No PPP paper work completed in 4 years

Shakahwat Hossain

The government has failed in the past four years to complete the paper work for projects under the public-private partnership scheme.
Officials told New Age that they were hoping to seek a cabinet approval for a draft law called the Public-Private Partnership Bill in the next month.
‘This will be the final paper work paving the way for the appointment of consultants for public procurement and the execution of the PPP projects,’ an official said.
Observers, however, doubted whether the PPP cell under the Prime Minister’s Office could show any visible progress in any of the PPP projects during the remaining days of the current government.
The Awami League-led alliance introduced public-private partnership in the 2009–10 financial year to attract private investments so that the contribution of the overall investments to the GDP could be increased to more than 35 per cent from the existing 24 per cent.
The government alone could not fill the investment gap in a short time which prompted it to create opportunities for the private sector to take part in public investments.
The Centre for Policy Dialogue executive director, Mustafizur Rahman, said that the performance in the public-private partnership was disappointing.
There is no progress on the PPP front that could make the government optimistic about higher investments and higher economic growth, he said.
Former caretaker government adviser Mirza Azizul Islam said that the government had failed to attract private investors to PPP projects as it could not give any clear idea of the new concepts.
It is necessary to explain clearly types of investment facilities, financing gap, cost recovery and investment security facilities in the case of every project to attract investors, he noted.
Abul Bashar, a deputy manager of the PPP cell under the PMO, said that they had made better progress compared with PPP experiences in other countries, including India and the Philippines.
India introduced public-private partnership in 1992 and completed a project in 2005. The Philippines went for a PPP project in 2007 after introducing it in 1995, he said.
He said that they were hoping to begin the implementation of at least a couple of projects in the next six month.
PPP officials hoped that the establishment of a 40-bed haemodialysis centre at Chittagong Medical Hospital and a dialysis centre at the National Institute of Kidney Diseases and Urology, Dhaka will begin under the scheme in the new financial year.
They said that the scrutiny of half a dozen other projects would be completed by the time. The officials said that there were misconceptions about the PPP and its allocations.
More than Tk 35 billion had been kept aside in the budget for the three years and a half to implement the PPP programme but not a single penny was spent on or given to any project.
It is expected that the government would allocate a handsome amount of funds for public-private partnership in the next budget.
The officials said that the allocation of funds meant a government guarantee. Without allocations, private investors will not be interested in any PPP projects, they said.

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