The Chief Justice, Georgina Theodora Wood has urged legal practitioners to adjust to the new legal challenges posed by the Public Private Partnership (PPP) approach to addressing Ghana’s infrastructure deficits.
She was addressing the annual general conference of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) in Ho under the theme, “The role of the Legal Profession in developing Public Private Partnership regulatory framework for national development.”
“In effect, legal education and legal profession must appreciate, even more the relevance of and interplay between economics, finance, project financing and execution and societal needs.”
The PPP as defined by the national policy document is “a contractual arrangement between a public entity and private sector party, with clear agreement on shared objectives for the provision of public infrastructure and services traditionally provided by the public sector.”
“As Lawyers, it is imperative, that we acquaint ourselves with this Policy document,” she advised.
Chief Justice Wood said “unquestionably there will be a strong need for lawyers who understand the principles of intellectual property, contract, regulatory and tax laws that apply in the process chain.”
She urged Lawyers to acquaint themselves with the draft provisions and make relevant input before it finally becomes law.
Chief Justice Wood said there were several PPP related laws in Ghana, mostly un-coordinated, creating uncertainties and inconsistent approaches to participation by the private sector likely to “affect the appetite of private sector partners to participate in PPP projects in Ghana.”
Chief Justice Wood therefore recommended that the draft PPP law must provide for “critical issues” as the definition, objectives, and guiding principles to be followed in developing its scope and application.
Mr Nene Abayaateye, President of the GBA, said Private Public Partnerships and other forms of co-operation between the private sector and national governments have been used around the world to develop.
He said as those who help design the regulatory framework for such transactions, those who prosecute, defend and adjudicate those laws, the legal profession constitutes the lynchpin at getting the public sector regulatory framework right and assuring successful PPPs.
Mr Abayaateye said weak regulatory framework, and high levels of corruption have combined to procure many judgment debts against the state in the fourth republic.
“The root of this national canker is political and bureaucratic behavior.”
He said systems that promote transparency and accountability must be designed coupled with a commitment to deal with the corruption by those in authority.