GOVERNMENT has proposed that the Public Private Partnership Unit (PPPU), which has in the last eight years signed concessional agreements worth US$1.8 billion, be a stand-alone statutory body to enhance the efficiency of the unit.
Commerce, Trade and Industry permanent secretary Kayula Siame said transforming the PPPU into a stand-alone statutory body will maximise the benefits of projects.
Government enacted the Public Private Partnership (PPP) Act in 2009 to oversee collaboration between the public sector (Government and its agencies), and the private sector (profit-driven individuals or corporate entities), to share benefits and risks in undertaking specific projects.
The unit, which was initially, department under the Ministry of Finance, is now under State House.
“It has been realised that the PPP unit cannot sit under a department because it has specific functions and requires specific skills to support it. We believe that the best is for it to be a statutory body,” Ms Siame told the parliamentary committee on economic affairs on Wednesday.
Ms Siame also said there is need to harmonise the relationship among public procurement authorities such as the unit and Zambia Public Procurement Author-ity by reviewing the provisions of the respective pieces of legislation.
She said the PPPU needs to embark on the preparation of relevant procedures, manuals and guidelines, for effective procurement and implementation of PPP projects in various sectors.
Currently, the World Bank is helping in coming up with guidelines and regula-tions, and building the capacity of different authorities and the PPP unit.
Meanwhile, concessional agreements of about US$1.8 billion have been signed under the PPPs between 2009 and last year.
PPP Unit director Henry Sakala said seven concessional agreements have been signed with the private sector in the period under review.
Mr Sakala, who appeared before the same committee, named the concessional agreements as the development of the Kaluba-Mwenda road, one-stop border and four schools and clinics in Luapula at a cost of US$210 million.
Others are the Zambia Air Force agreements with Shangrilla Investment, Datong Construction Limited and Drimtown Investments Limited to develop mixed real estate projects at a cost of US$1.4 billion and an agreement between the Copperbelt University and OptiQuest Corporation Limited to construct student hostels at a cost of US$104 million.
The development of the US$90 million shopping mall and student hostels at the University of Zambia is also one of the PPP projects.