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Story Highlights

  • DBJ Chairman, Joseph Matalon, says the institution is committed to the sustainable implementation of the Government’s public-private partnership programme.
  • The DBJ is charged with the responsibility of managing the Government of Jamaica’s PPP and privatisation programmes.
  • The Bank has provided technical and administrative support to ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) in executing major transactions.

Chairman, Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ), Joseph Matalon, says the institution is committed to the sustainable implementation of the Government’s public-private partnership (PPP) programme.

The DBJ is charged with the responsibility of managing the Government of Jamaica’s PPP and privatisation programmes, which are considered core strategies for driving investment, economic growth and development.

Speaking at a PPP seminar, hosted by the British High Commission at the Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston on February 20, Mr. Matalon said the DBJ played a direct role in the drafting and implementation of the PPP policy, which is still a work in progress.

Additionally, the Bank has provided technical and administrative support to ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) in executing major transactions.

“Perhaps our most important role will be spearheading the capacity building effort to ensure MDAs are adequately equipped, not only to identify and develop potential PPP opportunities, but also to sit at the table with the private sector as true partners in this process,” the Chairman said.

He informed that under the initiative, work is now being done to complete simplified guides for MDAs, outlining the PPP development process. “A targeted sensitisation programme began in December 2013 with select MDAs, who are in the process of evaluating options for PPPs,” he added.

Additionally, training sessions are being held during this week with MDAs that are actually pursuing transactions. A broader training programme will be pursued, commencing in April 2014, and this will help the process of identifying and delivering viable investment opportunities for the private sector, Mr. Matalon told the conference.

He further informed that the PPP units at the DBJ and the Ministry of Finance and Planning are operational, while a Privatization Committee of Cabinet and a Strategy Committee have been established.

Mr. Matalon said with three major PPP projects underway – the Norman Manley International Airport; the Kingston Container Terminal; and the Port Community System –  the GOJ must now focus its efforts on identifying public investment projects, which have the potential to be procured as PPPs.

“Projects will take time to be properly developed, as we ensure that proper checks and balances are in place to avoid the risk of fiscal exposure and to ensure that viable investment opportunities are pursued,” he argued.

In the meantime, Mr. Matalon said the two-day PPP conference is particularly timely, as it will help to commence the dialogue on the importance of PPPs and their potential role in spurring economic development in the Caribbean region.

“This is done by leveraging the resources and skills of the private sector, as a catalyst for very important growth-enhancing capital investments that may not otherwise have been possible in the context of constrained central government capital budgets,” he noted.

The symposium, which commenced on February 19, was hosted by the British High Commission, in association with the United Kingdom (UK) Trade and Invest and the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ). It was held under the theme: ‘Delivering growth by partnership – sharing UK capabilities in PPP’.

It featured presentations from a range of experts from the public and private sectors, including Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller; Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips; Director, PPP Solutions and Commonwealth Association for Infrastructure Development, David Wright; and Director, Mahoe Consulting, Vanessa Rizzoli.