Ongwediva-The National Council Select Committee on public hearings on the Public Private Partnership Bill has been urged to consult the public widely and thoroughly before the house of review passes it into law.
The call came from members of public, public institutions, regional and local leaders as well as the private sector who attended a public hearing that was held at Oshakati yesterday.
While those who spoke indicated the bill has several shortcomings that need to be ironed out before it is passed, others feel the bill though good intentioned, the committee undertaking the consultations should continue until the public fully understand the intention of the bill as well as the benefits that they will get from its enactment.
Chief Regional Officer for Oshikoto Regional Council Frans Enkali, who made an oral presentation during the hearing, pointed at the bill’s powers being concentrated much in the minister responsible for its implementation and suggested amendments should be done in order to involve all other levels of authority at regional and local level where some of the PPP projects will be carried out.
Enkali observed there should be wide representation on the public private partnership committee which in terms of the bill’s current form is only composed of members that might only come from the central government or from Windhoek.
“Section 8 dealing with composition of the PPP committee should be amended to ensure that regional and local representatives are also on the committee before the bill become law,” pleaded Enkali during the public hearing.
Ohangwena Acting Chief Regional Officer, Phillip Shilongo, also mentioned the need for broader representation on the same committee.
“I suggest that chief regional officers select a representative from among their group to represent them on the PPP committee – chief executive officers from local authorities should also do the same,” noted Shilongo.
Regional Counsellor for Ongwediva Constituency Andreas Uutoni welcomed the bill, describing it as very good and urged the house of review to pass it into law without delay. “This is a very good bill because it will give benefits to the people,” noted Uutoni.
He believes resources such as land could be developed through such partnership. But pointed out the need to have specific tailor-made public private partnership projects that aim to deliver certain outcomes for specific sections of society.
“I believe also that our small and medium enterprise business will benefit when this bill is implemented, because they will be compelled to form joint ventures in order to do business in the form of PPP. That means the days of people doing sole business operations will soon be over,” noted the elated Uutoni while making contributions during the hearing. On the contrary Andreas Amundjindi, a counsellor of the Uukwiyu Uushona Constituency, does not agree that the bill has good intentions for the ordinary people let alone for Namibia.
“Currently we have a mixed economy but if this bill is passed into law it will take us back to pure capitalism which does not have the interest of people but only looking for making profit,” warned Amundjindi.
He expressed concern the bill will not benefit the people at all. However, he still agreed with other participants who mentioned that consultation of the public should be done widely, going to an extent of calling for proper education of the people about it.
The Public Private Partnership Bill tabled by Calle Schlettwein, the finance minister, in the National Assembly last year aims to provide a vehicle through which PPP projects are to be carried out.
Through such a law government will tap into a large pool of resources that the private sector has, in order to deliver needed services.
The bill further aims to create a public private partnership committee that will guide such union from the beginning of the projects until their ultimate delivery.