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Set up state window to bankroll PPP projects

Experts tell roundtable

FE Report | January 18, 2018 00:00:00

Speakers at a discussion stressed Wednesday the need for a master plan to select and implement Public-Private Partnership projects to make sure those are efficient and effective.

They said the government could consider floating initial public offerings (IPOs) or special bond to collect funding for PPP projects because commercial banks are not interested in extending long-term loan such projects require.

The speakers also noted that there should be adequate discussion and analysis on the failure and success of PPP projects and failed projects must receive punitive action.

The comments came at a roundtable on 'What Must We do: To Meet PPP Investment Challenges' at a hotel in Dhaka.

State-backed Public Private Partnership (PPP) Authority and Watermark MCL jointly organised the discussion, sponsored by Prime Bank.

Executive chairman of Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) Kazi M. Aminul Islam moderated the roundtable.

Speaking at the programme, he said that every project will be divided into public, public-private partnership and only private in future in terms of prioritising public interests.

He also said: "We have to make PPP system flawless and robust so that it can deliver according to demand and purpose".

Mr Islam said PPP could expand its purview to the remotest area so the private sector could effectively participate in development projects.

CEO of PPP Authority Syed Afsor H. Uddin made a presentation delineating the present state of the PPP projects.

He identified costs and time overrun due to poor planning, performance and monitoring as the major challenge for implementing PPP projects.

He said that an integrated infrastructure investment master plan is needed that complements but does not compete between the sector-based developments.

He said PPP authority was not implementing the projects, rather acting as a facilitator.

He added that countries like Canada, the United Kingdom, the Philippines, and India have taken long time to make PPP projects a success.

Considering those countries, Bangladesh has progressed much in developing a sustained PPP model, he said.

Mr. Afsor noted that investment in infrastructure needs to be increased from the current $3.0-$3.5 billion to $12.5 billion a year to meet the development targets.

Director General of Central Procurement Technical Unit (CPTU) at Planning Ministry Md Faruque Hossain said the government must open a window to extend financial support to the PPP projects.

Recognising the private sector as a partner is important for effective implementation of a PPP project, he said, adding it must be done with highest professionalism.

Professor of Banking and finance and Director at the Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management Prashanta Kumar Banerjee said PPP course could be introduced in the syllabi of educational institutions.

He said BIBM was ready offer PPP course in its syllabus.

Chairman of Daffodil Group Sabur Khan demanded punishment for failed PPP projects.

He also said that successes of PPP projects are not visible to the public eye.

He also suggested adopting public-interest projects like airport management or special transport connectivity with airport under PPP.

Managing Director of ACI Limited Dr. Arif Dowla said that the PPP authority does not need to overdo while adopting projects,

The agency should adopt only the projects that would accelerate the country's growth or development, he argued.

Special Correspondent of The Financial Express Munima Sultana said people do not see success stories of PPP projects, though good policies, regulation are in place.

Business Editor of The Daily Star Sajjadur Rahman said bad experience of four banks in Mayor Hanif Flyover was discouraging banks and financial institutions from investing in PPP projects.

He also suggested floating of IPO or bond to collect fund for PPP projects.

Business Editor of Kaler Kantha Md Masud Rumme said PPP projects should adopt a mechanism to bypass bureaucratic complexities for speedy implementation of the projects.

Deputy Chief Reporter of Banik Barta Md Badrul Alam said PPP authority should share constraints and challenges regularly with the media to help ensure transparency in the projects.

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