The much talked about Public-Private Partnership (PPP) scheme, initiated four years ago, has once again failed to get the budgetary limelight as the government has not yet managed to come up with relevant strategies and policies.
In the budget speech delivered Thursday in parliament, Finance Minister AMA Muhith admitted the government’s failure to translate PPP scheme into reality.
“It took quite a while to establish the new PPP office. That is why, this programme could not make much headway,” Muhith said.
In 2009, the government allocated Tk30bn for the PPP scheme, of which, only Tk5bn had so far been spent on the scheme.
“Currently, the proposed PPP law is under serious consideration of the cabinet. The selection process of the PPP projects has gathered pace,” the minister said in his budget speech.
Terming commencement of the projects extremely important for the scheme, Muhith outlined the recipes for implementation: selecting projects after preliminary scrutiny, listing of projects, conducting feasibility studies and appointing consultants.
Up until this May, a total of 37 projects have been selected, of which 17 have been listed, 14 have seen the appointment of consultants and the implementation of six projects has begun, he said.
Sources said the Asian Development Bank had assisted the PPP wing of the prime minister’s office in finalising paper works on appointing consultants for public procurement and execution of projects.
A government official said doubts were cast over the future of the PPP projects, which had been included in the Annual Development Programme every time over the last four years, because the private sector had shown little interest.
The Awami League-led 14-party alliance government introduced the PPP in the 2009-10 budget to promote infrastructural development through private investment.
The scheme was intended to raise the investment to GDP ratio to 35-40% from the existing 24%.
“Heavy reliance on PPP for infrastructural development is responsible for poor progress in the sector,” said Rashed Al Mahmud Titumir, chairman of local think-tank Unnayan Onneshan.
He said institutional and legal frameworks of PPP have not proved sufficient to attract private investors who have less or no political connections.