Jamaica News: The Government is taking steps to deepen private-sector engagement in public infrastructure development through partnerships.
Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, says the Administration is being aided by the United States Treasury Department to build out Jamaica’s capacity to engage in an open, competitive and transparent procurement process, intended to accommodate heightened private-sector participation.
He said this is being facilitated through the Department’s Office of Technical Assistance, which is providing experts and resources for the undertaking.
The Minister was speaking during Tuesday’s (June 11) opening session of the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) Private Equity and Infrastructure Development Conference, at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.
Dr. Clarke said greater engagement of the private sector is deemed imperative, consequent on Jamaica’s infrastructure development requirements over the next 10 years, which will be challenging to fund solely from government revenues.
“Infrastructure spending is critical to growth and development. If we are to achieve what is needed, there is no doubt that we have to broaden the financial possibilities… to include private resources in all areas of infrastructure development, in water, sewerage, roads and highways, and bridges,” the Minister said.
Dr. Clarke noted the experience that the Administration has gained in engaging private-sector interest on several public-private partnership (PPP) arrangements, which he said the DBJ has executed “to good effect”.
These include the Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA) and Kingston Container Terminal (KCT).
“The competition that we were able to engender for the NMIA resulted in pricing that is very attractive to the Government of Jamaica. The new operators will be investing over US$100 million in the expansion of the airport… money that the Government would not have been able to find,” the Minister said.
Additionally, Dr. Clarke said instituting more open, competitive and transparent procurement processes to replace direct negotiated arrangements used on several key projects previously executed, which did not yield anticipated out-turns in all cases, should have a more positive outcome.
He contended that with Government’s capital expenditure having increased significantly over the last four years, “we all have a vested interest in ensuring that we get the best possible deal for the Jamaican people”.
“The way to be able to secure and to know that we have the best possible deal, is that we procure these services in an open, competitive and transparent way,” Dr. Clarke added.
The four-day conference, which opened on Monday (June 10), is being held under the theme ‘Delivering Economic Growth through Partnerships: Financing Regional Infrastructure, SMEs & Innovation’.
Source: JIS News