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Public-private partnership key to development

Published:Monday | September 28, 2015 | 12:36 PM
Dr Peter Phillips

With financial constraints affecting the Government's capacity to develop and enhance national infrastructure, the public-private partnerships (PPP) model is being designated as a key solution for the realisation of increased and strategic investments to promote sustainable economic growth.

Sylvain Fabi, Canadian high commissioner to Jamaica, while addressing members of the audience on the final day of the Jamaica Institution of Engineers' conference at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel recently, highlighted that PPPs have been successfully designed and executed around the world in response to increasing challenges faced by many governments to adequately develop public assets that meet the expectation of taxpayers for high-quality and well-managed public infrastructure.

"Infrastructure is needed for human and social development, however, traditional approaches to infrastructure have failed at times due to cost overrun, delays in schedule, and substandard design and implementation. A PPP, on the other hand, uses a well-defined performance contract, which allocates risks to the partner who is best able to manage the project. In the end, they deliver certainty in costs, schedules, and asset or service performances," he said.

A model that has been developed in Canada since the late 1980s to attract sound investment among the private sector, the country now has one of the best-performing PPP markets in the world with approximately 200 PPP projects completed throughout the country to date. The support from both government and private groups isbeing regarded as primary reasons for the success.

"The development of standard practices and robust project pipelines includes input from all levels as political and private-sector support has been crucial to the success of PPPs in Canada. Agencies were created to offer technical assistance in funding to ensure effective and sustainable PPP infrastructure arrangements. Maintaining transparency in consistent procurement processes, performance related-risk, and reasonable terms are other aspects that have contributed to our success."

In the meantime, with Jamaica recording fewer than 10 PPP projects to date, Minister of Finance Dr Peter Phillips, keynote speaker at the conference, said the Government aims to be more reliant on facilitating private investors to engage in partnerships with the Government aimed at infrastructural development as it deals with the constraints imposed on capital budget.