Professor at the Instituto Superior Técnico and former Vice President of the European Institute of Reconstruction, Carlos Oliveira Cruz is the co-author of the book “Manual of Public-Private Partnerships” with Joaquim Miranda Sarmento. In an interview with JE, he explains that the discussion about PPPs in Portugal is too ideological, which affects his assessment. It recognizes that the country has a lot of investment in PPP, but justifies that these are projects that “are not currently creating value for the country”.
How do you evaluate PPP in Portugal, since the first in 1994, with Vasco da Gama Bridge, until today?
PPPs in Portugal have very contradictory results. We have sectors and experiences that went very well, with great benefit to the state, taxpayers and users, and we have cases that went wrong. It is always dangerous to make global assessments when we have projects that have behaved very differently. In the transport sector, the case of Fertagus, the case of the Porto metro, which is not quite a typical PPP, but of subconcession, are cases in which one can achieve higher quality or the same level of quality at lower costs. We have other cases where this did not happen.
Like for example?
The water sector and the road sector. It did not happen for different reasons either. There are PPPs that worked worse by the partnership itself. Such as the case of the Barcelos water system, in which the Chamber was ordered to pay the concessionaire very high compensation. There are other examples in the water sector where PPP was poorly achieved, and there are cases where projects have problems, such as on roads where they were a set of roads for which we have no traffic.
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