Kathmandu, July 8
The National Planning Commission (NPC), the apex body that frames the country’s development plans and policies, is mulling over appointing a member of the NPC as the head of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Centre. The PPP Policy, which was endorsed by Cabinet in October, says the PPP Centre would be located at NPC’s Secretariat. Based on this provision, the NPC had started conducting operations and management (O&M) survey to establish PPP Centre at its secretariat. The O&M survey, among others, helps in identifying the number of employees that an organisation requires to carry out its works smoothly and divides responsibilities among various staff members. “We have almost completed the study. We will soon finalise it and appoint necessary staff,” NPC Joint Secretary Gopi Nath Mainali said, adding, “The PPP Centre will most likely be headed by a member of the NPC, with a joint secretary of the NPC leading technical team.” As per the PPP Policy, the centre would be headed by an executive director and will comprise experts from government as well as private sector.
The main responsibilities of the PPP Centre, as per the PPP Policy, are to conduct feasibility studies of projects that could be built under the PPP model. It will also appraise procurement documents, and text of concessional agreements, also known as project development agreements, that the government and the private sector need to sign prior to implementing projects. The centre will also facilitate in designing, development and operation of PPP projects and conduct studies on good PPP practices embraced here and abroad. It will also work as a bridge between various government agencies and the private sector, educate officials of government agencies about PPP concept, and link potential investors with banking institutions to mobilise financial resources to develop PPP projects.
The government has long been trying to promote PPP to rope in the private sector in development of various physical infrastructure projects, such as roads, bridges, airports, hydroelectric and irrigation plants, and transmission lines. The government is showing keen interest on this front because 86 per cent of the projects initiated by the government have not been completed on time. This has not only caused inconvenience to the public but has resulted in cost overrun and led to development of low-quality infrastructure. In this regard, the government has already initiated the task of framing PPP Act and other relevant guidelines to implement PPP Policy and Act. Once PPP Act comes into effect, it will replace ‘Private Financing in Build and Operation of Infrastructure’ — commonly referred to as the BOOT (Build, Own, Operate and Transfer) Act — which, so far, has been guiding development of PPP projects in the country.