PPP Menu No. 1: To bundle or unbundle
Public-Private Partnership (PPP) involves a lot of choices. In the PPP Menu, the government implementing agency (IA) orders the strategy, project, PPP modality, selection procedure and form and amount of the contribution, among other “viands.”
One important viand is the constitution of the components of the PPP project—single component or unbundled project, or a bundled or multipurpose project. Examples of the first option would be a joint venture on bulk water supply, a management contract for the radiology department of a hospital, build-transfer- and-operate for power generation or a build-and-transfer of an evacuation center.
The reasons to unbundle projects, and not to bundle, are varied. One, the project may involve large capitalization and splitting the components would be more acceptable. Two, the market may be ready or is untested. Three, combining with other components may be unattractive for private-sector proponents (PSPs) or there might a dearth of qualified PSPs. Four, the IA has a limited mandate. Five, there could be political, human resource and social sensitivities if other components are included at the onset. Six, the law requires unbundling, like in the power sector.
A bundled project presents a combination or integration of several components or projects into one. There shall be multiple parts, embodied in one contract, offering several benefits to the public and more gains to the government, whereby one PSP, or a consortium, is selected through a competitive process. This presupposes that the IA has the mandate to pursue all the components/projects, and the PSP is eligible to undertake all the parts.