EXCLUSIVE: Dubai’s digitised PPP platform ‘a game changer’

Industry experts have welcomed the launch of Dubai’s digital PPP procurement and management platform, hailing it a ‘game changer’ for the region.

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Announced last week, ‘DP3’ will manage all stages of PPP projects from feasibility studies, through procurement to operations.

All Dubai government entities will be able to use the platform, which will help automate and facilitate the development and execution of projects.

Graham Thomson, CEO of document management company Affinitext, which recently opened a new office in Saudi Arabia, says the platform will be “truly powerful and a game changer” if it is able to aggregate digitised up-to-date versions of cross-party PPP contracts, together with all asset data in an agreed digital format.

“Building on the UK experience of PFI expiry, and other global PPP experience, it is clear that quality data – a ‘single version of the truth’ – is vitally important to the successful construction, operation and handback of PPP assets,” he explains.

Thomson adds that today’s artificial intelligence is capable of looking across data and current legislation, lending all parties confidence in their contractual, statutory and asset compliance.

Jason Gouveia, Dubai-based senior associate at law firm Ashurst, has also welcomed the arrival of the platform and its potential to bring "uniformity and predictability" to the PPP process.

“Once stakeholders become familiar with the new system, procurement procedures across various PPP projects ought to be streamlined which should result in an ability for more efficient evaluation of proposals and implementation of PPP projects,” he adds.

Gouveia continues that the DP3 could potentially enable procurers and offtakers to attract a larger contingent of bidders from different jurisdictions if all processes are moved to a digital platform, promoting more competition in the market.

The DP3 will also enhance Dubai’s allure as an investment destination, according to Moustafa Fahour, Middle East COO of infrastructure investor Plenary Group.

“A paperless end-to-end process will help to achieve efficiencies and continue to grow Dubai’s attractiveness to international companies, like ourselves, looking to invest,” he says.

“We applaud the new platform, and are heartened by the Dubai government’s willingness to foster increased public and private sector collaboration in order to achieve quality, long-term community benefit via their public infrastructure programmes.”