Saturday, July 12, 2008

Dr Kapoor urges govt to broaden PPP concept

Dr Kapoor urges govt to broaden PPP concept
By Kabanda Chulu
Saturday July 12, 2008 [04:00]

WORLD Bank Zambia manager Dr Kapil Kapoor has urged the government to broaden the public-private-partnership (PPP) concept away from the mines to involve other sectors of the economy. Commenting on the slow implementation of various projects that the government has planned to carry out under PPP, Dr Kapoor said the Zambian government must ensure that there was a conducive and enabling environment for the concept to work. He said the government was serious and committed to PPP and notable progress had been seen in the health and education sectors.

"But most of the PPP concept is with the mining industry and as much as we understand the government's commitment, the environment should be enabling because even with seriousness, you cannot attract any investment," Dr Kapoor said.

"Hence government should do more and broaden the PPP concept to involve other viable sectors of the economy, especially those with potential to alleviate poverty."

Dr Kapoor said there was need to continually address the cost of doing business because Zambia would not attract huge investment if the environment was not conducive.

Recently, the government made several pronouncements relating to PPP but many Greenfield (new) projects have failed to take place and the PPP concept is only working well with the mining sector, partly because the entities were already established when the private sector were invited to participate.

Also, through the defunct ZCCM conglomerate, the government lacked capacity to inject millions of dollars needed to recapitalise the mines.

Some notable projects under the PPP that have failed to take off or have completely stalled include the Zambia-China Mulungushi Textiles with Chinese investors and the much talked about Itezhi-Tezhi hydro power project with the Tata Group of India.

Also through the ministry of energy, the government is showing indications of developing the proposed Kafue Gorge Lower power project alone despite making pronouncements that the private sector should be involved.

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