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Nicaragua's national assembly unanimously approved a law to regulate public-private partnerships (PPP) for infrastructure and service projects.
The bill was submitted for immediate approval to congress on September 23, after President Daniel Ortega deemed it a matter of public interest. The bill had been developed by the government in coordination with the private sector for over two years in an attempt to promote local and foreign investment in the Central American country.
The law will regulate the planning, contracting, financing, execution, operation and termination of projects developed under a PPP model, according to a statement released by the assembly.
Through this law, private companies will be able to present infrastructure projects, along with their respective feasibility assessments, before the Nicaraguan government for review in order to be considered for as participants in PPP projects.
The law aims to make it more attractive for private companies to participate in PPP projects by offering them sustainability and legal security, which includes financing and compensation. In turn, companies must present socially responsible projects that are environmentally sustainable and offer job security and competitiveness, reads the assembly's statement.
Projects carried out under the new PPP law might be declared works of public interest at the government's own discretion. The law will come into effect once published in the country's official gazette.
The date of submission of the PPP bill coincided with the approval of a bill calling for economic sanctions against Nicaragua in the US congress, which claims the Ortega administration has been restricting free elections and curbing political freedoms. The bill is now in the US senate.