The PPP Office organized a seminar titled “PPP law: Broadening the Horizon for Development” in a city hotel on October 22, 2014. The seminar aimed to create awareness and highlight the existing development activity of PPP with focus on the aspects of proposed draft PPP Law which was being put forward for consideration by the Cabinet Committee. The Seminar was supported by the IPFF program who acted as the main sponsor of the event. The seminar was chaired by Mr. Syed Afsor H. Uddin, CEO of the PPP Office, Prime Minister’s Office. Mr. Mohammad Shahidul Haque, Secretary, Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs Division, Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs were present at the event as the Chief Guest and Mr. Abul Quasem, Deputy Governor & Project Director, IPFF Cell, Bangladesh Bank attended as the Special Guest.
Welcoming all the participants to the seminar, Mr. Uddin, highlighted that the event had been organized to provide an update on the progress of the draft PPP law and to provide an understanding of the legal rights and obligations and rights are set out in PPP contracts in order to protect the government and the private developer.
In the first key note presentation of the seminar Mr. Haque, provided a presentation on the scope and major contents of the draft law and shared his experience on the background and proceedings on the PPP formulation and adoption in the country. In his presentation, the secretary briefed the approach towards framing the draft law and mentioned the various schemes and features under the proposed draft law over the duration of the contract.
In the second key note presentation of the event, Mr. Dhawal Jhamb, Investment Officer of IFC presented the key features and provisions of a PPP contract and described the typical development process a PPP project undergoes. He specially highlighted some of the key contractual process that is set in the PPP contract to provide protection to the government as well as the private sector. Following the presentation he answered and clarified queries by the audience.
The key note presentation was followed by a panel discussion session moderated by the CEO of PPP Office. The panel members included Mr. Mohammad Muslim Chowdhury, Additional Secretary, Finance Division, Mr. Masur Reaz, Program Manager, IFC-BICF and Mr. AKM Abdullah, Financial Specialist of the World Bank.
Mr. Chowdhury shared the vision of the government on the adoption of the PPP program in the country as a priority agenda. He also shared his views on the PPP implementation challenges. Mr. Chowdhury mentioned that government officials need to appreciate the benefits of PPP which noy only allowed government to unlock private sector investment, but also enforced private sector experienced to be used to enhance efficiency of service delivery. He also mentioned that both public and private sector of the country need to have proper awareness and capacity building on PPP. He also emphasized that the MoF had recognized the challenges of financing PPP, in Bangladesh and therefore had developed different solutions, including the use of support like the IPFF, the development of IDCOL and more recently the development of BIFL. Noting the significant progress made by the PPP Office in developing the PPP pipeline, he highlighted that the funding solutions would have a key role to play in executing the successful execution of the projects.
Mr. Reaz particularly highlighted how the PPP law could be a driver for enhanced Investment in Bangladesh and how the PPP law might work in providing additional confidence to investor. As a representative from the donor community, he mentioned that Bangladesh has done very well in last 2-3 decades in promoting investment and has achieved admirable steady growth over the last decade. To enhance this growth rate particular emphasize was required on addressing the infrastructure deficit. He highlighted the role of PPP in reducing this deficit. He particularly highlighted the potential of Economic Zone (EZ) of the country to be developed under PPP model. He also emphasized the importance of the draft law and stressed how it would aid investor confidence in the PPP program in Bangladesh.
Mr. Abdullah in his speech described the importance of the VFM assessment for PPP and transparency in PPP procurement. He particularly highlighted the need for fast-track PPP processing and implementation. He also mentioned that the World Bank team and the board will evaluate the progress and achievements of the IPFF after the term of the program and then may plan for further support mechanism for promoting PPP in the country.
After the panel discussion the floor was opened for questions from audiences and the panel members clarified them all.