Nine years after government adopted the Public Private Partnership (PPP) policy and implementation framework, its sluggish take off has punctuated progress in the local economy.However, next year government has intentions to fast-track PPPs implementation to boost private sector financing of public infrastructure and ease infrastructure burden on the national pocket.
“The basket is limited. The demand is more than supply. And yet there is money in the private sector,” said Orono Otweyo, PPP Coordinator in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. Otweyo said twelve infrastructure projects are on the PPPs radar, which the ministry of finance and economic development continue to discuss with various line ministries.
The projects include Zambezi Integrated Agro-Commercial Development, Gaborone Waste Water Treatment, Chobe-Zambezi Water Transfer Scheme, Sepopa Prison Farm, Land Servicing in Ramotswa, Kgatleng, Kasane and Francistown, Offender Rehabilitation Centre, Prison Headquarters, Gaborone Tourism Precinct, Serowe Magistrates Court, construction of teacher’s houses and development of Three Dikgosi Monuments and development of eight Special Economic Zones sites.Otweyo said government has hopes to get the private sector to do the projects between 2019/2020. He however said the line ministries have to motivate why government has to partner with the private sector on any project.
Grace Muzila, Secretary for Development and Budget in the ministry of finance said the delays in PPPs implementation were due to skills gap in both the economy and government institutions.“We did not have capacity of PPPs, we did not want to take a risk,” said Muzila highlighting that various capacity building programmes have been done.Otweyo indicated that since 2016 more than 250 senior government officials have undertaken PPP workshops, including the sensitizing of senior officials.Meanwhile, the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal (PPAD) Act is being amended to cater for PPP project development and procurement.
“We have submitted provisions specific to PPP project development and procurement to AG Chambers for incorporation in the PPAD Bill,” said Otweyo citing that it will be debated in parliament during the February 2019 session.
“Thereafter, the PPP regulations, guidelines, standard documents, operation procedures and manuals to guide the PPP process of the law will be prepared.”
Otweyo allayed fears that the amendment will delay the development of the intended PPPs project. So far the local economy celebrates Plot 21, the Ombudsman’s offices, as the only successful PPPs project and more could be rolled out once the PPADB law is amended.