‘Private PPPs, the way forward for Sri Lanka’

Sri Lanka is moving away from taxpayer-funded Public Private Partnerships (PPPs), which has been the norm, to privately funded PPPs - and a domestic Infrastructure Corridor Development plan within Sri Lanka will be promoted, Minister of Industry and Commerce, Rishad Bathiudeen told the Asia Pacific Business Forum (APBF) in Dhaka last week. He said the island is now trying to attract more private sector initiated PPPs rather than PPPs supported by the taxpayer’s money.

He said the government plans to develop most of the projects of the Megapolis city development project through PPPs. “Megapolis will be one of the major development projects to be initiated in the South Asian region.

The government also promotes PPPs in other sectors such as transport, energy, water and sanitation and irrigation.”

United Nation’s Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP, Dr. Shamshad Akhtar said, “PPP partnerships must go deeper and should focus on key areas of inclusive and sustainable development. The private sector can make profound contributions.”

“Research shows that 71% of businesses are already planning on how to engage with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Through delivering on the SDGs, the private sector stands to potentially benefit up to $ 12 trillion in business opportunities globally, which could create almost 380 million jobs by 2030,” he said. Over 400 high-level professionals from the public and private sector – including Government Ministers from Bangladesh, Nepal (in addition to Sri Lanka) - were in session at the two-day Dhaka forum which ended on February 9.

The Forum recommended that “specific areas of business related to sustainable development such as the role of business in disaster risk reduction, the need for governments to be assisted in energy infrastructure investment for a low-carbon future, and supporting trade and transport facilitation for regional integration.”

Minister Bathiudeen also held sideline meetings to promote Sri Lanka to Bangladeshi businesses and Chambers.

Launched in 2004, the APBF is an annual platform for regional public-private sector dialogue. Themed ‘Regional Integration to Achieve Sustainable Development’, this year’s event was organized in Dhaka by ESCAP with the Government of Bangladesh and the Bangladeshi International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).

The event was inaugurated by President of Bangladesh, Abdul Hamid. 

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