Speed review of the policy framework for PPP

Bottlenecks at the approval and planning stages are slowing down the implementation of public-private partnership initiatives in the country.

In recent years, budgeted funds have been underutilised and carried over because potential investors and partners have been failing to submit satisfactory proposals. It is right for the government to be cautious in expending taxpayer funds and to ensure due transparency in the awarding of PPP contracts.

However, the slow pace of implementation of mooted projects is a cause for concern at a time when many businesses are looking for new investment opportunities.

The government should speed up its review of the policy framework to try and encourage more successful PPP initiatives.

Implemented properly, PPP initiatives offer the quickest available route to making much-needed improvements to the country’s infrastructure.

 Key projects, notably the development of the metro rail and the  Dhaka elevated expressway projects, have depended on PPP in order to get off the ground. Improvements in infrastructure are vital to make the economy more productive and to attract more foreign direct investment.

There are a host of sectors, such as transport and tourism, where PPPs can leverage capital and expertise to build better infrastructure. The government should look to emulate examples of successful PPP projects in other countries, as part of its review.

We cannot afford the opportunity costs of failing to maximise opportunities to use PPP to help build the improved communication links and power sources, which the economy needs to develop and grow.

Published: DhakaTribune, June 3 2014