Bissessar Regime to use Public Private Partnership initiative to deliver
‘Government will utilize the Private Public Partnership modality in order to deliver critical infrastructure and other high priority projects in a more effective, efficient and transparent manner‘, says Senator Vasant Bharath, Minister of Trade, Industry, Investment and Communications and Minister in the Ministry of Finance and the Economy as he delivered the Feature Address at CIBC First-Caribbean’s 2014 Caribbean Infrastructure Conference, ‘Driving Caribbean Infrastructure Forward‘ on June 3, 2014.
Speaking to a diverse range of government officials, investors, banking, engineering and legal professionals, contractors and developers, the Trade Minister stated that ‘public-private partnerships combines the best of both worlds: the private sector’s resources, management skills and technology; and the public sector’s regulatory actions and protection of the public interest‘. He noted however that ‘to work well as a balanced framework, PPPs require well-functioning institutions, transparent, efficient procedures and accountable and competent public and private sectors, i.e. good governance’.
He then outlined Trinidad and Tobago’s existing governance framework, which includes a PPP Unit established within the Investments Division of the Ministry of Finance and the Economy; a robust Institutional Framework; and the establishment of an Operational Guidelines Manual. He opined that the key challenges for utilizing the PPP modality should be addressed during the Conference; namely, capacity building with the Government and private sector; the mechanism in dealing with unsolicited proposals; and the accounting treatment for PPPs. As part of Government’s commitment to utilize this modality, the Minister of Trade informed the gathering that there are some eighty-eight potential projects, in five sectors, for implementation using the PPP arrangement; in areas including transportation, utilities, social infrastructure, accommodation and real estate.
His Address also outlined the soft infrastructure upgrades and developments in progress to support the enabling environment to facilitate trade and increase inward investments, stating that the Government ‘is in the process of rebalancing its portfolio of State Enterprise assets through initial public offerings and the utilization of strategic investors in selected state enterprises, as a means of providing greater opportunities for the private sector in the economy and generating revenue‘.
The two-day Regional Conference, hosted on June 3 and 4 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Trinidad looked at understanding how the public private partnership model should be used to unlock the full potential of infrastructure development in the Caribbean; with emphasis on its application in diverse sectors to generate greater efficiencies, and added value for governments and regional stakeholders.
Among the distinguished line up of speakers on the Opening Day was Mr. Rik Parkhill, Chief Executive Officer, CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank; Mr. Duane Hinkson, Managing Director, Trinidad and Tobago CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank; and Mr. Manuel Hontoria, Partner, Oliver Wynman.