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Bangladesh Turns to Public-Private Partnerships to Fix Infrastructure

Bangladesh is aiming to rely on PPPs to fund the expansion of transportation. (Photo by Jubair1985)

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is turning to public-private partnerships in an attempt to improve the country’s infrastructure. Hasina recently approved a law meant to streamline the legal status of PPPs and foreign financing of projects such as the expansion of energy utilities and public transportation. Officials have been working on the law for a few years, and Parliament is expected to implement it.

According to FinanceAsia , the law will “expand the definition and process of government procurement to include concessions. Currently the only legal basis for procurement exists for goods and services, which has proven insufficient for developing infrastructure using private capital and business acumen.”

PPPs, the marrying of public projects with private funding, are increasingly becoming the pointed-to solution by politicians managing governments strapped for cash. But many worry that PPPs can be risky for taxpayers and can lack accountability for private investors.

Syed Afsor Uddin, CEO of Bangladesh’s PPP office, says that he wants the deals — FinanceAsia quotes one businessman forecasting $100 billion in infrastructure investment in the next five years — to be transparent and effective. “PPP projects fail when there isn’t a proper feasibility report,” he said. “The last thing I want to do is issue a tender that is not thoroughly prepared. If I do, it will fail.”