By Ekow Essabra-Mensah
Government says it has approved a public-private partnership (PPP) policy and is revamping its public investment plans to diversify the sources and vetting of public infrastructure programmes.
??The developments of the PPP policy will enable the private sector to become an investor transparently in the development of economic and social infrastructure for purposes of accelerating the pace of closing the national infrastructure gap. It also expands the scope of private sector business opportunities.?
Mr. Paul Victor Obeng, Chairman of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), explained in Accra that approval of the policy gives confidence to both local and international investors who would want to participate in PPPs with government.
The NDPC has been mandated to prepare a national infrastructure plan for Ghana, and every PPP project initiated by contracting authorities will emanate from this plan.
The Attorney-General?s Department, with the assistance and advice of the Legal Division of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MoFEP), will ensure the conformity of all project agreements with Ghanaian law.
The country is presently faced with a huge infrastructure gap averaging US$1.5billion per annum for the next decade. This is required to bring the nation?s infrastructure to the recommended status of a middle-income country.
?The constraint of available resources-lack provides government with the ability to look for other innovative means of financing and procuring these projects and thereby expediting the delivery of the required infrastructure,? Mr. Obeng said.
The country?s development partners, including the World Bank?s International Development Association, is to finance the PPP project with a US$30.0million credit facility over a five-year period. This is to assist in the improvement of legislative, institutional, financial, fiduciary and technical frameworks for PPPs and develop bankable projects. ?
Mrs. Magdalene Apenteng, the Director of the Public Investment Division (PID) of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MOFEP), has explained that the credit is intended to assist government increase targetted infrastructure and other social services levels and quality by mobilising private sector participation through a public-private partnership model.
Government is seeking Public Private Partnerships to finance the construction of five key infrastructure projects in the country.
They are the rehabilitation and expansion of the Tema and Takoradi Ports; construction of Korle Bu Diagnostic Centre; conversion of the Accra-Takoradi road into a dual carriageway; Accra-Tema motorway? rehabilitation and, expansion; and rehabilitation, expansion and upgrading of Kotoka, Tamale, Kumasi and Takoradi Airports
Mrs. Apenteng said the plan is in line with government?s policy to use private capital to finance infrastructure projects and services in the country.
?The five projects are not the only ones we are looking to construct with private capital,? she stated, and said: ”In the long-term government, wants to use an? Infrastructural Finance Facility under the PPP to finance infrastructure projects and services such as the expansion of the Accra, Takoradi, Kumasi and Tamale airports.?
In view of the growing difficulty and high cost in raising capital to finance key public infrastructure projects, government in 2011 launched a PPP–policy to seek private capital in development of the country.
The objective of the PPP, among other things, is to leverage assets and funds with private resources from local and international markets to accelerate needed investments in infrastructure and services.
Hitherto, government had been depending on its own revenue resources to finance infrastructure projects and services — making it difficult to expand and improve on those facilities.