PPP framework – an opportunity in managing COVID-19 pandemic

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Paul Rex DANQUAH

The prevailing COVID-19 pandemic has exposed scrawny community delivery services and infrastructure undertakings, and in specific nonexistence of PPP projects, at all stages and all sectors in the Ghanaian Economy—with implications for governments, public service providers, and end-users.

While all germane stakeholders appreciate the significance of PPP agreed projects in boosting the public service delivery, government enterprises and programmes executed so far have often been ad hoc and focused on lessening the COVID-19 pandemic’s outcomes in the short term.

In many circumstances these covered, for example, government taking advantage of familiarized sustenance mechanisms under PPP arranged agreement as well as engagements between governments, private funders, and donors to come to attainable short-term solutions and circumvent pandemics. For instance, the Mr. Senyo Hosi led private partners collaborated with the government to build the centre in the capital to help manage and curb the effects of the COVID-19.

It is relatively palpable Ghana was not equipped for such a pandemic, particularly in terms of prevailing infrastructure and financial budget apportionment to manage the situation. In the above paragraph, argument was made early on that in order to control COVID-19 and make it to the other side, it was “all hands-on deck”. This comprised entities, technology experts, governments appointed officials, the private sector and – the focus of this piece – the health experts.

This article will focus on the health sector and impact of public-private partnerships during states of emergencies, illustrate the blurring of lines between the private and public sector and argue that while these partnerships are a necessary part of COVID-19 response, we must continue to ask critical questions.

For instance, it was only after the pandemic, we saw more partnership between the Nogutsi and government in managing the testing system for COVID-19. Could we see more PPP arrangement among stakeholders in managing the health system of the country?

But, one year into the COVID pandemic it’s well-defined we’re in this for the long haul. There’s now a prerequisite for the Akuffo Addo government to take steps that focus beyond the short term and permanently address the pandemic situation and future occurrence by focusing on infrastructural development.

It’s time to start planning and enthusiastically designing actions that will address the long-term repercussions of COVID-19 on PPP programmes. For governments this unavoidably includes taking a closer look at their current health sector project conduits and enabling policy, legal, and institutional environments and drawing an actionable plan that will address the COVID situation in the country.

A key relevant question to ask afterwards is, Are they fit for better mitigating future similar crises given the likelihood of PPPs being particularly affected due to their long-term nature? Do PPP legal frameworks in particular merit adaptation to enable greater resilience of PPP structures to external shocks? 

The way in which both portfolios and PPP frameworks are revisited will have an important signaling effect to the private sector and ultimately determine investors’ and financiers’ interest in re-entering markets in a post-COVID-19 in the country. Obviously various private investors would want to support the government to strengthening the health sector to be resilient to the effects of COVID pandemic.

Effects of COVID on emerging economy

Africa in general is challenged with a twofold supply and demand shockwave appearing in threefold sequential waves: first from the People’s Republic of China (hereafter “China”), followed by OECD countries (initially Europe, and now the United States), and lastly a likely intra-African wave from South Africa.

The weakening in economic activity and employment in 2020-21 will be examined by the enormousness and the tenacity of the shock of the three waves, the effects of pre-existing crises and vulnerabilities (e.g. conflict and fragility in the Sahel, or locusts in East Africa spreading to other regions) and the response by African governments and businesses.

A first wave comes from China through weakened trade channels and lower foreign direct investment (FDI) in the immediate term. By contrast with South Africa or Ghana, least developed countries such as Zambia, South Sudan and Mauritania do not have alternatives to China as a buyer, nor do they have viable alternatives to their commodities for sources of growth (Figure 1).

For instance, South Sudan was expected by the IMF to be the fastest growing country in the world in 2020, growing by 8.2%, but mainly due to oil exports to China (98% of its total exports). Investment projects will also be delayed or cancelled as the country of origins of FDI (Table 1) go through and recover from the crisis.

But we must also add that Ghana expected more than US$1 billion dollars from China for road infrastructure for exchange of the country’s bauxite, but the deal has been delayed by the COVID pandemic. Thus, it is important to look for opportunity in the midst of the pandemic to help accelerate the economy and creation of employment for citizenry.

An opportunity to build better for the future

In the midst of the pandemic, projects arranged under a public-private partnership are an essential instrument as it is evidently clear that governments alone do not have the financial and managerial resources to deliver the full range of services and expertise in the health sector and other sectorial areas in the country. These partnerships with private investors and donors are specifically needed when the pandemic at hand is one that necessitates innovative solutions and managerial expertise that can respond to the current, rapidly-changing landscape.

However, while public-private partnerships are imperative, it is authoritative that during states of emergencies and times of heightened reliance on the private sector, we continue to critically examine the blurring of lines between the public and private actors, the power dynamics present in these partnerships, and finally, the level of transparency within these relationships.

The COVID-19 pandemic increased governments’ dependence on the private sector. The resourcefulness of the private sector has occasioned in their amalgamation into public partnerships. For instance, the private entities in the area of technology has been able to assist the public sector in developing mobile-app to communicate with COVID patients, patient tracking, and protection of medical staff by reducing the number of patients who reports to the hospitals.

With the mobile-app you do self-checklist and advice will be communicated to assist potential COVID patients. Private entities also supported the COVID fund by supporting with various donations to the fund. Other private organizations also donated PPEs in their support to curb the pandemic. Lastly other pharmaceutical organizations in the production of hand sanitizers and PPEs. These are all short-term measures to help curb the pandemic. It’s time to start planning and enthusiastically designing actions that will address the long-term repercussions of COVID-19 on PPP programmes.

Conclusion

When commencing to strategically take actions for long term, the pandemic has created an opportunity to promote better PPP projects arrangement. We will indubitably discover vital lessons during recuperation phases that can improve PPP programmes. For example, we already know that short-term activities implemented by governments in the past one year happen to have been predominantly successful when they discussed with all important stakeholders prior to their implementation. They did well to organize the relevant organizations and ensure sufficient transparency and flexibility in applying these measures.

Importantly, the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis have highlighted certain critical aspects under PPP policy and legal frameworks that underpin the preparation and implementation of good-quality and sustainable PPP projects. To contribute to making PPP legal frameworks fit for a post-COVID-19 world, we therefore hope for broad participation from both public and private sectors, civil society, and the international development community in the consultations on the envisaged guide once an advanced draft will be available during the first quarter of 2021.

>>>the writer is a Researcher and Public Policy Analyst with considerable knowledge and expertise in Public Private Partnership, Leadership inspiration and Public Policy formulation. He is currently a Senior Management Consultant, Gimpa Consultancy and Innovation Directorate (GCID), the Consulting Division of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA). Contact the Author on 0205012686 / [email protected]

44 COMMENTS

  1. This is true the pandemic alerted the Akuffo Addo of infrastructural projects that’s going on currently. We all hope for the cooperation of the public and private sectors .

  2. Seeing how effective and efficient the PPP has helped in controlling the Covid 19, I believe that government should invest in implementing their long-term policies for Ghana to be able to control this pandemic and other likely break outs in the future.

  3. The economy has been stand still due to this COVID pandemic and many business sectors are facing crises, especially the private sectors so I think it’s time to plan and enthusiastically design actions to dress the long term repercussion of COVID -19 on PPP program ..
    This article is very helpful and I agree with the writer .

  4. The covid-19 pandemic has clearly exposed the Ghana government’s lack of preparedness to stand alone in times of crisis. The government heavily relied on the short term assistance and efforts of its public-private partnership to survive this pandemic. Going forward, it is clear that the government needs to form a clear roadmap and strategic partnership to forecast some of these unprecedented challenges that can overtake the nation and have the arsenals to surmount them just in time. Heavily relying on the efforts of PPP partnerships will be much more prudent if the long term relations are already in existence compared to this time where donations by impulse were the main stay. We hope the nation will move in a better direction and recognize the huge benefits of involving the private sector in strong economic decisions.

  5. The covid-19 pandemic has clearly exposed the Ghana government’s lack of preparedness to stand alone in times of crisis. The government heavily relied on the short term assistance and efforts of its public-private partnership to survive this pandemic. Going forward, it is clear that the government needs to form a clear roadmap and strategic partnership to forecast some of these unprecedented challenges that can overtake the nation and have the arsenals to surmount them just in time. Heavily relying on the efforts of PPP partnerships will be much more prudent if the long term relations are already in existence compared to this time where donations by impulse were the main stay. We hope the nation will move in a better direction and recognize the huge benefits of involving the private sector in strong economic decisions.

  6. This is very insightful article. I believe for this government or any other government to improve the standard of living for it citizenry, there is the need for partnership between the the government and the private sector in all sectors of the economy, from the health sector to agriculture. This pandemic ( Covid-19) has though us a lot as a nation, that the government can not do it alone.

  7. The article is one that seek to draw government attention to the need to ensure that there should be a strong collaboration between the private sector and government agencies to think outside the box in the midst of the pandemic ate hand. I am of the opinion that state agencies should come out with polices that will address the long-term solution in the economic front, the educational sectors and the health sectors in the country. this will call for the expansion of the health infrastructure in the country.

  8. It is very important to have partnerships from both institutions and the initiative will go a long way to help boost the success of socio-economic achievement not only due to the pandemic which happened unexpectedly but also in the long run to the development of the country In terms of infrastructure building and adequate delivery of services especially the health sector. Thanks

  9. The PPP projects is to help the public services delivery to help fight the Covid-19 better and this will help the country. This PPP’s framework was actually undertaken when COVID-19 came into existence and the projects has proven that, the government alone cannot battle the pandemic alone with it’s financial and managerial resources. This project served as an opportunity for the government with less of worries of how things were going to be handled and moreover, the future of the nation won’t be of much problem because even if the government cannot fix the country, stakeholders, private sectors etc can put their heads together and do something for the country.

  10. I think the pandemic is an eye opener which has made both public and private sector come together to achieve one objective which is mainly  the infrastructure and good quality service. This pandemic has revealed many weaknesses in our infrastructure and health care service. The government should look at it in solving the issue in a long term not short term. – Benedicta Johnson

  11. The writer has given comprehensive details on the challenges on the fight against Covid but also very quick to address solutions and the involvement of PPP projects.
    The writer has made an excellent submission

  12. I think the writer has really explained into details and given alot of suggestions for the way forward. It’s a really nice and interesting write up.

  13. I think the writer has really explained into details what needs to be done, and it’s a very informative piece.

  14. The government did a great job collaborating with the private sectors during Covid19 pandemic to fight against the spread of the disease and also to assist in the provisions of equipment ,facilities and funds.

    I believe the government can explore PPPs as a way of introducing private sector technology and innovation in a long term rather than in short term in other to provide better public services through well improved operational efficiency .

  15. In view of the aforementioned, for quality services to be provided to an entire population, there is the need for a PPP for effecient services to be delivered, especially in the health sector, where expertise could be drawn from effective services delivery from the private sector and a wide service delivery from the public sector.

  16. COVID – 19 is a world surprise pandemic which has affected every been situation , some countries did well to control situation within their country. With the information above you will able to tell how Ghana was able to managed her situation . PPP framework with stakeholder is very good solution to a surprise COVID – 19 pandemic. I therefore say that PPP did a very good job by helping is solve some issues in this deadly pandemic.

  17. This is a very a good article,bringing to light the facts surrounding the nations weaknesses and failures to handle emergency situations with the magnitude of covid- 19, revealing the dire importance of PPP engagement and coordination with the International Development Communities, this assertion was re-echoed on the 29th June 2021 by the managing director of ECCB – West African Business Unit, Mr Felix Go is when Coca cola made their third contribution of Ghc 3373,999 to Ghana covid -19 private sector fund and this takes their total contribution to Ghc745.955. The problem with the PPP is how funds are managed, in our part of the world, governments always mismanage such input, i think it’s about time we employed professionals to handle such funds.
    Truly, our weakened trade channels played a role in the covid-19 spreading in, definitely it didn’t relax only on China so countries like Zambia,South Sunday and Mauritania couldn’t have done much even with an alternative to China because the real issue is do you as a country have a strong trade channels, a strong PPP and link with the International Development Community to build good quality and sustainable projects to support and protect the people in times of such emergencies like covid-19.
    Indeed, this pandemic has given us the opportunity to build better for the future.
    Good work,Mr Paul Rex Danquah

  18. The nature of today’s economy makes it difficult for the government to do it alone so is imperative for the government to engage private sectors and individuals in all sectors of the economy to seek the progress of its economy
    PPP is one major way or aspect the government can use to enhance its development realize that short-term PPP is not something that will be beneficial to anyone or the economy so whatever PPP arrangement should not only look at the short term but rather focus on the long term, the short term might solve a particular problem at a required time. let ask ourselves can we transfer that same idea to other sectors of the economy? We should rather focus on a broad base thus a longer-term approach Secondly, in terms of consultation, we know that if there is a broad consultation with any stakeholder involved it has shown that whatever private partnership we have when it comes to implementation of sure policy or programs we have everybody buying and it works better. So in going forward is always imperative that we ensure the right stakeholders and consultation should always be done before implementing such policies

  19. Undoubtedly, there is a nexus between public-private partnerships (PPPs) and emergency response, especially as pertains to health in Ghana.

    Unfortunately, this nexus has not been fully manifest with an obvious lacuna evident as the rent COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the fore.

    Refreshingly, however, the COVID-19 pandemic saw the emergence of a strong partnership between such private institutions as the Noguchi centers and the central government especially in the area of managing the testing system for the pandemic.

    The government must begin to put in place structures that support long-term and permanent arrangements to ensure stronger collaborations with we’ll resource private entities to ensure effective interventions and sustainable solutions to health emergencies in the foreseeable future.

    By:Esther Dede Tettey

  20. One way in which government of Ghana seeks to accelerate investment in projects and private sector initiatives is through enhancement of the public-private partnership (PPP) framework, which enables the state to minimize capital costs and shift development risk and managerial responsibility out of its hand, Small and deprived communities wouldn’t have had Government support and developmental projects in a long time but Sars-cov2 has made it possible even though such project may not be properly planned for execution, covid-19 has made it an emergency for execution, in the same vein many private businesses has collapsed, in that, in situations like this era of covid-19 pandemic, only government businesses thrives leaving the private sector. Even though government businesses were to thrive, they were also not spared by the pandemic driving away all priorities to focused only on the health sector which is the only bedrock for surviving through the pandemic. In an example, Ghana expected more than US$1 billion dollars from China for road infrastructure for exchange of the country’s bauxite, but the deal has been delayed by the COVID pandemic focusing only on the effects and health needs of the country, in a similar way the growing economy of South Sudan has also been delayed.

    For instance, government wouldn’t have contacted the Mr. Senyo Hosi led private partners to build the centre in the capital to help manage and curb the effects of the COVID-19. And the answer to this question Do PPP legal frameworks in particular merit adaptation to enable greater resilience of PPP structures to external shocks? Is YES, because private sector is autonomous in it’s self and contribute greatly to the country’s economy in the area of taxation and employments, so it must not depend on government for survival, instead government must support to make it more resilience to combat similar future events, private investors should have confidence in supporting and investing in the private sector should government strengthens it to make it more resilient in the fight of COVID pandemic. Government wouldn’t have been hit hard by the pandemic if it had strengthen the PPP framework, since the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis have highlighted certain critical aspects under PPP policy and legal frameworks that underpin the preparation and implementation of good-quality and sustainable PPP projects, and as the writer wrote, to contribute to making PPP legal frameworks fit for a post-COVID-19 world, there must be broader participation from both public and private sectors, civil society, and the international development communities. Even though the private sector has supported in curbing the pandemic in the area of, donations to the fund and PPEs in their support to curb the pandemic and also hand sanitizers doesn’t mean that it’s in good standing, government must strengthen the framework.

    STUDENT ID 219010226

  21. Very brilliant write up long term measures like improving our health care systems to enable the country have control over COVID-19 Nd any similar pandemic should be looked at

  22. I find this article very interesting, it has broaden my knowledge about the concept of public private partnerships and how the public sector can partner with the private sector in an emergency situation.the way the private sector supported the public sector during this COVID 19 pandemic is insightful.

  23. This article has really touched on my argument of the country lacking so much health facilities. Arguably, the private sector is pushing harder to providing so much health care facilities than the public sector(government facilities) though I see it to be for a personal gains in the part of the private sector rather than it being a gain for humanity.

    The country could have sustained the damages the pandemic has caused if the PPP program had been taken as a crucial need of the country, aside the PPP program, government must prepare eminently towards the provision for infrastructures(health facilities), good and clean water to most remote areas and most importantly financial budgets for emergencies or unforeseen events occurring .

    I believe with this measures in place with the PPP program, the country (Ghana) is going to be better for all.

  24. After reading the report and carefully assessing it,it came to light that,it is important for stakeholders from both sectors to embrace private- public partnership and collaborate to make strategic decisions that will help in a long-term achievement. Policies must be implemented to create legal framework, that will help achieve a high quality and sustainable private- public partnership initiatives that will help manage and curb the effects of COVID 19 pandemic.

  25. The writers recommendations are a growth signaling push for a post pandemic economy to recuperate from the losses and challenges ahead

    PPP’shave been a tool government of Ghana has used over the last years to build the economy. It will not be a new introduction to the measures government has adopted over the years.

    However, the issue that continues to surround

    the validity and better-option candidature of PPP’s is whether or not as a country, our legal systems are ecofriendly in ensuring that we gain the most out of PPP’s agreements

    Ghana has suffered alot of judgement debts due to PPP’s agreements that have unfortunately strangulation governments objectives and defeated the purpose of the same.

    It is in my view that if Government will be in a place to extract the substantial benefits as pointed out by the writer through PPP’s then we must be in the place to be having a critical look at the ecosystem that governs such agreements and why they have failed to produce the best of outcomes over the last few years.

  26. Governments across the world are set up to provide services to its citizens, thus the huge population especially with African countries with minimal resources makes it quite a hectic task for these services to be provided to all citizens effectively.

  27. Eugenia .

    A combination of both government and the Private sector developmental goals have greater impact on improving the social and economic status of every Ghanaian. Comparing some health institutions wholly managed by government and that which is conjoined with the private (PPP) , the latter is doing reasonably better than the former. The latter are very resourceful and management of facilities have always been keen. All been said a better outlined framework with long term achievable goals driven by PPP will ensure the proper use of resources to grasps the opportunity Covid-19 pandemic has presented and even after post covid-19 pandemic.

  28. Public-Private Partnerships initiative is a good one and should be encouraged but the problem lies more with the government than the private sectors in the sense that it always result in short-term agreements and whenever there is change of government then the project is halted which causes financial loss to the government and as well as the private sectors. secondly, these partnerships should be long-term driven. Although COVID-19 came unexpected and if measures are set asides for all these uncertainties in the long-run there shouldn’t be any reason for government saying they don’t have money to provide good infrastructure and good delivery of service. in my own opinion, it is a good projects and should not be limited to just for uncertainties and its short-term plan. my name is Remmy Sheriff

  29. The odds in the pandemic has brought the best out of people and some companies, by making them innovative.

  30. The prevailing COVID-19 pandemic has exposed scrawny community delivery services and infrastructure undertakings. This article was useful helping us understand the impact on the health sector during this pandemic and how private entities have also been beneficial to the development of countries

  31. Student Index:219022712

    The article establishes a strong concern and need for consolidation between Government and the Private Sector in the fight against Covid-19,making references to Mr Senyo’s Hosi led private partners collaboration with government to build the Centre to help manage and curb the effects of Covid-19 and the efforts of the Nogutsi Center.Also the article succinctly exposes the languishing and blur line between the two sides depicting the lapses and deficits within the Health Sector suggesting that government addresses this situation with a long term approach by focusing on infrastructure development which might be the only feasible way to go.
    However,it is also necessary and important for the PPP to embark on a campaign on education on how to prevent the spread of the pandemic since that remains invariably the only assured remedy in the fight against Covid 19.

  32. In order to help curb the spread and fight against covid 19, all hands must be on deck. Both the government and the private sector. Infrastructures should be improved and increased as well as health personnel adequately trained and resourced to help fight the pandemic

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  33. This write-up seeks to bring to the fore, our short comings as a country, government, PPP’s and all stakeholders in the health sector in the midst of the covid-19 pandemic. It also laid emphasis on the lack of PPP projects and health infrastructure and it’s repercussions.
    It also highlights the effects of covid-19 on emerging economies, challenges posed to Africa and how Africa responds to the economic shocks and other pre-existing crises. The writer acknowledged the role played by individuals, private entities and pharmaceutical organizations through donation of cash, food items and PPE’s.
    The piece also touches on governments inability to bear it all. Governments dependence on the private sector, ceasing the opportunity to build a better future through more collaborations with the private sector through public private partnerships. The need to put into place, a proper PPP policies and legal frameworks and to plan strategically for the long term.

  34. The various impact of ppp can not be underrated on the Ghanaian health system during this pandemic from all stakeholders and putting in consideration the frame work fit for a post – Covid-19 word, but more work need to look at various agreement clauses in contract between the government and other stakeholders for a win- win negotiations so that as a country we will benefit as well. example is the contact be the government of Ghana and the company responsible for testing of covid – 19 on travelers at the Kotoka international airport.out off $17 million dollars only $1 million comes to the country’s coffers.

  35. On the other hand Private Sector is set up for profit making hence their services are always top notch and may cater for just a few that could afford.

  36. ABIGAIL ANGMOR Here

    This report focuses on the impact of covid 19 to the country and the various masseurs that were put in place to enable the county pass the bad times.The current COVID-19 epidemic exposed shabby community delivery services and infrastructure projects, as well as the lack of PPP projects, at all levels and in all sectors of the Ghanaian economy—with consequences for governments, public service providers, and end-users.
    While all germane stakeholders appreciate the significance of PPP agreed projects in boosting the public service delivery, government enterprises and programmes executed so far have often been ad hoc and focused on lessening the COVID-19 pandemic’s outcomes in the short term. In many cases, this included the government taking advantage of well-known sustainability mechanisms under a PPP agreement, as well as collaborations between governments, commercial funders, and donors to find workable short-term solutions to avoid pandemics.
    Ghana was clearly unprepared for such a pandemic, particularly in terms of existing infrastructure and financial budget allocation to deal with the issue. It was only after the pandemic that we saw improved collaboration between the Nogutsi and the government in managing the COVID-19 testing system. Could we see more public-private partnerships (PPPs) among stakeholders in the country’s health-care system?.However, a year into the COVID pandemic, it’s clear that we’re in for the long haul.

  37. The private sector is the part of the economy that is run by individuals and companies for profit and is not state controlled.On the other hand Private Sector is set up for profit making hence their services are always on point and may cater for just a few that could afford.

  38. Government needs to reevaluate its policies and strategies in relation to Private Public Partnerships in mitigating the impact of covid 19 on the economy, particularly the health sector.

  39. The PPP framework should guide governments and private partners through each step in developing a PPP, ensuring that projects are well structured and delivered in line with expectations. The PPP framework will achieve this by outlining procedures and decision rules for various institutions, and by ensuring effective public financial management and oversight.

  40. Very interesting, though this perspective article offers a proactive, collaborative, and strategic vision for health care ppps, Government attempt to meet their emergency needs should not be a short term focus. Government must focus on long term plan, a plan that will harmonize both public and private resources to combat and build resilience against covid 19. This must be the center focus.

  41. Indeed, there should be a long term plan to fight this pandemic because it has come to stay. Great piece!
    Very relevant in these times

  42. From this article, the Governments over-riding objective is to commence the planning and implementation of actions that will address the lengthy effects of covid-19 on PPP programs to enable continuity of public-private partnerships/collaborations to help manage the health system of the country by arranging projects and contracts with the necessary capital.

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