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National Council could reject PPP Bill

By Anna Salkeus
WINDHOEK, 16 FEB (NAMPA) – The draft Public Private Partnership (PPP) Bill of 2016 could be rejected by the National Council (NC), following recommendation from a select committee of the NC tasked to review the impact of the Bill.
The committee unanimously agreed that the NC should object to the principle of the PPP Bill, following public hearings that took place in the Kavango East, Oshana, Otjozondjupa, Erongo, Hardap, //Karas and Khomas regions from 23 January to 06 February 2017.
NC Member of Parliament (MP), Lebbius Tobias told Nampa on Thursday there are shortcomings in the Bill.
It emerged that regional councils, local authorities, tertiary education institutions, trade unions, the business community and public, who made submissions before the committee during public hearings on the Bill, were not consulted by the Ministry of Finance (MoF) when the Bill was drafted.
The ministry admitted during a public hearing in the Khomas Region last week Monday that only the City of Windhoek was consulted on behalf of other local authorities.
“The composition of the PPP committee was found to be highly centralised as it excludes the regional councils and local authorities, which are major stakeholders in the delivery of public services,” Tobias said.
He added that the inclusion of these bodies on the PPP committee was crucial to guarantee transparency and representation throughout the various processes, and ensure that checks and balances are in place.
Tobias indicated that the majority of representatives from the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) sector expressed great concern with regard to the future of SMEs in Namibia, because the Bill did not clearly provide for special protection for these enterprises.
The committee also discovered that although PPPs are promoted as a solution for countries that are under fiscal constraints, they worsen fiscal problems.
In addition, the enactment of the legislation could result in more financial trouble for the country instead of alleviating the current financial burden, the committee noted.
“It was further submitted that PPPs focus on profitable projects at the expense of the needs of the people,” he said, adding that PPPs are an expensive way of raising money and expensive debt in the long run.
The committee also highlighted that the establishment of the PPP Unit within the MoF while the Bill has not been enacted, is a matter of concern.
Tobias noted that the unit should have only come about as a result of implementation of the provisions of the Act once it was enacted into law.
“This approach from the ministry gives the impression that Parliament does not matter in the greater scheme of things,” he said.
(NAMPA)
ANS/CT/ND

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