The Public Private Partnership (PPP) initiated by the government of Nigeria has not yielded the much desired results, looking at the fact that major construction companies as well as investors in other sectors of the economy are already too conversant with the traditional method of contracts award.
For instance, some years ago, the Federal Ministry of Works called for expression of interest on the privatisation of some selected federal highways in the country, including the Abuja-Kaduna dual carriageway and the Abuja-Lokoja Road, but only Gitto Construction Company expressed interest on Abuja-Kaduna Road.
That expression from Gitto was dead on arrival because the permanent secretary and some directors in the ministry allegedly told the company that its interest was alien to the normal process of doing things in Nigeria.
That equally sent signals to the major contractors in the ministry and other agencies that the PPP arrangement was an intense method of taking away from them the percentages accruing to them on contracts awarded to firms in line with due process.
However, the concession method which predates 2005 is yet to be an acceptable way of developing infrastructure in Nigeria, thus the slow pace of progress in all sectors of the economy.
Surprisingly, Zeberced Nigeria Limited, experts in the mining, housing and construction sectors, has proven to be independent and engaged in private development of these sectors without contracts award from government.
Zeberced has over time been involved in signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with relevant agencies of government under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.
One of such partnership was between the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) to develop quality and affordable housing for Nigerians desirous of owning their own homes.
The company also entered into and obtained license from the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development for the exploration of mines and as one of the few license operators they have contributed immensely to the development of the sector in terms of revenue accruing to government.
The company is behind the development of the first industrial park with over 200 factories established under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement between the Nigerian Government and Zeberced Nigeria Limited which ground breaking ceremony was performed by the former Vice President Architect Nnamadi Sambo. The park is expected to provide 4, 000 jobs for unemployed Nigerians when completed, according to the Managing Director of the company, Mr. Adil Aydin Kurt.
In an interactive with Kurt, he said following calls by the government for Foreign Direct Investments (FDI), the Zeberced Group in 2007 decided to invest in Nigeria in the fields of mining, housing and construction.
“With our experiences gained over the years in quarry business in Turkey, we built our first concrete and asphalt plants.”
In 2011 Zeberced Furniture was founded with a wide range of products from domestic and office to kitchen furniture, in addition to door production, interior architecture, decoration and renovation services.
According to him, the importance of the mining and housing sectors globally cannot be undermined, saying Nigeria is the heart of Africa because there are a lot of mineral resources to be tapped.
“Zeberced is officially licensed by the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development to operate and develop the sector, while we also acquired land from the FCTA under PPP to develop model housing scheme, as major contributors to the nation’s economy, and I can assure you that we have complied with government standards and directives,” he said.
The managing director said the industrial park, when completed, will provide 40, 000 jobs to unemployed Nigerians in addition to the over 300 workers the company currently employs.
About 200 manufacturing industries are expected to be completed inside the industrial park.
The Abuja industrial park employment scheme is predicated on the 177 parcels in an area of 245 hectares of land as well as social and technical facilities to be established in the first industrial park project.
Zeberced group has started this enormous project to provide more appropriate and exceptional area to gather diverse sectors from all over the world to Nigeria to endorse sustainable growth in the economy.
The mining and housing sectors and other relevant non-oil sectors of the economy will provide the government an alternative platform to fund the national budget.
Some of the manufacturing industries being constructed at the park would provide aluminium, roofing sheet, metal, steel, iron etc.
The mining and housing sectors and the industrial park have multiplier effect on the economy since many more sectors shall spring up through this laudable development.
Kurt said all the profit the company has made have been reinvested into the Nigerian economy, adding that his company is interested in investing in other sectors like power, oil and gas etc.
In the construction sector, Zeberced Group started the construction of the embassy of the Federal Republic of Turkey and the ambassador’s residence in Abuja in 2011. These two important projects were not only delivered on schedule in April 2013 but had a touch of the Zeberced Group class and quality.
The Katampe Private Estate Project which consists of 42 villas and 285 flats is planned to be completed in 2015.
The company has constructed about 400 houses in the Federal Capital Territory FCT, and about 22 kilometres of road.
“Our participation in the housing sector is to ensure we provide decent and affordable accommodation for categories of people in Nigeria who are desirous of owning a house,” he said.
To advance the ongoing partnership, government has to look at the development of road infrastructure, supply of power and complete existing rail projects and embark on new ones because it is easier, safer and cheaper to transport goods and services across the nation through the rail lines.
The growth of economy of any nation lies in the hands of investors because investments drive the growth of any economy.
The effective participation of the private sector in the major sectors of the economy through concession is a boost to the economy and reduced pressure on government.
Government has to restore investors’ confidence by creating a conducive environment.
It is very clear to all Nigerians that the expectations of Nigerians on housing for all in 2020 is not realisable, with the abysmal performance of stakeholders and government in the sector.
We therefore continue to draw the attention of government to the fact that landlords are making life unbearable for the citizens of this country as cost of rent skyrockets daily.
Government should take every partnership in the housing sector serious and relax some of the conditions that impede investors from going into mass development of houses for citizens.