PUTRAJAYA, Oct 26 – More and more Commonwealth countries especially African countries are keen to implement Public-Private Partnership (PPP) undertaken by Malaysia in efforts to enhance infrastructure development in their own countries.
According to the Chief Secretary to the Government, Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa, who is also President of the Commonwealth Association for Public Administration and Manangement (CAPAM) for the 2014-2016 term, most of them showed interest in infrastructure development, a vital component in their economic development.
“They are looking at infrastructure basically, most of the countries are interested in PPP as a means to reduce public expenditure by encouraging more public sector participation. A lot of these countries have issues such as slow development infrastructure needs, utilities,” he said.
He also noted that it was not easy to adopt other countries’ models because they needed to look at the local situation such as their economic capacity, capabilities and also to consider response from public population. “Generally we have been engaging with many African countries through the Commonwealth Secretariat (and) in fact one the expert consultants in the World Bank as well as Commonwealth Secretariat is Malaysian,” he added.
In the Malaysian context, he said the government should not take all the losses because PPP is basically sharing of risks. Since Malaysia is a mature economy as far as PPP is concerned, he said the country needed to minimise risks which are not supposed to be borne by the government only.
“So the best side that can take most of the risk of course is the public sector, construction risk is not the government risk, it should be the private sector’s risk, but we saw in the early days of our agreements with some of them maybe construction when they face with risk the government have to come in and help them,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Public Services Commission, Bridget Jubilee Katsriku said Malaysia had done tremendously in terms of transformation in 2014 compared to 1998 when she was in Malaysia for the first time. “I think my country Ghana has a lot to learn from Malaysia especially in the area of PPP because we were informed that Malaysia was be able to get where it is today through PPP especially with reference to infrastructure development,” she said.
She said this would be the way for the countries to further develop especially with the current economic dispensation of countries where governments did not have the resources to do what they have to do in terms of infrastructure development. On Ghana’s development, she said the country is currently at the initial stage in terms of PPP implementation.
“Some of the challenges that we are having now with the civil society where the civil society is not allowing the government to go into partnership for certain projects under PPP,” she said. She also urged Malaysian entrepreneurs or investors to partner with Ghana’s government in promoting the PPP. Kenya also hopes to learn and collaborate with Malaysia to establish a PPP project to increase private investment in the country’s infrastructure across various sectors.
Newly-elected vice-president of CAPAM, Professor Margaret Kobia of Kenya said currently the country is at the stage of making policies and laws. Kobia, who is also the Chairperson for the country’s public service commission, said it was very important for countries to establish PPP and it required a win-win situation between the government and private sector to provide services.
“Therefore, I understand that PPPs in Malaysia are quite advance, in fact CAPAM is thinking of making Malaysia as the centre of excellence in the PPPs so that we are be able to learn how best the PPP can give value to public service in the Commonwealth countries,” she said. Working with the private sector through PPP programmes will be the right way to move forward for the Commonwealth countries, she told BERNAMA TV in an exclusive interview during CAPAM 2014 in Putrajaya.
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin earlier expressed Malaysia’s readiness to work with the CAPAM to establish a PPP Commonwealth Centre of Excellence. Kenya has a PPP unit in the National Treasury, responsible for overseeing the coordination of PPP projects. The country has seen a number of reforms aimed at increasing participation by the private sector in public infrastructure projects.