Harnessing Public Private Partnerships to finance infrastructure

2016-11-29 00:00:00.0

Ensuring value for money, affordability and focussing in getting credible Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects through competitive procurement are some of the key issues which were deliberated upon at this year’s 2nd annual PPP Conference.

A group of 100 delegates consisting of ministers, financiers, economic researchers and executives from both the public and private sectors converged in Windhoek for the 2nd annual Public Private Partnership Conference on Thursday the 24th of November 2016.

The conference jointly organized by Standard Bank, PwC Namibia and the Ministry of Finance. The initiative was supported by the British High Commission in Windhoek. This event served as a networking platform for experts to put their heads together in discussing the Public Private Partnership (PPP) framework for key socio-economic infrastructure projects and key initiatives in the country. These projects are primarily focused on energy provision, affordable housing and transport sectors.

In his welcoming remarks Standard Bank’s Chief Executive Vetumbuavi Mungunda said PPP’s is a very important policy development that has been discussed in the country in the last 10 years. “We are here to deliberate and clarify our own PPP framework that needs to be developed and platforms like these serve as an ideal opportunity for specific engagements.”  
The one-day conference was officially opened by the Minister of Finance Calle Schlettwein who stressed that the role PPP’s in the country cannot be over-emphasised as it’s crucial for economic growth. The Minister highlighted value for money as one important parameter for a PPP’s success.
“The role that PPPs play in promoting investment, net economic gains and efficiencies cannon be overemphasized… I believe that we need to acknowledge and embrace the dichotomy that through PPPs we channel relatively expensive private capital for developing the projects that would serve the public at large, and thus where affordability will be an important consideration. Given this key consideration, a PPP project will be a suitable solution only if we are able to derive substantial efficiencies from the involvement of the private sector. We believe that Value for Money can be further enhanced by the two fundamental principles of output orientation and competitive procurement,” said the Minister.

The second critical issue with regards to PPP’s is affordability which the Finance Minister stated should be from the perspective of the end user and the public sector. “a critical measure of our success shall also be that PPPs provide tangible benefits to the population, and are undertaken in a manner that is sustainable and efficient.”

He further stated that public funds are currently under immense pressure. In view of this, the Government has taken a pro-growth stance to accelerate growth by creating an environment for a PPP environment in the economy.

The Government has made steady progress towards the PPP agenda. The National PPP Policy was approved in 2013. In line with the Policy, the Public Private Partnerships Directorate (or the PPP Unit) has been set up at the Ministry of Finance since April last year. The formulation of the PPP bill was also adopted and passed by the National Assembly.

The vibrant discussions on the subject of PPP’s were also held on the 25th of November through a breakfast networking session organised for public enterprises in Namibia.