BE­HIND THE SCENES: PPP OP­POR­TU­NI­TIES FOR IN­TRO­SPEC­TION

Business Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - Al­berto C. Agra Con­clu­sion

BE­HIND the pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ship (PPP) scene, press re­leases and awarded con­tracts are la­tent as­sump­tions. The un­der­ly­ing premises of PPPs must be un­der­stood, put in the fore­ground and sub­jected to discourse. A PPP is so much more than the in­stru­ment signed by an im­ple­ment­ing agency (IA) and the win­ning pri­vate-sec­tor pro­po­nent (PSP). A PPP goes be­yond the con­struc­tion, op­er­a­tions and de­liv­ery of projects.

A PPP is much more than a fi­nan­cial, tech­ni­cal and le­gal trans­ac­tion. A PPP should be pur­sued as a covenant with the peo­ple for the pub­lic good to at­tain bet­ter qual­ity of life. This is the “True North” of PPPs. PPP is more than the busi­ness.

The sig­na­to­ries to a con­tract are not the only stake­hold­ers in a PPP. The peo­ple, end- users, civil- so­ci­ety or­ga­ni­za­tions and reg­u­la­tory agen­cies are all mem­bers of the PPP com­mu­nity. They must be ac­tive and not be fence sit­ters. A PPP must ef­fect change. If un­der­taken for the pub­lic good, PPPs should re­sult in trans­for- ma­tion and pur­po­sive de­vi­a­tion from the sta­tus quo. The vi­sion of govern­ment must, thus, be clearly laid out.

Last year the Mil­len­nium De­vel­op­ment Goals of the United Na­tions mor­phed into the Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals (SDGs). No. 17 of the 17 SDGs is “Part­ner­ship for the [16] Goals.” The 16 SDGs are the out­comes and out­puts rang­ing from “no poverty,” “qual­ity education,” “zero hunger” and “re­duced in­equal­i­ties” to “clean wa­ter and san­i­ta­tion,” “life below wa­ter” and “on land,” “good health and well- be­ing.” No sin­gle stake­holder can achieve and be re­spon­si­ble for change.

PPP must not be viewed as if it is the only so­lu­tion to the in­fra­struc­ture and ser­vice deficits. There are other de­vel­op­men­tal strate­gies in

PPP must not be viewed as if it is the only so­lu­tion to the in­fra­struc­ture and ser­vice deficits. There are other de­vel­op­men­tal strate­gies in the govern­ment arse­nal. Pro­cure­ment, loans, of­fi­cial de­vel­op­ment as­sis­tance, guar­an­tees, and use of na­tional and lo­cal funds are the other strate­gies, which may be im­ple­mented singly or in con­junc­tion with each other and PPPs.

the govern­ment arse­nal.

Pro­cure­ment, loans, of­fi­cial de­vel­op­ment as­sis­tance, guar­an­tees, and use of na­tional and lo­cal funds are the other strate­gies, which may be im­ple­mented singly or in con­junc­tion with each other and PPPs.

PPPs by na­tional govern­ment agen­cies, state cor­po­ra­tions, lo­cal gov­ern­ments and state univer­si­ties and col­leges, in­di­vid­u­ally and col­lec­tively, pro- mote the com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage of the coun­try and its in­di­vid­ual units. The govern­ment can­not be solely re­spon­si­ble for de­vel­op­ment. Part­ner­ship with and for a pur­pose is crit­i­cal.

To achieve the goals of Asean in­te­gra­tion and for the coun­try to be a front- run­ner, and not a lag­gard in the re­gion, the whole Philip­pine bu­reau­cracy must em­brace PPP as a de­vel­op­ment strat­egy. If they do not, we will lag be­hind those coun­tries with tremen­dous com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tages.

In typ­i­cal PPP ar­range­ments like build-op­er­ate­trans­fer, build- trans­fer- op­er­ate and build-lease-trans­fer schemes, the IA is a pas­sive par­tic­i­pant. The govern­ment sim­ply over­sees and reg­u­lates. The govern­ment steers and not rows.

How­ever, in a joint ven­ture, the IA is an ac­tive par­tic­i­pant. It con­trib­utes, im­ple­ments, op­er­ates and sets pol­icy. Th­ese op­tions are all le­gal.

What do you think of th­ese eight? Let us take this op­por­tu­nity for in­tro­spec­tion.

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