ALL legal disputes related to projects under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) Agreements will now be settled through the legal machineries should the house endorse the PPP (Amendment) Bill, 2018, today.
The new legislation also transfers the mandate of reviewing and amending the PPP agreements from the PPP Technical committee to the Minister or Attorney General (AG).
Finance and Planning Minister Dr Philip Mpango yesterday tabled the Bill for the second reading in the National Assembly, among others, proposing to amend the PPP Act to empower the finance minister to manage implementation of PPP policy, laws and regulations.
The PPP Amendment Bill, according to Dr Mpango, aims at addressing the legal bottlenecks under the current PPP Act for better execution of PPPs in the country.
Tanzania first enacted the PPP Act in 2010 and its subsequent regulations in 2015. Among others, the legislation established the PPP Centre and PPP Technical Committee, introduced the roles and responsibilities of the public and private parties and listed the contents of PPP agreements and competitive bidding for both solicited and unsolicited proposals.
In the proposed amendments, the finance minister has been given powers to exempt unique projects proposed by the private sector from competitive tendering process subject to fulfillment of some conditions.
Dr Mpango told the house that the proposed amendments seek to increase the magnitude of unique projects proposed by the private sector, which have value for money to the government, including projects that do not require government guarantee or financial support.
“The envisaged law further introduces provisions for consideration of local content matters in the procurement process,’’ he added.
However, he said after unsolicited proposals by private partners have been approved by the government, the latter will have to provide a commitment deposit of an amount not more than three per cent of the project’s total cost that will later be reimbursed to an investor.
This, according to the minister, aims at getting serious investors and potential projects that will bring value for moneyto the nation. Ileje Member of Parliament (MP) Janeth Mbene supported the government move to keep an eye on unsolicited proposals, saying many countries don’t encourage unsolicited proposals from investors.
She argued that there is need for the government to subject them to thorough scrutiny. The PPP (Amendment) further proposes for the PPPC Centre to open a bank account for PPP Facilitation Fund with Bank of Tanzania (BoT) instead of reputable investment banks as the current law requires.
But, some MPs opposed to the bank account with BoT, arguing that it was difficult to compel investors to deposit their money at the central bank.
The new amendments, according to Dr Mpango, require the accounting officers of the contracting authorities to submit quarterly performance reports to the PPP Centre to enable the centre to submit the consolidated reports from the contracting authorities to the minister with the view of increasing efficiency and accountability.
MPs started debating the proposed bill yesterday and are expected to vote for or against it today.