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PPP model could help governments deliver infrastructure

ICAEW round table discusses benefit of Public-Private Partnerships to GCC governments

PPP model could help governments deliver infrastructure
The PPP model has been used successfully in some parts of the world to deliver government projects.

Governments in the GCC should do more to adopt Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model for future infrastructure spending, according to a round table hosted by the ICAEW.

The accountancy industry body held the round table event in Dubai International Financial Centre last week, with speakers from leading financial firms.

The PPP model could prove lucrative for the GCC public sector, the panel said, although there is still a lack of awareness around PPP and a need for a legal framework to manage it.

Use of the PPP model would mean GCC governments can save valuable public finances and also enable them to attract more foreign investment, create jobs and encourage the transfer of skills to the public sector.

Abu Dhabi was recognised for having a PPP model that has delivered successful PPPs in energy, infrastructure and educational sectors.

Panellists included Brad Watson, Partner and Infrastructure Advisory Lead, Middle East and Africa, EY; Sachin Karia, Partner, Allen and Overy; Paul Norris, Senior Infrastructure Advisory, Abu Dhabi Department of Finance; and Jeronimo Roura, Chief Executive Officer, MENA Infrastructure Fund. The discussion was moderated by Tobias Thunander, Head of Debt Advisory Services, UAE, KPMG.

Panellists agreed there is a lack of understanding about the PPP concept in the region, which is largely considered to be purely a financial tool.

Speakers explained that GCC governments have to appreciate that the PPP model is a long-term partnership that brings to the public sector a number of benefits including the transfer of expertise, innovation and efficiency from the private sector. It also transfers many risks, that typically have been borne solely by the public sector, to the private sector.

Panellists advised that in order to facilitate collaboration between the public and private sectors, there is a need for a good ‘Public Procurement Law' which is transparent and sets out the processes to be followed for all forms of public procurement.

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