UAE to ‘prepare documentation to govern PPPs’

Documentation will be ready to be submitted to the cabinet by end of 2016 – Minister of Infrastructure Development


The UAE will prepare documentation to govern public-private partnerships (PPPs) by the end of 2016, as it looks to encourage more private sector participation in infrastructure projects, it has been revealed.

Abdullah bin Mohammed al-Nuaimi, Minister of Infrastructure Development, told reporters at a rail industry conference in Dubai that the documentation, which will be used instead of drafting a new PPP-focused law, will be submitted to the cabinet this year.

The documentation will regulate the agreements between the private sector and the government and “will give the opportunity to the private sector to be comfortable when they operate with the government,” he was quoted as saying in a Gulf News report.

With the UAE spending tens of billions of dollars on huge infrastructure projects, including on the expansion of airports in Abu Dhabi and Dubai and the Expo 2020 site, interest in PPP is spiking.

Earlier this year, Ziad Awad, regional head for the Middle East and Africa for SNC-Lavalin, said that tightening budgets and fiscal deficits in the GCC have led to an increase in appetite for the use of alternative financing methods.

“We see more will on the clients’ side, to work with the private sector in these critical times. Budgets are being squeezed because most GCC countries are operating at fiscal deficit. Basically, there is less revenue coming in and they need help to fund some of them,” he told Big Project ME in October.

Countries around the GCC region are promoting PPPs as a way to reduce pressure on state finances, especially in an era of low oil prices.

In 2015, Dubai enacted its own PPP law, which will allow parties to structure their project based on a range of PPP models, including models traditionally known by the private sector – concession agreements; build-operate-transfer (BOT); build-own-operate-transfer (BOOT); build-transfer-operate (BTO); and manage and operate arrangements.

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