Public-Private Partnership Bill In The Offing

Mrs. Magdalene ApentengThe government will by the end of March, table the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) bill, which seeks to mobilise private sector support for the implementation of development interventions, before Parliament for approval.

The Attorney-General’s Department is currently fine-tuning the bill to ensure its successful passage by the Legislature.

Mrs. Magdalene Apenteng, Director of Public Investment Division of the Finance Ministry, announced this at a media forum on the PPP policy in Accra on Tuesday.

The forum was to sensitise media practitioners about the progress of the PPP policy which was developed through broad consultations with various stakeholders.

The PPP strategy, which is described as a long term solution to Ghana’s infrastructure challenges, is being adopted by the government to help address the infrastructure deficit without overburdening the government
budget.

It principally enables the government to provide better infrastructure and services through the use of private sector financial, human and technical resources, thereby freeing government resources for other uses.

The policy, which is a better alternative to privatisation of public entities, enables the private partners to recoup their investment over time since the projects are designed to be self-financing.

Mrs. Apenteng noted that the PPP strategy has been developed to support properly planned projects required to enhance economic growth.

She cited a number of projects which have either been delayed or not taken off because of inadequate funding and planning, adding that the new policy which was approved by Cabinet in 2011, would address that challenge.

According to Mrs. Apenteng, a number of “pipeline projects” have been earmarked to be covered under the new policy.

The projects include the Accra-Takoradi road dualisation, Accra-Tema Motorway rehabilation and expansion, Takoradi Port rehabilitation and expansion, Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital Diagnostics Services, Accra Plains Irrigation system, Boankra Inland Port and Eastern Railway Line, establishment of a new national airline and the National Sports College project.

Touching on the plan for the private sector to recoup its funds, Mrs. Apenteng explained that the investment would be recouped entirely either through service tariffs, user charges or government’s budget.

Paul Victor Obeng, Chairman of the National Development Planning Commission, described the PPP as critical to economic growth, saying “it will help us to undertake viable projects which we cannot wait for
government to take decades to generate funds to undertake”.

According to him government would ensure that only projects that are viable, cost- effective and would not overburden the citizenry with service charges are promoted under the PPP policy.

“It is not all PPP projects that would require that the project itself pay the investment debt,” he said, adding that various actions such as revenue from advertisement along roads and on bridges would be used to repay the investment of the projects.

Ekow Coleman, head of  the PPP Advisory Unit at the Finance Minstry, in a presentation on the policy, said although PPP and privatisation are both private sector participation in infrastructure service delivery, the public sector retains the underlying ownership of the asset and accountability for service delivery in PPP arrangement.

He said under the PPP, the physical asset provision and service delivery is provided by the private sector in line with the PPP contract agreement. By Edmund Mingle

 

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