Cash-strapped governments are promoting public-private partnerships (PPPs) as the panacea to delivering infrastructure in a time of limited public funds. In both developed and developing countries, PPPs have leveraged the role of the private sector in sectors such as health, education, energy and transport. While some continue to extol the benefits of PPPs and promote their use, many are beginning to question the risks and impacts of this model, including high costs to the public purse; a higher burden of risk on the public versus the private sector; harmful impacts on the poorest and exacerbation of inequality; a lack of transparency and accountability to the public; and overly-complex forms of negotiation and implementation.
So how would a country just emerging from years of dictatorship, still suffering many internal armed conflicts, and yet to build robust democratic systems, cope with the complexity and risk of PPPs? A new report looks at the questions surrounding the first energy sector PPP in Myanmar: the Myingyan Combined Cycle Gas Turbine project, built between 2015 and 2019.
To be able to weigh up whether the Myingyan gas power project is good value for money for both the government and the people of Myanmar, it’s vital to know the terms of the Power Purchase Agreement including the tariff paid by the government to the project developer, Sembcorp, for the electricity it supplies to the grid, and details of the risk-sharing between the parties.
However, this information is not publicly available. It is therefore impossible to determine the true cost of the project. In the Dark details how local citizens, journalists and international NGOs have been denied access to information by Sembcorp, by the Myanmar government and by the International Financial Institutions backing the project.