PPP Mais programme
The Ministry of Finance established a working group in 2015 to draft a new model for partnerships between Brazilian public entities and the private sector for the implementation of strategic projects of national significance. The working group's draft bill seeks to create a fast-track public-private partnership (PPP) model which is more responsive, efficient, flexible and transparent than the existing procurement model.
The draft bill, which is still under discussion, will create a programme called 'PPP Mais' in order to:
- promote changes to the existing legal framework in order to create an alternative PPP contracting model; and
- designate projects that may have a significant impact on national development and place them under the PPP Mais framework.
According to the discussions held thus far, both public and private projects of public interest may be characterised as projects of national significance and thus fall under the PPP Mais framework.
Opportunities for foreign companies
The working group has proposed that new rules be included in the draft bill to foster investment in strategic projects, including:
- authorising foreign companies to participate in all PPP Mais projects, including as consortium leaders (at present, if one of the consortium members is a Brazilian company, it must be the consortium leader); and
- simplifying public procurement proceedings by removing the requirement to provide:
- evidence of previous performance of similar works (for technical qualification purposes); and
- liquidity ratios, a minimum equity level or a balance sheet (for economic-financial qualification purposes).
In addition, any acts by the public administration or bidders during a PPP Mais public procurement process can be invalidated only where failure affects the scope of the project.
The PPP Mais programme proposes changes to the order of public procurement. The procuring authority will first analyse the bid guarantees, then classify the best proposal and finally review the qualification documents.
Further, the new programme proposes changes to the PPP contract model in order to reinforce the principles of simplicity, private autonomy and minimal government intervention. It is also proposed that government bodies with authority in matters relating to procurement projects be joined under a public consortium structure to establish timetables and overcome any obstacles to project implementation.
The draft bill is still being prepared and revised by the working group and reviewed by relevant players in the infrastructure sector. Once the draft bill is finalised, the government will formally submit it for discussion and approval by Congress.