The recent approval of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Law includes provisions that might pose both opportunities and challenges. However, it marks a potential turning point in Jordan’s economic and developmental landscape.
Previous attempts, embodied in previous laws, aimed to expand the scope of partnership between the public and private sectors in various projects. However, the outcomes did not meet expectations. Hopefully, this new law will create tangible progress in the identified areas of partnership.
The new law is likely to open doors for the private sector to engage in sectors and economic activities that were previously inaccessible to them. This expansion could stimulate the economy by infusing new investments and innovative approaches into joint projects that the government might be hesitant to venture into.
Moreover, the effective implementation of this law could work towards breaking the prolonged economic stagnation that Jordan has experienced for almost one and a half decades. It has the potential to provide impetus for attracting new investments, stimulating comprehensive economic growth, and diversifying the economy.
Efficiently implemented, this law could create new employment opportunities that adhere to decent work standards. Consequently, it could alleviate the unemployment rates, which still linger at significantly high levels, particularly among Jordan’s youth and women.
However, the application of this law will not be without its challenges, particularly with regard to administrative procedures and taxes. The government’s commitment to streamlining bureaucratic processes and reducing indirect taxes is essential to create a conducive environment for private sector participation.
A point of contention revolves around the provision of public services as stipulated in the new law. We have previously, and continue to, express concerns that expanding private sector involvement in public services such as healthcare, education, and security might weaken the government’s role in ensuring the accessibility of these essential services to all citizens. These should be considered public services and a fundamental responsibility of government.
One vital aspect of the successful partnership projects lies in the integration of principles of good governance. While the law emphasizes the importance of this in certain articles, the regulations and guidelines to be issued under the law should delve further into accountability, transparency, conflict of interest management, and information disclosure, as these are essential components that need more comprehensive elaboration.
In the issuance of regulations and guidelines under this law, an important consideration should be giving preference to national companies when executing partnership projects.
The enactment of the new PPP Law signifies a significant step forward, and its successful implementation will heavily rely on the government’s commitment to creating a balanced and conducive environment for all relevant stakeholders.