Dear Editor – The importance and what will be the impact of public private partnership (PPP) development strategy as lucidly stated by former PPP consultant, Peter Forau in SS 7/5/2017, should not be ignored by both national and provincial leaders in the country.
In my opinion, the intention of the public private partnership (as a strategy) in order to implement year-marked projects of the national government in the country could be the answer to gaining trust and confidence from resource owners and provincial governments.
This is a way forward approach to developing the country.
One specific national project will need this PPP strategy is the establishment of the much awaited Special Economic Zones (SEZ).
When the national government declared its intention to establish the SEZ in 2015, the provincial governments were to be given the responsibility to facilitate the job under the SEZ proposed legislation.
I totally agree with the national government’s intention to engage provinces in the SEZ because this is recognizing that provincial governments are the rightful political entities (under the provincial government act in 1997) to carry out any national projects or development in the respective provinces.
I presume the provincial governments would be the public partners meant in the PPP strategy.
However, in my opinion the biggest challenge the provincial governments will face in performing under the PPP strategy to facilitate SEZ and other national/provincial projects is the requirement for the provincial Executive to sit and hear timber rights applications as stipulated under the forestry act (amended) 1999.
Records from all provinces should reveal that provincial executives would spend between 50%-60% of their governing time on hearing timber rights applications.
Observations and records will also show that the executive will be preoccupied with timber right hearings, because of the demand by logging companies and secondly the attractive sitting and other allowance which goes with timber right hearings.
Provinces are the second level of government for the people in the country and to spend time carrying out duties for mostly foreign logging companies is not a proper way to govern and deliver services to our people.
Timber right hearing in the province should be heard by a provincial Timber Right Panel or appointed chief Panel for each province.
The full cost to be met by the ministry of forest instead of Timber rights applicants paying to the provinces (a conduit to corruption in the logging industry).
The national government should meet timber rights costs. After all the national government benefits 25% export duty from logs whilst provinces receive 0%.
The way forward I am suggesting at this conclusion would be for the Democratic Coalition for Change Government to repeal the mandate given to the executive to hear timber rights Hearings in the provinces as stipulated in the amended Forestry Act of 1999.
This repeal would the “give and take strategy”- meaning take away the provincial executive role in the proposed SEZ legislation.
By “freeing” Provincial Executive of a Province from Timber Rights Hearings the provincial Government shall be able to concentrate and implement effectively the special economic which is yet to be implemented in the country.
Clement P. Kengava
Former Premier & MP