Manila Bulletin

MANILA, Philippines — British companies are keen on joining the public-private partnership (PPP) program of the government.

This gleaned from the seminar conducted by the British Embassy, through UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), on November 14-15 which featured experts from British firms companies who shared their experience and expertise in every aspect of the public-private partnership (PPP) program, including sustainable infrastructure.

The seminar was part of a trade mission with British firms keen on getting involved in the development of PPP projects in the Philippines and within the region. These are professional service firms dealing with transaction and legal advisory, project packaging and finance, infrastructure management and technical consultancy and similar areas.

“We have a wide and expert range of top quality British companies with experience of PPP right from the start – from the project design, the financing, the legal issues, to the delivery, the engineering, construction – to the end of the project, to the operation and management,” said British Ambassador Stephen Lillie.

The seminar gathered over 100 participants from industry associations, project developers and contractors, financial institutions and government agencies. The seminar featured speakers from companies including: PWC Professional Advisors Inc, P & A – Grant Thornton, Baker & McKenzie (Quisumbing Torres), Ashurst LLP, Pinsent Masons LLP, HSBC, Halcrow, Atkins Global, SERCO and Tony Gee.

They provided insights on many aspects of the PPP process, such as key issues in developing market PPP, risk management, key legal issues and considerations for foreign investors and financiers, critical success factors in the delivery of PPPs and sustainable planning and delivery of urban infrastructure.

Other UK companies who participated in mission activities included Arup, Gammon Construction, Systech, Pointer Ltd, Andrews & Wykeham, E & Y, and March Publishing.

Aside from the seminar, the trade mission delegates also attended a briefing hosted by the Board of Investments (BoI) with representatives of the different government agencies with PPP projects, and the Urban Forum 2011 of the Asian Development Bank.

For its part, the PPP Center is keen on engaging in a dialogue with prospective private partners from the UK.

Cosette Canilao, Executive Director of the PPP Center said, “We look forward to dialogue and to hear inputs and suggestions as we acknowledge UK’s expertise and experience on PPP and infrastructure in general. Our projects need experience and high-caliber professional service firms or organizations in the areas of infrastructure and development project packaging and structuring, financing and delivery, transaction advisory, consulting and other similar or related activities.”

Since the PPP program was launched and the PPP center was inaugurated, the UK government has worked supportively with the Philippine Government. This year, it brought in experts from the PPP Center’s British counterpart Infrastructure UK to engage with various Philippine Government departments, ran workshops with national and local government officials, and work with the PPP Center to develop a manual for local government on the application of PPP.

The British Embassy is also partnering with the Development Academy of the Philippines on a project to build the capacity of local government units (LGUs) in maximizing PPP opportunities through a series of workshops for government officials. The latest in the series is the one-day orientation-workshop for Region IV-A (Calabarzon) held on 14 to 15 November at Crowne Plaza Galleria Manila.

The workshop gave LGUs the opportunity to clarify the context of the PPP scheme and explore possible local PPP projects along with the identification of other services that the PPP Center provides. Cavite Governor Juanito Victor C. Remulla, Jr., Batangas Vice Governor Mark Leviste and Lucena City Mayor Barbara Ruby C. Talaga led the delegation of LGUs for the region. The orientation-workshop ended with presentations by each province on viable PPP projects, which will be developed later on into a full feasibility study with advisory and technical assistance from the PPP Centre.