…Policy Brief: Namibia’s Public Private Partnership Policy Analysis
There are doubtful perceptions around the effectiveness of the Public Private Partnership (PPP) policy of 2009 under the Ministry of the Finance by the community at large and the business sector. In these perilous times of water, land, drought and energy woes there is lack of constructive public-private interactions to resolve problems.
In this brief, I would like to zoom in on potential and viable policy options to recommend a panacea to this impasse and economical deadlock. The over-rated policy is underused and resembles a more theoretic approach with low power to diffuse the property and land obstacles. The biased PPP policy underestimated its right-wing nuance and exposed the city council’s chambers to the rich and well-off companies that benefitted from lucrative urban land deals.
It is far from its pro-poor stance, as it only attributed to low unrealized growth and development in Katutura and other suburban townships, comparative to how it expanded the giant-sized boundaries of the elite zones. It also enlarged the property wealth of land financing behemoths such as venture capital firms, land bankers, banks, insurance giants, unlisted property investments and international realtors, mall owners and retail chains. A vivid example is the lack of turnkey building projects in Katutura such as tourist lodges, conference venues, resorts, fuel stations, old shopping complexes and boxed in make-shift business parks. Clearly the policy is a weak link in the prevalent economic times.
Contrary to section 11 of the policy, there is lack of targeted black empowerment component in the policy’s implementation. The city sells erven to the public via three methods namely offer-to-purchase, auctions and the silent PPP. The other policies require bidding but PPP requires a proposal backed by financial injection from private entities. These hefty cash injections created systematic loopholes at the expense of equitable inclusivity for the poor and therefore fair land distribution efforts failed. There are many areas where small businesses were pushed aside by stringent regulations against them such as carwashes, incubators, street markets, etc. Also, in my analytical view, most properties erected under PPP were not affordable to the poor.
The policy states that the monitoring and evaluation of PPP deals would be made by the PPP committee and it is not much evident if the policy was ratified nationally with good monitoring and guidance, in most cases the criteria was abused and flawed and many property deals were sold to foreign-owned entities. As per section 14, the PPP committee is obliged to host public consultations frequently on envisaged projects and also have regional representatives from civil society.
There was also no funding to provide to the poor to take part in PPP deals, there were also no training units to help SMEs to take part in the empowerment initiatives of the PPP.A policy review is needed to achieve major targets in the Harambee Prosperity Plan for private inclusion, transparency, poverty alleviation, housing, etc.
Rodney Dan-Ao !Hoaeb is a Trade and Investment Researcher at the Namibia Trade Forum.