Govt doles out millions for P-P partnership projects

LAHORE: DAILY QUDRAT :The Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Steering Committee has approved a Project Development Facility (PDF) amounting Rs302 million for 10 projects worth over Rs138 billion. The approval was accorded in the 41st session of the PPP Steering Committee meeting held on Tuesday under the Chairmanship of Punjab Minister for Finance Makhdoom Hashim Jawan Bakht.

As the provincial government aimed to stimulate private investments through public-private partnerships, the PPP Steering Committee approved PDF requests on the second day of the new fiscal year. Funds provided under the PDF will be utilised by relevant government departments for project development and transaction execution on a PPP basis.

A Planning and Development (P&D) department spokesperson highlighted that the approved amount of Rs302 million would help government departments execute Rs138.6 billion worth of projects related to transport, urban development and the road sector.

The committee has also approved the concept of the project “Punjab Police Integrated Command, Control and Communication Centre (PPIC3) for Rawalpindi” under a PPP mode. The project will introduce a smart traffic management system, while also modernising infrastructure and the capabilities of the Punjab police to proactively manage security situations.

The committee has also approved the draft of Viability Gap Fund (VGF) guidelines, prepared by the PPP Cell, in consultation with Punjab Finance Department and Asian Development Bank (ADB). The government has established the VGF to bridge the financial viability gap for projects which are suitable for implementation due to the strong economic and social values, if not financial feasibility.

The meeting was attended by Advisor to Chief Minister on Economic Affairs and Planning and Development Dr Salman Shah, Planning and Development Board Chairman Habibur Rahman Gillani, PPP-P&D Board Member Dr. Farrukh Naveed, LUMS Professor Dr Abid Aman Burki and other senior officials of the government departments.

During the moot, the finance minister told committee members that scheme selection was being carried out though a five-year development and spatial strategy. He said the end objective was to ensure that development targets were achieved.

He directed the P&D department to take all traffic and environmental problems into account when preparing feasibility reports. “This will promote the use of environmentally-friendly technology,” he added. He also advised that university students and scholars be employed for research and innovation in different projects.

The meeting also approved guidelines for proposed viability gap fund of public-private partnership cell and finance department

The public-private partnership is considered one of the most effective vehicles to enhance private sector participation in public service delivery, increase growth and create jobs which lead to reduction in poverty. The PPPs help attract private capital investment, increasing efficiency through the profit motivation of the private sector and reform selected sectors through the reallocation of roles and risks.

To support PPP initiatives, the government has established a cell under the P&D Board, which is serving as a focal entity. The mandate of the PPP cell is to promote and facilitate PPP development in Punjab and assist line departments and local governments in preparing/executing high-quality projects. To fulfill this mandate, the PPP cell is performing the role of a catalyst, advocate, knowledge manager as well as policy and project advisor.

The body is providing support to line departments and city district governments in identifying financially viable concepts. It is also playing an important role in building the capacity of staff to transform these concepts into project or realities.

The PPP cell is working in conjunction with other integral components of the institutional framework, including a high-level steering committee under the Punjab Public-Private Partnership for Infrastructure Act 2010.

The PPP Steering Committee is responsible for formulation of policy, supervision, coordination and implementation by line departments and local governments. It also has the mandate to approve or reject PPP Nodes’ requests for financial assistance related to project preparation through the PDF.

It also has powers to approve/reject or send back for reconsideration any PPP project proposals submitted by line departments and local governments. Besides, it can also approve/reject bid evaluation reports/recommendations for contract awards to selected private sector partners submitted by line departments and local governments. Finally, it can also help solve major problems impeding PPP project preparation and implementation.

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