Public–Private Partnership in Zambia: The regulatory regime

The new dawn government’s economic agenda, as echoed by the new Republican President on numerous fora, is anchored on ‘promoting joint ventures’ between Zambians to drive economic growth. The trade and investment generated though such joint ventures will be the driving force for jobs, business opportunities and other related aspects of social and economic development.

Public –Private Partnerships remain one viable option where such joint ventures with Zambians can thrive. In this brief we highlight the regulatory regime for public –private partnerships in Zambia.

For any business interested in public-private partnerships, the go to statute is the Public –Private Partnership Act, 2009.

The Public –Private Partnership Act, 2009 defines a public –private partnership as an investment through private sector participation in an infrastructure project or infrastructure facility. In an era of constrained public spend on account of the meagerness of the public purse and increasing areas for its spread, public-private partnerships come in handy by unlocking private finances for public infrastructure. Other benefits of public –private partnerships include efficiency advantages from using private sector skills and from transferring risk to the private sector; potentially increased transparency and enlargement of focus from only creating an asset to delivery of a service, including maintenance of the infrastructure asset during its operating lifetime.

The Act is aimed at promoting and facilitating the implementation of privately financed infrastructure projects and effective delivery of social services by enhancing transparency, fairness and long-term sustainability.

The Act establishes a specialized unit and council as governing bodies mandated to promote and deal with public –private partnership matters in the country, general principles of transparency, economy and fairness in the award of contracts by public authorities through specific procures for the award of projects.

The Act further provides for the mandatory terms and conditions to be contained in any public private partnership agreement including the nature and scope of works to be performed, assistance to be rendered to the private concessionaire for the successful implementation of the project, procedures for review of the agreement, duration, compensation and other financial terms.

Though there is a robust public procurement procedure to be followed, the Act introduces flexibility by welcoming unsolicited proposals from the private sector for projects. Public authorities are mandated to evaluate these.

Built and Transfer (BT), Build Lease and Transfer (BLT), Build Operate and Transfer (BOT), Build Own and Operate (BOO), Build Own Operate and Transfer (BOOT), Build Transfer and Operate (BTO), Contract Add and Operate (CAO), Develop Operate and Transfer (DOT), Rehabilitate Operate and Transfer (ROT), Rehabilitate Own and Operate (ROO), Management Contract and Supply Operate and transfer (SOT) are some of the recognized public partnership arrangements that are recognized and can be exploited under the Act.

Though improvements can always be made, and are definitely welcome, it is safe to conclude that Zambia has an existing public private partnership regulatory regime in the Public –Private Partnership Act, 2009 which can be deployed and utilized for the enhanced joint ventures between the public and private sector.

Client Legal Alert – Equitas Legal Practitioners@2021
*This scholarly article is a general guide and does not contain definitive legal advice. Readers considering acting on any of the issues discussed should speak to their legal advisors before taking any such action. Equitas disclaims any liability whatsoever arising from acting on this article.

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