One of the issues with public-private partnerships (PPPs) that Bankwatch has been drawing attention to for many years already is the lack of transparency around many of the projects. The most basic questions too often go unanswered, including why a PPP is being used at all, how much it will cost over its lifetime, which budget will pay for it, how much the private partner will earn, and how much a traditional public procurement project would have cost instead.
The World Bank has finally started to recognise this problem and has drafted what it calls a Framework for Disclosure in Public-Private Partnership Projects. A public consultation is being held on the document until 29 February.
The draft contains some positive elements but can certainly still be improved. If you’d like a kick-start in thinking about how disclosure could be improved in PPP projects, you might like to take a look at the recommendations from our report on the dangers posed by PPPs Never Mind the Balance Sheet (pdf, see page 48-50). The report was written back in 2008 but the recommendations are still as relevant as ever.
And don’t miss our website Overpriced and underwritten – the hidden costs of public-private partnerships with detailed explanations of PPP pitfalls, a bunch of case studies and a growing resources section.
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