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Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), James Robertson has said there should be greater emphasis on the use of public/private partnerships as a financing mechanism for infrastructural projects.
“In order to accomplish this, we need to put in place a formal, structured institutional framework set up within the Planning and Development portfolio of the Office of the Prime Minister dedicated to the delivery of public/private partnerships in Jamaica,” the Minister said, during his contribution to the 2008/09 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Wednesday (July 9).
He further added that the absence of a public/private partnership Implementation Unit at OPM “is one of the institutional impediments that we need to overcome if we intend to secure increased investments in infrastructure in Jamaica on a timely basis.”
“The role of the unit would be the development and design of infrastructure policies, establishing procurement procedures, establishing the rules of the game and enforcing such rules transparently,” Mr. Robertson said.
He pointed out that this unit would demonstrate the government’s commitment to private sector-led investments in infrastructure, even extending to social infrastructure, such as hospitals and schools.
“The role of the private sector would be that of providing capital financing (debt and equity), construction and operation of facilities and operation of services where the concession so provides,” the Minister explained.
Some of the priority areas that could be financed using the public/private partnership model are: physical infrastructure construction; health tourism; information technology/telecommunications; and non-bauxite minerals, such as limestone.