This week begins the final stretch of the approval process of the Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) bill. A balanced and modern standard would help Panama in the task of attracting quality foreign investments while discharging a significant weight from the shoulders of the national budget and generating much-needed jobs in the current situation in the country.
The project approved in the second debate contains important weaknesses that must be addressed. On the one hand, the deputies were included in the board of the PPP governing body, creating a serious distortion that lends itself to political patronage.
On the other hand, restrictions on natural or legal persons convicted of corruption were eliminated. In addition, the PPP scheme lends itself to conflicts of interest and lack of transparency, by not including key actors such as municipalities or the final beneficiaries of the projects.
As noted by the Attorney General of the Administration, this project does not incorporate the latest international advances in the fight against corruption. PPPs can be a great mechanism to improve the quality of many public services. If good rules are not established, the integrated management of PPPs will be lacking, and they will become another missed opportunity.
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