In the last half of 2020, the Public Private Partnership Unit in the Office of the Vice President received funding from the United Nations Development Programme in Sierra Leone to develop a set of Regulations to facilitate the implementation of the Public Private Partnership Act of 2014.
The PPP Unit, with the support of the Office of the Vice President, went ahead to plan and organize a Consultative Workshop to elicit input from representatives of MDAs, the Private Sector and representatives of the media.
The overall objective of the consultative workshops was to ensure that the Consultant produces Public-Private Partnership Regulations, consistent with international best practice, to serve as a consolidated statutory framework that guides PPP projects, from initiation to execution. The workshop also served as a medium for sensitization and raising public awareness on the existence, mandate, scope, processes and functions of the PPP Unit.
Specifically, the consultative workshop achieved the following objectives:
- It shared highlights of the Regulations that will forthwith guide the PPP Process from project initiation, project preparation (feasibility study), PPP procurement, contract negotiations, project financing, project implementation and monitoring of execution.
- The workshop also took into account and collated the views of the participants in the consultative sessions These have been forwarded to the Consultant for her to see which ones can be incorporated in the final regulations document.
The above objectives were achieved through presentations, group work and discussion sessions. In addition, the PPP Unit provided the participants with draft copies of the Regulations.
Chairman’s Welcome Address
The Chairman gave the welcome address, emphasizing the fact that the PPP Unit is housed in the Office of the Vice President with a mandate to work with MDAs and local councils to explore the possibilities of working with the private sector to realize government development objectives.
The Chairman further noted that the workshop should ensure that the Regulations introduce a streamlined approach to promote, facilitate, and implement PPP Agreements and establish private partner selection procedures.
“Any investor will carry out full due diligence of the existing legal framework of a country to ensure that the legal environment is sufficiently attractive for it to bid for a project” he added.
It is therefore important to carry out a full review of all parts of the legal framework including regulations to ensure that there is nothing that prevents, or appears likely to prevent, the successful implementation of a PPP.
Statement by the Acting Secretary to the Vice President
Mr. Swaliu Jusu, in his capacity as Acting Secretary to the Vice President, expressed his gratitude to the PPP Unit for inviting him to come and speak at the workshop.
He underscored government’s appreciation of UNDP’s effort in ensuring the building and strengthening of private sector interventions in critical and essential service delivery to the people of Sierra Leone.
The New Direction agenda and the Mid Term National Development Plan he noted, are both geared towards varying forms of infrastructure development that seek to foster socio-economic growth for all Sierra Leoneans.
He added that the government welcomes the idea of strengthening the PPP regulations to create an enabling environment that will further strengthen the confidence of foreign direct investors and local private sector players within the Sierra Leone economy.
He assured the UNDP and other stakeholders of the full support of the Presidency in ensuring that government develops and grows reputable private sector players in critical sectors that would help foster a robust economy, create more jobs, address foreign exchange challenges and thus improve the GDP and ultimately, the livelihoods of all Sierra Leoneans.
Statement by the Team Lead for Economic Development-UNDP
On her part, the Team Lead for Economic Development at the United Nations Development Programme, Madam Tanzila Watta Sankoh, who deputized the Country Director, noted that Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) are now being actively implemented worldwide and that many countries like Sierra Leone are pursuing them as part of their economic development programs. She was emphatic that the role of the private sector, particularly in the infrastructure development of developing countries could not be over-emphasized. That said, successful PPPs, she continued depend on the effectiveness of the national and regulatory frameworks in place. She expressed hope that the workshop provide an opportunity to discuss and enrich the development of the PPP Regulations for the good of all Sierra Leoneans.
After the Statements and presentations by PPPU Business Adviser – Mr. Mohamed Abu Sesay and the Consultant, participants were divided into seven groups and were asked to go through specific sections of the draft regulations and provide feedback for the attention of the Consultant who would then incorporate the suggestions into the revised draft of the Regulations.
By the end of the workshop the participants registered their appreciation for being invited to contribute to the all-important PPP regulations. They confessed that they got enlightened about the PPP Unit and its work and were happy to have contributed to the finalization process of the regulations.