MUSCAT, JUNE 6 -
As many as eight public projects have been identified for implementation by the private sector as part of the Omani government’s ambitions to promote the widespread adoption of the Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) model in the development of infrastructure, as well as provision of public services.
They are among a total of 16 public schemes that the government is keen on seeing being delivered by the private sector via the PPP route. The objective, according to the Implementation Support & Follow-up Unit (ISFU) — which is monitoring the timely execution of economic initiatives conceived under Tanfeedh and other such programmes — is to ensure that priority public projects worth an estimated RO 2.5 billion are delivered through Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) by the year 2020.
According to ISFU’s newly released Annual Report 2017, eight public ventures have been earmarked for implementation by private firms via the PPP route.
They include a major affordable mass housing complex promoted by the Ministry of Housing, a Fruits & Vegetables Market at Al Felaij backed by Muscat Municipality, Central Lab Complex of the Ministry of Health, grain storage silos of the Public Authority for Stores and Food Reserves, a fishing port at Barka planned by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, and a Centre for Animals and Plants Genetic Resources promoted by The Research Council.
Of this list, four projects — notably the mass housing scheme, grain silo at Suhar, Barka fishing port, and Central Lab — have either already been awarded to the private sector or are in the process of being done, the Unit said.
Importantly, the uptake of projects under the PPP model represents a major triumph for the government’s efforts to promote the PPP-based concept of development, although a regulatory framework for public-private-partnerships is yet to be formally endorsed. That effort, according to ISFU, is ongoing, with a Royal Decree on the framework expected to be issued before the end of this year. Also in the works is a new PPP law, a draft of which is currently being reviewed by the Council of Ministers.
“The initiative aims to establish foundations and standards for the public entities to propose projects to implement through a PPP model,” said the Unit in its report. “For this purpose, the 9th five-year development plan was used as a reference to identify projects that can be delivered through PPP. The objective of is to deliver priority public projects worth RO 2.519 billion by 2020 through public-private partnerships. In 2017, the target was to have eight projects with complete profiles and make four projects ready to be awarded to private sector through PPP.” By the end of 2018, eight projects are expected to be approved under the PPP regulatory framework, the Unit added.