01 April 2016

Mauritius - National Assembly: The Build Operate Transfer Projects Bill voted

The Government will adhere to the best international practices and guidelines and it is in this context that both the IMF and the World Bank were consulted in finalising the Build Operate Transfer Projects Bill and their technical assistance were sought. The Build Operate Transfer (BOT) Framework will be applicable only to projects where the undertaking including the assets to be created will be transferred to Government at the end of the BOT period.

This statement was made in the National Assembly on 29 March 2016 by the Prime Minister, Sir Anerood Jugnauth, in his summing-up speech on the Build Operate Transfer Projects Bill Procedures and guidelines will be issued by the Procurement Policy Office to facilitate operation of this Bill by the Contracting Authority and other stakeholders.

The Prime Minister highlighted the crucial importance of greater investment in economic and social development. He added that during recent years, total investment in the country has been declining, particularly private investment and that it is clear that we need to create the right environment to attract private investments. 

He further pointed out that public investment is unduly constrained by the public debt level and to accelerate the growth momentum and employment creation, we will have to remove barriers to investment in public infrastructure. This explains the urgency for introducing the BOT Projects Bill, he added.

The Prime Minister underscored that Government is coming with this piece of legislation to ensure that local and international investors show interests in BOT Projects and participate fully in the building of expensive modern public infrastructure. By adopting a pragmatic approach, this legislation will be effective and result oriented. He expressed confidence that it will bring in the expected results.

Sir Anerood Jugnauth concluded by stating that the law has been formulated to make sure that all existing procedures and safeguards with respect to transparency and accountability are followed and even reinforced. He highlighted the following examples:

  • First, it is mandatory to obtain the prior approval of the Central Procurement Board before any Request for Proposal relating to a BOT project can be issued;
  • Second, the Request for Proposal must be publicly advertised;
  • Third, all bids received will have to be opened in public;
  • Fourth, the bids will have to be evaluated by the Central Procurement Board in accordance to its established rules and procedures;
  • Fifth, the Central Procurement Board will make recommendations to the Contracting Authority on the best course of action, including the imperative of ensuring value for money; and
  • Sixth, a copy of all BOT agreements will be tabled before the National Assembly.
Under this new legislation, it will be mandatory for Ministries to table copies of BOT Agreements in the National Assembly.

The Build Operate Transfer Projects Bill provides for a legal framework for the execution of public sector projects to be undertaken under Build Operate Transfer (BOT) agreements.

These agreements will make provision to grant rights to a private party to, among others, build, set up, own, operate, rent, lease and transfer the undertaking to the contracting authority after a defined period of time.

The Bill also provides for the setting up of a BOT Projects Unit within the Procurement Policy Office, and for BOT agreements to be laid before the National Assembly.

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