PUBLIC-PRIVATE TIES NEEDED FOR INFRASTRUCTURE UPLIFT
Mar 7 - 13, 2011
Improved quality and service coverage in power and water supply, sewerage treatment, transport and logistics are vital for Pakistan's economy and the livelihood of its people. Fiscal constraints require innovative approaches, away from the traditional role of the government as the service provider, to ensure that the massive investment needs are financed with the assistance of the private sector.
The government estimates that less than half of the infrastructure investment needs can be covered by public funds under the Medium-Term Development Framework. A combination of policy reforms, institutional support, incentives, and financing modalities are required to encourage private sector's participation in financing, constructing and managing infrastructure projects.
Experts believe that public-private partnership is an essential option for infrastructure development to augment government's efforts and resources for the development of the country.
According to them, Pakistan's structured programme in this regard will help private sector participation in development of infrastructure projects in the country. Coordinated efforts need to be taken by the Planning Commission for the promotion and development of infrastructure in the country.
Official sources say the government is committed to the principles of value for money and affordability for delivery of more, better, affordable and faster services to the people of Pakistan. A number of initiatives are already underway, including, environment friendly public transport (CNG Buses) service, Islamabad IT park, multipurpose water reservoirs, CBR automation project etc.
The government of Pakistan recognizes the public-private partnership as an essential option for infrastructure development in the country, there is a need to identify projects which can be launched under the public-private partnership modality to relieve the burden on the public sector in the immediate term, they said, adding: public-private partnership cannot be accomplished in a vacuum without the support of all the stakeholders including various government agencies, departments, private sector and most importantly the people of Pakistan.
According to Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif, development of infrastructure is of key importance for promotion of economic activities and accelerating the pace of development process and solid measures are being taken for this purpose.
He said mega projects worth billions of rupees are executed in the province that would provide relief to the people and leave a far-reaching impact on development of the province. He also said a network of roads is laid while flyovers and underpasses are constructed for providing better facilities of travel and transportation of goods in the province. Negotiations are held with various countries for the implementation of metro train project in the provincial metropolis, he added.
According to him, timely and quality completion of all development projects is ensured and third-party audit system has been made compulsory for transparent utilization of funds. A comprehensive strategy has been adopted for infrastructure development. In addition to construction of new roads, special attention is paid to the repair and widening of the existing roads.
Sagian Interchange and Thokar Niaz Baig Flyover projects have been completed in a highly transparent manner that have streamlined the flow of traffic and saved people from traffic problems.