New Dubai PPP law: Canada wants to share expertise

After successfully implementing 236 projects through public private partnerships (PPP), Canada is keen on sharing its expertise in the field with Dubai government entities, the CEO of the Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships (CCPPP) told Emirates 24|7.

Mark Romoff

“We know there is growing interest in Dubai in the use of PPP for infrastructure and so we wanted to use the opportunity to explain our experience in this field and offer any advice that would be helpful as the emirate begins to develop its own PPP approach,” Mark Romoff said in an exclusive interview.

Dubai’s Law No. 22 of 2015 regulating partnerships between the public and private sectors (PPPs) came into force in November 2015. It applies to government entities that are on its general budget, but can be extended to off-budget entities with the approval of the Supreme Committee for Fiscal Policy.

One of the sectors likely to see the use of PPP model is the Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority’s Metro Red Line extension. This website did report earlier that the work on the Route 2020, starting from Nakheel Harbour and Tower Station to Expo 2020 venue.

The official’s visit mandate is to share and introduce Canada’s knowledge in implementing of PPP projects with government officials and look for possibilities of UAE investment in Canadian PPP projects.

Structuring the deal

Romoff, however, admits that at the moment the immediate assistance would be in the area of structuring the PPP approach.

“We have lots of experience and at the moment we are interested in just sharing this experience. So how do you structure it, how do you put out a call for expressions of interest, what are some of the technical, legal and financial issues.”

Forging partnerships

The official is hoping to strike partnerships between the UAE and Canadian companies and extending that partnership to third countries.

“In certain parts of the world, the UAE companies are much more knowledgeable and better positioned than we are. Hence, we need to partner with them to enhance the chances of success and vice versa.”

Best-suited projects

The CEO believes urban transit systems and health projects in Dubai and the UAE best suit the PPP model.

“We have got a number of urban transit programmes that use the PPP model… so that’s a very good area. Other transportation-related projects include roads, highways and bridges, while the health sector can be another beneficiary.”

Canada has implemented 87 hospitals or long-term healthcare facilities using the PPP model.

Seeking investment

Romoff revealed that the council was looking for participation of UAE financial institutions in their PPP developments.

“We are working with the embassy, the consulate and Canada-UAE business council… all these organisations are committed to building commercial connection. There are (UAE) investments in Canada for sure, but there are no projects that are being built together. We are hoping that this visit will stimulate more interest.”

Currently, there are 10 to 15 PPP projects active or coming up in the marketplace with costs varying between couple of millions to billions of dollars.

Dubai is impressive

When asked about infrastructure development across the UAE, Romoff said he was quite impressed with it.

“When I look around Dubai and Abu Dhabi, I am very impressed. Look at the infrastructure… look at the buildings. This is fantastic. So I know this is an indication of a thriving economy and strong capability to build things,” he asserted.