Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Government reviewing draft bill to replace current Public Private Partnership Act

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The UPND government is currently reviewing a draft bill that aims to replace the existing Public Private Partnership (PPP) Act. The Ministry of Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development announced that the new legislation is being developed in response to identified bottlenecks in the current PPP Act.

According to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Danny Mfune, the new PPP Act will introduce a number of changes to improve the legal framework for public-private partnerships in the country. Among the key changes is the creation of a dedicated PPP unit within the Ministry of Finance to oversee and facilitate the implementation of PPP projects.

The proposed bill also seeks to streamline the PPP procurement process by introducing new guidelines for the selection of private sector partners. This includes the establishment of a pre-qualification process that will require interested parties to meet certain technical and financial criteria before they can participate in a PPP tender.

Another significant change in the proposed PPP Act is the inclusion of provisions that will ensure transparency and accountability in the implementation of PPP projects. The new legislation will require all PPP contracts to be publicly disclosed and subject to independent audits to ensure that they deliver value for money.

The government is optimistic that the new PPP Act will provide a more robust legal framework for private sector investment in infrastructure and other public services. Speaking on the proposed legislation, Mr. Mfune said, “We believe that the new PPP Act will create a more conducive environment for private sector participation in the delivery of infrastructure services, which is critical for the economic development of our country.”

The PPP model has become an increasingly popular financing mechanism for infrastructure development across Africa. By leveraging private sector expertise and funding, governments can deliver much-needed infrastructure projects while mitigating the risks associated with public sector investment.

However, the success of PPP projects depends on a well-functioning legal framework that provides clarity and certainty for private sector partners. The current PPP Act in Zambia has been criticized for lacking these key features, which has led to delays and disputes in the implementation of PPP projects.

The development of a new PPP Act is therefore a positive step towards creating a more enabling environment for private sector investment in Zambia. The proposed changes to the legal framework should help to attract more private sector investment and improve the delivery of infrastructure services to the country’s citizens.

The government has not yet provided a timeline for the passage of the new PPP Act, but it is expected that the draft bill will be subjected to public consultations and further review before it is presented to Parliament for approval.

The proposed bill to replace the current PPP Act in Zambia is a welcome development that will help to create a more conducive environment for private sector investment in infrastructure development. The changes outlined in the new legislation should help to address the bottlenecks in the current PPP framework and improve the implementation of PPP projects across the country. The government’s commitment to improving the legal framework for PPPs is a positive sign for the future of infrastructure development in Zambia.

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