World Bank urges more transparency in PPP

By Ted P. Torres, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jul 14 2011 07:07 AM | Updated as of Jul 14 2011 07:04 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The World Bank remains interested in participating in the government’s Public-Private Partnership (PPP) projects despite concerns on their processes, including the multi-year forward agreements.

The multilateral financial institution has renewed its call for more transparency in the bidding process as well as the manner in which the projects are selected and the studies applied by government.

World Bank country director for the Philippines Bert Hoffmann urged the government to further ensure the transparency of the PPP.

“There are a lot of unexplored opportunities for the Philippines as the emerging markets are growing,” Hoffmann said. “But there are also challenges (for the Philippines) including ensuring further transparency in the PPP process.”

The International Finance Corp. (IFC) the World Bank’s private sector investment arm, had also said that if the entire process of the PPP projects is muddled, foreign private investors will stay away from these projects.

Meanwhile, BDO Capital and Investment Corp. Eduardo Francisco said domestic financial institutions are more than willing to participate in the PPP projects. BDO is among the financial institutions that have either participated in PPP-related activities or have expressed interest in joining the projects.

However, he said there remain a lot of grey areas. Among the concerns is the lack of protection for the financial institutions that will participate. Government is unwilling to issue guarantees nor is it willing to tap others as guarantors.

Francisco lamented that the private sector has been complaining of constant delays in the studies submitted regarding the PPP projects.

“That has forced the private sector financial institutions to rely on the private sector initiated feasibility studies over the proponents,” he added.