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Deputy Financial Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, Ann Marie Rhoden says  more equitable arrangements between the publicandprivate sectors are essential for the success of Government’s infrastructural development programmes.

Mrs. Rhoden noted that while the Government has engaged in public-private partnerships (PPPs) for the development of infrastructural works, “what we have recognised is that, government has not benefited to the extent that it can in a number of these projects… primarily because the risks have not been shared in a very equitable way."

She was speaking with JIS News following her address at the opening of a  training seminar on private participation in infrastructure development, held yesterday (February 21) at the Management Institute for National Development’s(MIND), Old Hope Road,  in Kingston.

The Deputy Financial Secretary said it was found that the Government’s capacity to negotiate and determine the extent of risk sharing, has been limited, and so enter into these partnerships being less than equal partners with the private sector.

“In many instances we find that they have become experts in the game; they are well ahead of us. They know exactly what the risks are and have already determined what areas of the risk they will assume,” Mrs. Rhoden lamented.

She said that given the inadequacy of the fiscal space within which Government has to manoeuvre to make infrastructural projects a reality, it is necessary to engage in PPPs, particularly as Government has been spending much funds on infrastructure works over the years.

 “What we find is that the Central Government of Jamaica has been devolving much of its own responsibility to implement infrastructural-type projects to the self financing Public Bodies, and they have, over the years, been spending  huge sums of money on infrastructural works,” she said.

The Deputy Financial Secretary pointed out that in lookingat the waterandhousing sectors, roads and transportation, including port development, it is seen where, onaverage, Government has, over the past four years, spent approximately$40 billion annually on infrastructural programmes.

“For 2010/11, it is estimated that approximately $60 billion will be spent on infrastructural projects in these particular sub-sectors,” she said.

She expressed the view that both the public  and private sectors can benefit from PPPs arrangements, “but we need to build capacity; we need to ensure that we have a cadre of persons who are sufficiently trained to recognise the areas of risk and to mitigate them to ensure that the sharing of the risk is done on an equitable basis."

“Government’s objective right now in bringing this training into being, is to ensure that we are in a better position to build the capacity, strengthen the institutional framework for carrying out PPPs, and to broaden and consolidate the risk management skills for current and future PPPs in Jamaica,” she explained.

The five-day training was designed and developed by the International Law Institute (ILI) in partnership with MIND and the Cabinet Office. The course will provide training to Government officials in the design, negotiation and financing of private participation in infrastructure. The training will focus on best practices and principles in the development and implementation of PPPs.

 

CONTACT: ALECIA SMITH