News (165)

Privatization scheme bribery case ends with guilty plea on least serious charge

A series of criminal trials over a bribery scandal over a P3 privatization scheme ended last week with people admitting that $22.5 million in bribes were paid, but with no one being convicted of actually paying them. For those naïve enough to believe that the justice system does a good job of policing the privatization industry, it was a very bad week.

Source: PSI

Privatization is part of the ongoing assault on democracy

Donald Cohen, the executive director of In the Public Interest, warns that privatization is eroding democracy. “When corporations take control of public goods like water, transit, and schools, we give them the ability to make decisions that should be made democratically by us, the public. (…) Many ‘public-private partnerships’ take decision-making power away from the public, like Virginia’s Beltway toll lanes contract, which actually requires the government to pay investors if too many people carpool.”

Source: Medium

World Bank may invest in Belarus’ railway sector

The World Bank is considering possible avenues of investment in Belarus’ railway industry, including via public private partnership mechanisms. “The plans were discussed as a group of World Bank specialists met with top officials of the National Agency of Investment and Privatization (NAIP) and representatives of the Economy Ministry, BelTA has learned. NAIP Acting Director Denis Meleshkin presented Belarus’ first public private partnership project. The project envisages the reconstruction of part of the M10 motorway. It has already been approved by the government. A tender to choose the private partner will be organized as the next step.”

Source: export.by

“Treasury's Office of Technical Assistance helped governments strengthen public-private partnerships to finance infrastructure development”

In testimony before the U.S. Congress, Under Secretary for International Affairs David Malpass tells lawmakers that “in Colombia, Indonesia and Uganda, Treasury's Office of Technical Assistance (OTA) helped governments strengthen public-private partnerships to finance infrastructure development in ways that mobilize private capital.”

Source: www.foreign.senate.gov

CUPE NS calls for transparency legislation governing public-private partnerships

CUPE Nova Scotia calls for transparency legislation governing ‘public-private partnerships.’ “The recommendations are based on research and discussion coming out of a panel discussion on P3s and transparency held in Halifax on November 13, 2018. ‘We need to stop the drain on our finances, and one of the first steps we can take is to legislate disclosure in reporting how our money is spent,’ says CUPE Nova Scotia President Nan McFadgen. ‘There should be no secrets when public money is spent on public infrastructure and services.’”

Source: Canadian Union of Public Employees

New Sydney hospital boss quits

Northern Beaches Hospital, the newly-opened flagship of Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s privatization agenda for public services from prisons to technical education to health, stumbles out of the gate—and its chief executive has already resigned. It is a test of whether it makes sense to run hospitals as private-public partnerships.

Source: SBS News

Northern Beaches Hospital: “the public must be assured that Healthscope is not cutting costs excessively''

The Sydney Morning Herald says “the public must be assured that Healthscope is not cutting costs excessively or shifting difficult patients to other state-run hospitals or cross-subsidizing its private hospital business located at the same site with facilities designed for the public Northern Beaches Hospital. Equally the public will be concerned if a takeover bid on the share market now under way against Healthscope has distracted management.” The problems have been critical. Doctors at the embattled new PPP hospital “threatened to withhold treatment from private patients in a desperate move to force the state government to act on their concerns about the under-resourced facility.”

Kenya in major policy shift on support for PPPs

In a major policy shift on support for PPPs, government support measures (GSM) will “only be issued in very exceptional circumstances for projects that are considered strategic and that are of public interest”. This decision was taken after it became apparent that private investors under the PPP framework have been abusing the government support measures exposing taxpayers to potential losses of millions of dollars.

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