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Story Highlights

  • The Government is open to accommodating stakeholder participation in projects under public/private partnership (PPP) arrangements.
  • Dr. Phillips said the administration is advancing the institutional framework for implementation of these PPPs.
  • Dr. Phillips said a unit has been established at the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) that is charged with the responsibility of selecting and implementing PPPs.

Finance and Planning Minister, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips, says the Government is open to accommodating stakeholder participation in projects under public/private partnership (PPP) arrangements.

Speaking at a PPP conference at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, New Kingston, on Thursday, February 20, Dr. Phillips said the administration is advancing the institutional framework for implementation of these PPPs.

He informed that a Privatisation Committee of Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, has been established, which will be the “final decision making point for proposals.”

Additionally, Dr. Phillips said a unit has been established at the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) that is charged with the responsibility of selecting and implementing PPPs. This entity is supported by a division in the Finance Ministry, whose mandate it is to ensure that “there are no unforeseen contingent liabilities…which flow to us.”

“We will be working, also, through the DBJ and the Ministry, to help raise awareness of the PPP modality, in both the public and private sectors,” Dr. Phillips said.

The Minister said the Government is also receiving support from Jamaica’s multilateral partners in efforts to build the country’s capacity to implement PPP projects.

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), World Bank Public Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility, International Finance Corporation (IFC), and Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) have all committed grant funding for the further development of the Government’s PPP, while there is anticipated support from the United Kingdom (UK).

“The IDB, through its Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), has further aided the Government of Jamaica with a technical advisor to help operationalise the PPP units at both the DBJ and Ministry, and to assist with the implementation of a training programme for staff at both institutions,” the Minister informed.

He informed that key sectors for economic growth, which will be targeted for PPPs, have already been identified, and that the DBJ and the Ministry are “mandated” to review the feasibility of partnerships with the private sector, in these areas.

He indicated that as part of Jamaica’s economic reform programme (ERP), the Ministry has committed to develop a rolling three-year Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP) for inclusion in the budget, “where budgetary resources are required to support this programme.”

The Minister explained that the PSIP will outline the administration’s five-year infrastructure and investment programme, as part of the medium term economic framework. This aims to maximise the productivity and efficiency of the assets and resources utilised, he added.

“The intention is to invite private sector investment to develop and provide public assets or services that are acceptable within the framework of this programme. We need to ensure, not only better project planning…but also better project implementation,” he underscored.

Dr. Phillips emphasised that the government’s PPP programme aims to optimise the impact of limited public sector resources by utilising private sector methods and entrepreneurship inputs to achieve development targets in key areas.

Additionally, he said, it aims to facilitate collaboration with the private sector to create innovative mechanisms for the delivery of infrastructure services and other activities in which the Government has a continuing interest, “but which is not particularly well prepared to deliver on its own.”

This overall undertaking, he noted, will require Government and the private sector focusing on the areas in which they have the requisite competence.

“The goal (of the PPP)…coincides with overall aspects of our growth strategy which aims, among other things, to transfer management responsibility to the private sector for assets that are non-core for the Government, or for entities that would be better managed with private sector resources,” the Minister stated.

Dr. Phillips assured that the Government is also working with its international and multilateral partners to ensure that “we minimise the risks, both to the Government of Jamaica and the Jamaican taxpayers, and also to the investors by having effective meaningful project preparation, project identification, and smooth implementation.”

“If executed successfully, PPPs will facilitate economic development by increasing private sector investment and job creation across several sectors,” he added.

The two-day PPP conference, staged on February 19 and 20, was hosted by the British High Commission in Jamaica, in partnership with UK Trade and Invest, and the DBJ, under the theme: ‘Delivering Growth by Partnership – Sharing UK Capabilities in PPP’.