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Tuesday, September 8, 2020 11:20:06 PM
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Pruning of PPP projects is sensible

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MEDIA reports on Tuesday said the Public-Private Partnership Authority (PPPA) - a special big infrastructure project execution body has decided to trim a good number of projects now in the pipeline which appears to be non-bankable or non-marketable. The PPP authority has initially developed these projects - about 77 so far to cost over billions of dollars investment since it was set up in 2015. But mobilizing international investment for them in the Post-Covid-19 situation appears quite difficult and in our view the decision to trim many of them, to focus on small number of good projects makes sense.  
We are not fully aware of the performance of the PPP authority except making long list of attractive investment projects. Its implementation records so far not enough visible.  We know in most cases powerful lobbies within the government promote such projects namely to promote private investment in public sector projects. But in reality it opens access for vested interest groups to big government funds to illegally benefit from it. Government leaders; bureaucrats and such other people always take such advantage by controlling contracts, procurements and taking expensive foreign tours for finding fund givers and marketing of the projects.
 In our view the PPP authority must take selective projects which are manageable in time. In the prevailing poor global investment outlook, reducing the number of such projects is welcomed.  Need no mention that our development planning has become totally tied to manifold corruption. The PPP authorities have not developed enough capacity to mobilize resources and implement so many projects. Core issues like land acquisition, opening of tenders and awarding contracts needs strenuous work and high level expertise. We must say the PPP authority must develop its capacity to deliver.
The setback suffered by Shaibal Motel of Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation in Cox's Bazar is terribly shocking as the report has mentioned. Its implementation remains stuck up for several years facing noncooperation from powerful locals.  Stalled progress of Dhaka Elevated Expressway Project is similarly shocking after nine years of its contract signing and now listed as PPP project. So pruning of less priority projects is a good step but more important at the same time is fighting corruption in government projects.

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