Monday, September 28, 2020

PPPs praised as Bifm consortium hands over government offices

A leading asset manager in the country says he believes that there is a political will in government on the new model of Public, Private Partnerships (PPPs) as a way of procurement.

Victor Senye, the Chief Executive Officer of the Botswana Insurance Fund Management (Bifm), said in an interview on Friday after the handover of Plot 21 that the Office of the President briefed the industry on planned major projects that they could participate in. “I think there is that will. In the last meeting with the Permanent Secretary to the President, he outlined four projects for possible private and private partnership”, he revealed. The outlined projects that PPPs could work include the Walvis Bay Corridor, the Trans Kalahari railway line, Kazungula Bridge and the planned Botswana International University of Science of Technology (BIUST).

“This is a good opportunity for the pension sector to lend money to government which has a good rating and also stimulate economic growth,” Senye added.

On Friday a consortium, led by Bifm, handed over the P54 million building that houses Office of Ombudsman and Lands Tribunal that was executed through the PPPs model. It was delivered to the clients in the agreed period of 18 months and he added that the timely delivery of the project augers well for Bifm and the consortium as it delivered objectives intended on this partnership.

The Plot 21 Consortium includes Bifm, which provided the bulk of the financing for the project, Stocks & Stocks Botswana, which was responsible for design and construction. Others are Stocks Building Africa, which is the consortium leader of the building, and a local facilities management company, Outsourcing Botswana, which is responsible for the management and maintenance of the building through the life of the 10-year concession to 2017. Government of Botswana owns the piece of land.

Other projects that Bifm is involved in include the construction of SADC headquarters at the Gaborone Central Business District (CBD) and the planned upgrade of the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, although negotiations are still ongoing.

Ishmael Monkutlwatsi, the Chief Project Coordinator at the Department of Building and Electrical Services (DBES), noted that the model adopted for this Plot 21 was different from the conventional one where you sourced designers and contractors differently. He said this time around government decided to use this model of one stop service centre and was impressed by the fact that everything was delivered on time. “This is a procurement model worth considering by government for national projects”, Monkutlwatsi said.

Under this model, a risk is normally transferred to a party best placed to manage it. The objective is to deliver the public services in the most effective way while stimulating the private sector’s contribution to economic development, simultaneously allocating risk and return between the parties involved to ensure that the best interests of stakeholders are served.

Construction for the building started on 21 February 2007 a day after the signing of a deal between the consortium and government. Under the agreement, the government will pay a Consumer Price Index (CPI) adjusted rental for the next 8.5 years remaining in the contract. On the other hand, the consortium has an agreement and has an obligation to the hard maintenance of the building.

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Sunday Standard September 27 – 3 October

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 27 - 3 October, 2020.