President Bashar al-Assad issued a new law regarding public-private partnerships on Sunday, January 10.
The law defines public-private partnership as a timed contractual agreement between a public sector body (which is defined as any state establishment, ranging from ministries to local administration units) and a partner from the private sector. As per the law, the private sector partner must have investments in one or more of the following:
- a public utility
- a project for the public sector body (for the purpose of providing a public service)
- any service for public interest to the body (or directly to the beneficiary on the body’s behalf)
The law defines a private partner as any local or foreign legal personality or group of legal personalities, and stipulates that a Syrian company can be formed when necessary to carry out a contract.
The new law stipulates the formation of the Public-Private Partnership Council to regulate partnership contracts between the public and private sector. The council will be chaired by the prime minister and its members will include the deputy prime ministers for services affairs and economic affairs, as well as ministers from the departments of economy and foreign trade, finance, and presidential affairs.
The council will be charged with approving projects covered by this law, rarifying studies, bids, contracts, and policies, as well as approving subsidies, rights, prerogatives for projects, and supervising the execution of projects.
The law also specifies the conditions for presenting a bid or applying for a public-private partnership project contract, how such contracts are drafted, the ownership of properties related to projects, and the details pertaining to the relationship between the partners in them.
In a statement to SANA, Economy and Foreign Trade Minister Humam al-Jazaeri said the law is a legal framework for regulating relationships between the public and private sectors and meets the growing economic and social needs in Syria, particularly in the field of reconstruction, rehabilitation, development, and expansion of infrastructure and vital projects.
Jazaeri said the law provides the private sector with the opportunity to contribute to economic development as a main and active partner, and also helps develop the public sector via the time-limited contractual relations with the private sector, adding that this law achieves an important thing for economic and social development, which is increasing the funding provided by the private sector to complement the state’s investments.
He also said the law will help improve services by benefiting from the private sectors’ capabilities in the fields of employment, maintenance, marketing, and capacity-building, in addition to reducing costs, completing projects faster, and providing new job opportunities.
This article was edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.