The UN supports implementation of public-private partnership in Uzbekistan
More than 20 experts from UNCITRAL, UNECE, EBRD, representatives of the private sector from Ukraine, Switzerland, the Russian Federation, and the Kyrgyz Republic participated in a workshop held in Tashkent to share experience in implementing public private partnership (PPP) and provide recommendations to partners in Uzbekistan.
Public-private partnership aims at attracting private investment in the economy, pooling resources and distributing risks for the implementation of significant projects in social sphere, infrastructure. According to the World Bank, over the past two decades, the PPP mechanism is gaining popularity and is now used in more than 130 developing countries, contributing to attracting 15-20% of infrastructure investments.
In Uzbekistan, the area where there was a need to introduce a PPP mechanism, has become a pre-school education. To date, only 30 percent of children have access to pre-school education. In his speech at the meeting dedicated to preschool education on October 19, 2017, the President of Uzbekistan outlined the need to improve the preschool education system management. To ensure the quality of preschool education for every child, the President of Uzbekistan noted the importance of expanding the network of non-government educational institutions, including non-state kindergartens. In other words, there is a need to introduce the mechanism of public-private partnership to provide children with preschool education.
An important stage in the implementation of PPP in Uzbekistan was the development of the draft law ‘On Public-Private Partnership’. The project was submitted for public discussion on the Regulatory Impact Assessment Portal. Taking into account the received comments and recommendations, experts are working to further refine the draft law.
However, the adoption of the law is only one of the components of the entire PPP implementation mechanism. To study the experience of implementing PPPs and the best world practices, UNDP, together with the EBRD, IFC and the Swiss Confederation, organized an international workshop in Tashkent.
“The UN believes that it is particularly timely now to get together on PPPs. For example, in the area of pre-school education, this can have significant development gains. Investment in early education and obviously education outcomes effect in the future decent work but it also can find more opportunities for women to be engaged in employment,” emphasized Helena Fraser, UN RC and UNDP RR, in her welcoming speech.
The UNECE expert Tony Bonnici noted that PPP should be people-oriented, not just profit-focused. Among the recommendations submitted to Uzbekistan, he noted the need for political determination. This means that policy level - ministries and deputy ministries – has commitments that PPPs should be developed in the country. In addition, it is also important to have a legal regulative framework in place and this legislation should be up to international standards. The reason is that this is like a message given by the country to the market, to the private sector that Uzbekistan is open for business and it is asking the private sector to invest in the country.
At the same time, the UNECE expert recommended training public officials on how to identify projects that could be procured as PPP and also how to develop them from initial, thinking faze into procurement and beyond.
UNDP piloted PPP mechanism in solid waste management in Yangiyul, in 2011. The implemented model of public-private partnership was later replicated in other cities.
Implementation of PPP mechanisms is especially important in the social sector, when budgetary funds are insufficient to provide the population, especially in rural areas with all types of social services. This is why UNDP Uzbekistan supports the implementation of PPPs in the country to implement the economic priorities outlined in the Uzbekistan Development Strategy 2017-2021, as well as to achieve Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the UN member countries.