Infrastructure Minister deplores lack of knowledge to implement PPPs in Mauritius though opportunities exist
Several Public-Private Partnership (PPP) opportunities exist in Mauritius namely with the forthcoming smart cities and techno parks, as well as the future implementation of the decongestion programme and housing projects. However the country lacks the expertise to apply the PPP as we do not understand the mechanism well enough.
This was the gist of the speech of the Minister of Public Infrastructure and Land Transport, Mr Nandcoomar Bodha, who was proceeding this morning with the opening of a Training Seminar on Public Private Partnership organised by the British High Commission at Hennessy Park Hotel in Ebène.
Commending the British High Commissioner for its PPP Masterclass initiative for representatives of the public and private sectors in Mauritius, Minister Bodha highlighted the advantages of PPP namely the possibility for the State to have a megastructure which it cannot afford through a Build-Operate-Transfer system whereby the investment and risks are transferred to the operator. He affirmed that the best PPP should be in the best interest of the nation.
According to Minister Bodha, Mauritius is at the infancy of PPP as the country never had a real PPP project so far. Taking the example of the Rs 35 billion Road Decongestion Programme proposed by the former Government, which was to be implemented on a PPP basis, the Minister stated that Mauritius did not have the expertise to decide whether the PPP was the right formula, while the procedures regarding the bidding process were never mastered and were completely in the hands of the consultants. The Minister also recalled that the present Government has shelved the previous project and come up with a revised Road Decongestion Programme costing only Rs 15.5 b and comprising five mega-projects.
Stressing on the necessity to have a PPP model which will fit Mauritius, Mr Bodha briefed the UK resource person, Mr John Davie, Chairman of Altra Capital and Visiting Professor at London Guildhall Faculty of Business and Law, on the fruitful public sector/private sector partnership in Mauritius which has helped the country from a monoculture economy based on sugar to a broad based economy and of the transformation of the partnership into a more informal one over the years.
For his part, the British High Commissioner, Mr Jonathan Drew, underlined that PPP represents an interesting alternative form of procurement for government’s delivery major social and physical infrastructure projects as it takes a strategic and regulatory role, leaving the private sector to finance, design, build and often operate assets. Speaking on the accumulated wealth of experience of the United Kingdom (UK) in PPP methodologies, Mr Drew pointed out that the PPP models of the UK are far more flexible than concession models, and are used to deliver many public services through long term arrangements – not just to provide infrastructure. “There are close to 1,000 projects now in the UK, ranging through bridges, National Air Traffic Services, schools, prisons, medical facilities, military facilities, trains, government buildings, waste-to-energy, water supply and treatment,” he pointed out.
The British Commissioner is of the view that infrastructure investment is a major lever to achieving economic growth. He added that Mauritius is not lagging behind since the Government is strongly promoting the development of thirteen mega projects. Mr Drew also listed the ways in which UK businesses are working in almost every country in which PPP projects are being developed – working for either the public or the private partners, providing professional services advisors such as financial, legal, risk management/insurance, transaction, specialist PPP as well as technical consultants through the engineers, surveyors, architects, project managers, banks and investors.
Source: ‘link of article from GIS’.