By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)
(Pakistan News & Features Services)
The concept of public-private partnership was advocated at a seminar on Public Private Partnership, jointly organized by the Riphah Institute of Public Policy (RIPP) and the Infrastructure Project Development Facility (IPDF) at Marriott Hotel, Islamabad, on December 20.
The distinguished speakers shared their views on the subject and stressed on the need for providing a boost to public-private participation concept to promote the cause of the country's greater progress.
Senior government functionaries from different ministries, including Finance, Housing, Railways, P&D and Agriculture, also participated in the one-day policy seminar and deliberated on the possibilities of involving the private sector in infrastructure projects.
They appreciated the level of knowledge displayed by the presenters and emphasized that such conferences should take place more frequently. The seminar provided an opportunity to the academia to join hands with the government and to analyze the important issue. It covered the entire project life-cycle on public-private partnership, discussing the institutional and supporting framework and the best practices in procurement of such projects.
The Riphah Institute of Public Policy (RIPP) has been recently established at Islamabad by Riphah International University as part of its commitment to further the cause of education and research in the discipline of public policy.
Besides its academic programs of Masters in Public Policy, the RIPP also provides a non-partisan and academic forum for conducting debates on important public policy issues.
Mohammed Ishfaq Khattak, Director RIPP, in his opening remarks welcomed the participants from different ministries and highlighted the fiscal limitations currently faced by the government, the unsatisfactory working of the Public Sector Enterprises and ever-increasing need for investment in the infrastructure projects.
Prof. Dr. Anis Ahmed, Vice Chancellor, Riphah International University, emphasized the importance of the role of private sector and said that such seminars would go a long way in developing connectivity between the academia and government sector.
Such interactions, he observed, are common in the developed world and the government benefits from the research and new knowledge created in universities.
The Riphah University, he said, had established RIPP for this purpose, and it would endeavor to maintain the linkages between the government and academia through RIPP. He said the recommendations of the seminar would be shared with the stake holders.
Adil Anwar, CEO, IPDF, stressed the importance of the public-private partnership in Pakistan and mentioned the shrinking PSDP budget for infrastructure projects.
He said in order to spur economic growth Pakistan should promote private sector participation. He also gave an overview of the programme and the projects in pipeline, revealing that their costs exceeded US$ three billion.
Ali Malik, Infrastructure Specialist, IPDF spoke about the supporting framework including the creation of viability gap fund aimed to bridge funding gap for projects which are economically viable but are not financially feasible.
Ahmad Aslam, Senior Infrastructure Specialist presented principles and best practices of procurement. He stressed pre-procurement planning and positive attitude are key to successful implementation of the projects.
Mohammed Awais, Senior Legal Advisor, IPDF, spoke at length about the standardized contractual provisions specifically drafted such projects. The IPDF, he remarked, has developed comprehensive standardized contractual provisions to safeguard interests of the public sector while securing the private sector investments.
The vote of thanks was presented by Ishfaq Khattak in which he acknowledged the participants for their valuable inputs and announced that the policy seminar would be followed by focused workshops on public-private partnership in different sectors like energy, transport, agriculture, environment, production and industries.