The Deputy Minister for Finance, Mona Quartey has defended some concerns that have been raised by some Members of Ghana’s Parliament in the Public Private Partnership Bill, 2016.
The Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Haruna Iddrisu raised issues of procurement process and creation of a Fund to support the Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangements.
Touching on the proposed Fund in the Bill, Hon. Inddrisu said that he ‘was surprised that the sponsoring Ministry (Finance Ministry) was talking about the establishment of a PPP Fund and for what purpose? According to him, the Finance Ministry does not need the Fund for a PPP.
‘Mr Speaker, what the Ministry of Finance needs is the relationship between government and private sector persons who are providing for an investment in infrastructure. You don’t need a Fund called a Public Private Partnership Fund. What are you going to do with that Fund?’ the Minister asked.
He therefore called on the House to ensure that the procurement role in the Bill ‘is strengthened to ensure transparency and openness in the bidding process as well as to ensure value for money.
Addressing issues raised in the Bill, regarding the establishment of an Agency, creation of a Fund and Unsolicited projects by some Members on the floor of the House, Mrs Quartey explained that ‘currently, the work that is to be done by the Agency is done at the Ministry of Finance by the Public Investment Directorate.’
She added that ‘the role of the Agency is to promote, evaluate proposals, oversee and implement them through technical support. The Deputy Minister further indicated that ‘but more importantly, to coordinate the fiscal implications of some of the partnerships and also to ensure that they are within the national plans.’
Mrs Quartey reiterated that ‘that role was very important especially, when you look at the decentralised PPP projects at the District Assemblies stage, we need to make sure that they fall within the national plan and also that they did not result in any negative fiscal implications. She intimated that ‘it is to coordinate and ensure some level of centralisation to avoid any fragmentation of projects.’
‘Mr Speaker, in terms of the Fund, I believe the Hon. Member (Haruna Iddrisu) spoke about funds not being needed. In fact we do need funds for projects’ preparation, for feasibility, and to make sure that experts too are brought in, especially for solicited projects. Those are projects where government is responsible for putting up the project, not the private sector. So those experts and consultants must be paid for to come up with the feasibility projects. Most of the projects that would be looked at would be commercially viable projects and therefore the feasibility will be very important’, she enunciated.
The Deputy Finance Minister also said that ‘with respect to unsolicited projects or unsolicited proposals which will come from the private sector, there will be strict procurement processes that will be undertaken to make sure that they fall within the national procurement laws.’
Mrs Quartey, who moved the motion on behalf of the substantive Minister for Finance, assured the House that ‘all the comments that have been made by the Members will be considered at the consideration stage of the Bill.’
The Bill, which has been read the second time was supported by the Lawmakers.
In the Joint Report of the Committee on Finance and Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs on the Public Private Partnership Bill, 2016, Chairman of the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Magnus Amoatey said that the passage of the Bill would boost investor confidence and foster private sector participation in the Public Private Partnership in the provision of public infrastructure and services.
‘The Committee therefore recommends to the House to adopt its Report and pass the Bill subject to the amendments proposed in the Attachment’, the Chairman urged the House.
Public Private Partnership (PPP)
Public Private Partnership is a contractual relationship that enables the public sector to harness the expertise and efficiencies of the private sector in the delivery of certain facilities and services traditionally procured and delivered by public institutions. It is structured in such a way as to attract huge amounts of investments from the private sector.
The purpose of the Bill is to establish a legal framework for the development, implementation and regulation of Public Private Partnership arrangements and projects between public authorities and private entities for the provision of public infrastructure and public services.
The provision of public infrastructure and public services is one of the prime mandates of governments all over the world. Public infrastructure like roads, electricity, transportation, water and sanitation, seaports and airports are fundamental pre-requisites for economic growth and development.
The Bill seeks to promote a combination of policy and legal reforms, financing mechanisms, incentives and institutional support to boost private sector participation in the provision of public infrastructure and public services through PPP arrangements and projects.
The Public Private Partnership Bill is therefore a reflection of the desire of government to improve the quality, affordability and timely provision of public infrastructure and public services in Ghana.
The Bill is classified into seventy-six (76) Clauses.