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Tuesday, 23rd April 2024
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PPP’s prospects further away ? Back  
The Minister for Finance edged the process of Public Private Finance a step closer in his budget speech, but in a direction that was not expected.

The Minister announced that ‘?12 million will be provided in 1999 to support the establishment of a public-private partnership which will build a new high capacity internet link into Ireland.’
Those involved in lobbying for PPP were somewhat surprised and disappointed by the ‘low-key’ mention of PPP. It is believed that this stems from the strong opposition that remains among senior civil servants to the concept.

The type of project which has been given the go-ahead is also somewhat surprising, ie telecommunications infrastructure. The report which was commissioned by the Government last year, to look at PPP was specifically given the remit of physical infrastructure, such as roads and schools.

It is understood that the Department of the Environment, and the National Roads Authority are in the process of setting up PPP units while the Department of Finance recently interviewed for the position of head of its new PPP unit. The Department of Education has also shown a strong interest, so it seems that momentum is gathering.

There is a danger though that PPP could be seen by some in Government as a ‘quick fix’ to the problem of infrastructural investment, but this attitude could do more harm than good in the long run if PPP is not given a chance to deliver realistic cost savings and benefits in new investment.

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