Private sector encouraged to increase investment for a modern economy
Government is very committed to expediting execution of all infrastructure projects, and in so doing better serve the whole nation. However, the level of investment required to bridge the infrastructure deficit to meet our aspirations cannot be borne by Government alone hence the need for increased investment on behalf of the private sector.
The Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mr Pravind Jugnauth, made this statement yesterday at the opening of a two-day Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) Awareness workshop and launching of the BOT Projects Guidance Manual at the Hennessy Park Hotel, in Ebène.
He appealed to the private sector to contribute towards building a modern infrastructure in a more efficient and cost-effective way and expressed his firm belief that the private sector can and must play a bigger role in this future endeavor. To make this happen, he added that both the public and private sector should engage collectively towards charting more investments.
According to him, Government can no longer afford, in the immediate, to finance, build and maintain every single infrastructure project in the country. He recalled that in this perspective, the BOT Act was passed in April last to provide the legal framework for the private sector to finance, design and construct public infrastructure and also operate the assets to provide the required services at acceptable standards.
Moreover, Minister Pravind Jugnauth expressed concerns with regards the traditional “Tenders to Build” method of procurement where private sector carries out construction works whereby he underlined the need for the public sector to improve and strengthen its project management and contract monitoring capabilities so as to avoid delays and mitigate cost overruns. On this score, he announced the development of a validated Project and Contract Management Toolkit to be issued in the coming months to assist project managers in their tasks to address the issue of delaying in projects implementation.
He also pointed out that regarding public sector investment, Government will increase its capital expenditure to Rs 19 billion, with overall public sector investment to be around Rs 34.5 billion in 2016/17, and Rs 97.6 billion over the next three years.
He further stated that infrastructure drives productivity, improves services delivery and fuels economic growth. In today’s highly competitive, just-in-time world, modern infrastructure is not a luxury; it is a necessity and we need to build it together for a better Mauritius, he concluded.
An initiative of the Procurement Policy Office, the BOT Projects Guidance Manual will facilitate capacity building of stakeholders. The manual has a ten step process to be followed for the implementation of any project under the BOT procurement method.
As for the workshop, two resource persons from the African Legal Support Facility of the African Development Bank namely Mr Ferrari and Mr Oranefo from Nebarro (Singapore) legal experts in PPP/BOT projects are providing their expertise for an exchange of knowhow and knowledge in the preparation of PPP/BOT projects from feasibility to competitive bidding, including drafting and negotiation of BOT Contracts.
Participants are being exposed with a better understanding of how to use BOT as a new method of procurement that will allow increased involvement of private sector operators to accelerate implementation of public sector infrastructure projects.
It will be recalled that the workshop is the first in a series of workshops to be organised by the PPO involving both Public and Private sector to partner in public infrastructure construction for delivery of better services.