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Public Policy Forum to focus on challenges in public-private partnerships

Event to be held next week to bring together investors, entrepreneurs, academics

Gulf News

Dubai: The Dubai government will be looking to boost public-private partnerships (PPP) as means of driving economic growth at the UAE Public Policy Forum, taking place next week.

The forum will be held under the theme of ‘Shaping the future of Public Private Partnership’ and will bring together investors, entrepreneurs, and researchers from various sectors including healthcare, education, and transport.

“The unspoken thing about PPP is often the risk. We paint a very rosy picture about PPP’s role in advancing goals, reducing procurement time, making it efficient, reducing funding from the government, but there are risks associated with those contracts if they don’t work.

“Ultimately, we’re delivering services to the public, and if that doesn’t happen, who assumes that risk? So, there’s the idea of accountability,” said Racquel Warner, who works in education policy at the Mohammad Bin Rashid School of Government, the organisers behind the policy forum.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Warner said that the forum will look at some of these risks in PPP so that public and private organisations in Dubai can mitigate them in their partnerships. The event will also address challenges in PPP, and how to address them.

Such risks in those partnerships include financial losses for either party or if a project doesn’t get completed.

“The government is accountable to the public to provide services, so if the government chooses a partner, and for some reason, they’re not able to deliver, is the government still responsible or is the private partner? It’s trying to define who takes responsibility. One of the things we’re doing is looking at the contracts, how they’re written with the PPP law of Dubai in mind,” Warner said.

In late 2015, Dubai’s government passed a public-private partnership law, providing a legal framework for public and private companies to enter into partnership deals.