of members from the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Ministry of Water Resources, UNRBDA, NDBDA, SRBDA and OORBDA.
He urged the committee members to demonstrate high sense of commitment and dedication to ensure that the programme succeeds as it was intended to boost the nation’s economic growth.
Mr Alex Okoh, the Director-General of BPE, said that the committee had six months to complete its assignment, adding that the outcome of the assignment would determine if such reform would be replicated in the eight remaining RBDAs.
“I would like to reiterate that we are optimistic on the path we are pursuing for the partial commercialisation and introduction of PPP in some projects of the RBDAs.
“We believe they will lead to the optimisation of the RBDAs assets and the key resource of water along the value chain of agriculture, irrigation, small scale power generation and portable water for consumption.
“May I use this opportunity once again to reiterate that this is not a privatisation, it is the commercialisation and optimal utilisation of the assets and the resources of the RBDAs.’’
Mr Audu Uba, team coordinator of the committee, speaking on behalf of other members, assured that they would put in their best and work assiduously to ensure that the objectives of the Federal Government were achieved.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the implementation of the processes leading to the partial commercialisation of the RBDAs, commenced with the appointment of Transaction Adviser and conduct of a pilot study of four out of the 12.
This is to evaluate their critical assets and commercial viability toward partially commercialising them.