The Malta Independent 15 November 2018, Thursday

Updated: Government aiming to take public-private partnerships to next level through Projects Malta

John Cordina Thursday, 5 February 2015, 11:44 Last update: about 5 years ago

Through the establishment of Project Malta, the government is aiming to grant the private sector an unprecedented opportunity to enter into areas which were previously considered to be the sole domain of the public sector, according to Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.

Dr Muscat was speaking during a national conference whose subject was “working with the private sector: a strong economy,” and Projects Malta, whose establishment was set out in the 2015 Budget and which aims to develop the concept of private-public partnerships (PPPs) to its full potential, was a key issue.

The Prime Minister said that the project would “open completely new horizons” for the Maltese economy, but also noted that it presented an enormous challenge to the public and private sector alike.

He said that the hardest part was to create a new mind-set when it came to PPPs, noting that so far, they have been synonymous with two specific things: the embellishment of roundabouts and the provision of beds for the elderly.

Whilst stressing that these two examples have proven to be successful, he said that these were the easiest of options, but insisted that a higher notch had to be reached.

Earlier in the day, Energy Minister Konrad Mizzi insisted that the government, from the outset, strived to work with the private sector, including through PPPs.

In his own address, Projects Malta chairman Adrian Said said that the entity sought to serve as a coordinator, particularly since it was evident that even relatively minor PPPSs tended to involve various ministries and government entities.

He said that while PPPs were nothing new, their development had somewhat stalled in recent years.

The entity would be adopting an open-door policy, he said, inviting the private sector to come up with ideas to determine whether they could be developed through PPPs.

Dr Mizzi noted that there were a number of ongoing initiatives in the field, including the establishment of Trade Malta with the Malta Chamber of Commerce to handle the promotion of trade, a function which is currently the responsibility of Malta Enterprise.

The Royal Malta Yacht Club has also been involved in setting up Yachting Malta, which is set to spearhead a number of initiatives to upgrade Malta’s yachting sector.

But Dr Mizzi also stressed that collaborations in other areas were also foreseen, noting that the involvement of the private sector can improve the delivery of various public services.

“We wish that you will take ownership of these initatives… we want to take the back seat,” the minister said.

Economist Gordon Cordina argued that there were various reasons to opt for public-private partnerships, noting that while private sector activity is not enough to ensure that a country’s limited resources are utilised in the best way possible, the public sector had issues of its own.

 

He said that the public sector should not limit itself to taxes, expenditure and regulation to achieve its economic aims, and also observed that at a point when total investment was going down but government investment was on an upward trend, it made sense to involve the government in a bid to boost investment. He also noted that the government could not continue to invest at the expense of increasing its debt or deficit ratios.

  • don't miss