Dubai's PPP drive to result in multi-billion dirham projects

Dubai's strategic drive to promote Public Private Partnership (PPP) is poised to translate into projects and initiatives worth tens of billions of dirhams within the next few years, a top official from Dubai's Department of Finance (DOF) said on Wednesday.

Abdulrahman Saleh Al Saleh, director general of DOF, said that the increased awareness about the benefits that can be achieved in infrastructure development projects through the PPP model is prompting the private sector to engage in projects and initiatives requiring tens of billions of dirhams with the government within the next few years.

In March, 2019, the DOF allocated Dh1 billion for PPP projects in order to attract private sector investments, raise government service quality and reduce burden on the budget. This move, part of a second package of economic growth initiatives by DOD, ensures the optimal utilisation of Dubai's PPP Law enacted in 2015. Recently, the Executive Council of Dubai approved the PPP strategic plan and related initiatives for 2019-2021 presented by the DOF.

"We are continuously aspiring to enhance the financial sustainability of the public sector and provide stimulus for economic growth in the emirate of Dubai. In line with these aspirations, DOF is placing key focus on Public Private Partnerships aiming to leverage local and international private sector expertise, efficiency, and innovation," said Al Saleh.

He said that the PPP business model has proved successful in countries that have been implementing it for a long period of time. "Alternative financing serves as a catalyst and a conduit for the attainment of additional strategic imperatives such as economic diversification, foreign direct investment, encouragement of local entrepreneurship and industry, and the pursuit of sustainable economic growth," said Al Saleh.

He added that Dubai must deliver the infrastructure required to meet the needs of a growing population, and develop the emirate as one of the world's leading financial, touristic and commercial hubs in order to adhere to the targets set out by the Dubai Plan 2021 and the Dubai Industrial Strategy 2030.

Aref Abdulrahman Ahli, executive director of Planning and General Budget Sector at DOF, said that the department has established a dedicated PPP unit and is also finalising the formulation of operating guidelines based on best practices across the PPP procurement lifecycle and devising a uniform budgeting approach to managing PPP liabilities and managing aggregate fiscal exposure.

"Promoting partnership between the public and private sector is one of the main objectives of the PPP framework and can be achieved by bringing a shift in managing certain infrastructure and public services projects, from direct implementation, operation, and management to other forms of government involvement, including policy approval and quality control of public services," said Ahli.

"Objectives of the PPP Framework include the encouragement of private sector interest in participating in projects to increase investment in various relevant fields, by instilling of confidence in the efficiency, transparency, and integrity of the procurement process, as well as utilising the financial, administrative, regulatory, technical, and technological potential and experience of the private sector, among other objectives," he added.

Source: Khaleejtimes