Senate confirms Ohiani as ICRC DG

Hopes of infrastructure development in Nigeria would soon received a boost as the Senate has confirmed the nomination of Joe Aniku Michael Ohiani as the substantive Director-General /Chief Executive of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC). He has been in acting position since March 2021 following the death of the then DG, Chidi Izuwah.

Ohiani’s confirmation followed the consideration of the Senate Committee on Works report led by the Chairman Adamu Aliero (PDP – Kebbi Central). Aliero, who was a former Governor of Kebbi state, in his presentation, said Ohiani was asked questions on the mandate of ICRC, and how he would apply the knowledge and experience gathered over time to enhance the workings of the Commission.

The lawmaker informed his colleagues that, “the nominee responded intelligently and provided satisfactory answers to all questions asked.”

The panel, in its recommendation, said, “after careful and diligent assessment of the nominee’s extensive resume, performance during the screening exercise, knowledge, experience and character, the committee considers him suitable for confirmation as the Director-General of the Infrastructure Regulatory Commission.”

Until his appointment, and confirmation, Ohiani, a lawyer from Kogi state, was the Acting Director-General of the ICRC. He was previously the Director of the PPP Resource Department responsible for catalyzing Public and Private expertise and resources towards the structuring and development of Federal PPP Projects that are bankable and yield value-for-money for Nigerians. The P3RD has within it a Knowledge Centre and PPP Project Delivery Units.

He studied law as his first and second degrees from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and Edo State University Ekpoma, respectively. From 2015 – June 2016, he was the Director of the Contract Compliance Department. Between 2008 – 2015, he headed the Legal and Governance Unit of the Commission which provides informed legal advice and opinions on an on-going basis to various departments and units and also serves as the secretariat to the Governing Board.

Ohiani has over twenty-three years post-graduate experience. Until he joined ICRC, he was the Team Leader, Executive Unit at the Debt Management Office where he had various responsibilities including participation in bilateral negotiations and managing the projects for DFID support programmes.

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In a chat with Business day, Ohiani said his focus would be to ensure that the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), successfully concludes on-going viable and bankable projects that would be delivered through PPP, especially in the critical sectors of the economy.

Ohiani said government had given the ICRC and Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) the task to deliver more than 80 per cent of all infrastructure projects through the Public Private Partnership (PPP).

He said the task was in line with the 2021-2025 Mid Term Expenditure Framework of the National Development Plan (NDP).

“Although, we all have committed to this, it is now more pertinent to identify and push forward the projects which will offer better value for money to the economy and the citizens through PPP.”

During his brief tenure as Ag DG, the ICRC continued to record successes in the issuance of Outline Business Case (OBC) and Full Business Case (FBC) Compliance Certificates on some important projects with the commissioning issuing a total number of 127 OBC and 50 FBC Compliance Certificates for some projects.

Some of these projects include the issuance of FBC compliance certificate to the Federal Ministry of Transportation through the Nigerian Railway Corporation.

According to the new DG, part of the projects was to Secure Ticketing Solutions for the Lagos -Ibadan Standard Train service and the Warri-Itakpe Standard Train service.

“The NNPC through the NNPC Medical Services Limited (NMSL) has commenced PPP projects to develop five multi-specialist hospitals in five locations, including Maiduguri, Port Harcourt, Lagos, Kaduna and Abuja.

“It also proposes to establish an Intravenous Fluid Plant in Kano through PPP methodology.

“The Federal Ministry of Health through the Port Health Department has received an OBC compliance certificate for the decontamination and fumigation project for vessels arriving at all seaports in Nigeria.

“The Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI) is going digital with an OBC compliance certificate for the Digital Industry Trade and Investment Platform.

He said the commission was in the process of publishing the 2022 Pipeline of Eligible PPP Projects in line with the ICRC Act.

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