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MUK wants gov't officials to enrol for PPP courses

By Agnes Nantambi

Added 11th January 2019 06:42 PM

Dr. Semwogerere observed that governments particularly those in developing countries run deficit budgets requiring them to partner with the private sector.

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The UPDF chief of engineering brigade, Brig. Gen. Sabiiti Mutebile looks on as the Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic Affairs Kakumba Umalu hands over a certificate to one of the graduates. On the right is the principal of the college of Engineering Design Art and Technology Henry Arinaitwe. PHOTO: Agnes Nantambi

Dr. Semwogerere observed that governments particularly those in developing countries run deficit budgets requiring them to partner with the private sector.

 
Makerere University has asked the government to consider enrolling its staff on short courses on Public Private Partnership (PPP) to help them acquire skills of negotiating infrastructural projects. 
 
The call was made by Dr. Keneth Semwogerere, the PPP course coordinator at the college of Engineering Design Art and Technology during the awarding of certificates to over 20  students who underwent a one month PPP course.
 
Dr. Semwogerere observed that governments particularly those in developing countries run deficit budgets requiring them to partner with the private sector to realise increased service delivery.
 
“Every year, we read a budget, but we cannot finance it sufficiently yet by law, governments are expected to provide services to the masses. The rationale is that money is collected in form of taxes and in return services such as roads and schools are expected," he said.
 
He revealed that 10 to 15years ago, Europe and Asian began getting into PPP for purposes of constructing the facilities and running them on behalf of government.
 
“Under this arrangement, government will look into the challenges encountered in providing services such as water and the private sector signs an agreement with assurance that all problems related to water provision will be addressed to realise effective service delivery," he added.

 The UPDF chief of engineering brigade, Brig. Gen. Sabiiti Mutebile looks on as the Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic Affairs Kakumba Umalu hands over a certificate to one of the graduates. On the right is the principal of the college of Engineering Design Art and Technology Henry Arinaitwe. 

 
Semwogerere observed that under the arrangement, the two parties involved must be aware of the entire process and the benefits on top of service delivery.
 
He, however, said as much as this is a requirement, many government officials lack the skills to negotiate the different agreements with the private sector which ends up into bad deals for the government.
 
“The private partner will take the mantle to know what is involved in the agreement, and if the government is ignorant, this can stem into problems and  proper service delivery will not be realised,” he said.
 
Semwogerere said Makerere started the PPP short courses to help government officials get empowered with the skills to negotiate deals.
 
“People do not understand the dynamics of what they call a public private partnership, ideally that means that even if you terminate now ,the other private party stands to win just because there is no formal training of people working  in partnerships. The university is starting to analyse issues in the country, analyse the problems that the country faces and start to get solutions," he said.
 
The course which started early this year with four students was aimed at improving private public partnership in the country, an avenue that government adopted to collaborate with the private sector into building large infrastructure projects.
 
The course involves two weeks of class and two weeks of research with a good number beginning to embrace it, with UNRA and UPDF having the biggest number of students.   
 
The state minister for finance Gabriel Ajedra during its launch said the course had come at the time when the ministry of finance did not have enough money to budget for huge infrastructures because they are very costly saying it was the right time to venture into PPP.
 
He said that PPP requires knowledgeable people with proven capacity to negotiate projects which will benefit the country.
 
The principal of the college of Engineering Design Art and Technology, Henry Arinaitwe said his college adopted teaching the short course of PPP because they wanted to satisfy the demand out there in respect to the new PPP law.
 
“Many people do not know about the PPP law and part of the course is to teach them about lateral and how can it be used to implement PPP projects," Arinaitwe said.
 
The Deputy Vice chancellor Academic Affairs Kakumba Umalu said the university will not afford to mess infrastructure where the government is incurring debts.

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