The directorate of Public Private Partnership (PPP) at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs in Banjul, in collaboration with the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), yesterday held a national public private partnership policy dialogue.
The policy dialogue, held at the Kairaba Beach Hotel, was supported by the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) on the theme: “Public Private Partnerships for Sustainable Development”.
The PPP forum served as a platform for dialogue between the public and private sectors, as well as other key stakeholders for better understanding of the PPP policy, and the environment, legal and institutional framework required for the effective and successful implementation of the PPP agenda to support the national development efforts.
The objective of the forum, according to the organisers, was to stimulate relevant discussions and to document different viewpoints from public and private actors on the important roles and benefits of PPPs in The Gambia to harness opportunities for economic and sustainable development.
Speaking at the forum, Alieu Secka, CEO of GCCI, said the session followed the landmark policy in 2014 when the PPP policy was launched.
This followed the discussions in the interim, to provide the various policies that would provide some partnerships, as to how they could achieve and implement PPP effectively.
Partnerships are the foundation for success, as they enable the government, corporate institutions and entrepreneurs to make continuous improvements by sharing with others to direct limited resources and capabilities to projects considered most important.
Bai Jobe, coordinator for the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF), said the EIF’s ultimate objective is to build the foundation for accelerated growth by enhancing the integration of the Gambian economy into the regional and global market.
As far as trade, industry and services are concerned, it was found out that such a dialogue is imperative and becomes a major driver of a planning, policy and a development programme.
“EIF is a government programme aiming to mobilise resources for larger aid to finance trade policy regulation, economic infrastructure, building productive sector, trade-related adjustment and trade development,” Jobe continued.
PPP’s role as a medium to demonstrate its ability to harness financial resources and operating efficiencies inherent to the private sector would go a long way to complement the government’s efforts.
In the last five years, the EIF government programme had been having consultations and giving support to the private sector, farmers in the groundnuts, sesame and cashew sectors and the GCCI, as well as processors, he went on.
The consultations had been very important because it gives the private sector a role to partake in trade policy making and implementation, he noted.
Also speaking was Momodou L. Bah from the Finance ministry, who said PPPs are critically important in meeting the challenge of sustainable development.
He said the high demand for infrastructure development, coupled with the pressures on national budgets is making many governments move towards encouraging the private sector to invest in infrastructure projects.
According to him, the government recognised these pervasive challenges and has, therefore, adopted a national policy to encourage the use of public private partnership as a means of leveraging public private sector resources and expertise to close the infrastructure gap, and deliver efficient public infrastructure and services.
The government recognises the use of PPP as a strategic mechanism for procuring, financing and delivering public infrastructure and related public services, Bah added.
“Our gains serve as further motivation for us to accelerate our efforts to scale up private participation in infrastructure in order to meet the development aspirations of our people.”
To achieve these objectives, he continued, the government would continue to adopt prudent fiscal and monetary policies to further enhance and deepen the enabling environment for private sector participation in infrastructure development.
“We call on all partners to support government initiatives for institutional strengthening and capacity building of relevant bodies for the scaling up of PPP as a major strategy to finance public infrastructure.”