V naši zadnji študiji glede tveganj zaradi neizgradnje drugega tira Koper – Divača (DK2) smo pokazali, da je komercialno financiranje infrastrukturnih projektov (torej javno-zasebno partnerstvo – JZP) nekajkrat dražje od javnega financiranja. Razloga sta, (1) da je zasebno financiran projekt dražji (ni sofinanciranja z EU sredstvi, vprašanje DDV) in (2) da so stroški zadolževanja zasebnega investitorja okrog 2-krat višji od države. Zasebno financirani projekti so zato za državo bistveno dražji, kot če bi jih sama financirala. Res je, da javno financirani projekti zaradi slabšega nadzora težijo k preseganju začetne investicijske vrednosti (za četrtino). Toda, kot je pokazala analiza JZP projektov Evropske investicijske banke (EIB), je sama začetna investicijska vrednost projekta za zasebnika za četrtino višja kot za državo. S tem se koristi od JZP (bolj učinkoviro vodenje investicije) izničijo v primerjavi z javno vodenimi projekti. Ostanejo pa pa seveda bistveno višji stroški financiranja investicij.
Kot kaže zadnja primerjalna analiza učinkovitosti JZP projektov (Hall, 2015), so JZP projekti:
- dolgotrajni (povprečno trajanje pogajanj med državo in zasebnikom glede pogodbe o JZP znaša 34 mesecev),
- približno dvakrat dražji glede financiranja,
- njihova družbena učinkovitost je manjša iz vidika cene storitev in dostopa do storitev.
Pri forsiranju JZP gre za tipičen računovodski trik: ker naj ne bi bilo zaželjeno, da vlade povečujejo javni dolg za javne investicije, so ga države z uporabo JZP prestavile izven javno-finančnih bilanc, čeprav so stroški za proračun bistveno višji kot v primeru javnega financiranja. JZP je v bistvu prikrita privatizacija nekega dela javnih storitev, kjer se zasebniku podeli monopol nad izvajanjem storitev, hkrati pa ga država subvencionira.
Spodaj je nekaj odlomkov iz študije Hall (2015):
The modern version of PPPs, whereby the private company is paid by the government rather than by consumers, was invented in the UK in the 1980s, by the Thatcher government. The introduction of neo-liberal fiscal rules limited government borrowing, but the government still wanted to be able to invest in public infrastructure. PPPs were the solution, under the heading of the private finance initiative (PFI). Although the government is committed to paying for the investment, just as if it had borrowed the money itself over a period of 25 years or more, the accounting rules allow them to be treated as private borrowing, not public borrowing – and so the money can be borrowed without breaching the fiscal rules. The policy was also attractive to the Thatcher government as it was another form of privatisation, allowing private companies to profit from public expenditure, and requiring public services to provide profitable market opportunities.
PPPs originated as an accounting trick, a way round the government’s own constraints on public borrowing. This remains the overwhelming attraction for governments and international institutions. Just as companies like Enron had tried to conceal their true liabilities by moving them ‘off-balance-sheet’, so governments started using PPPs as “tricks…. whereby public accounts imitate the creative accounting of some companies in the past.”
For the private companies involved – the banks, the builders and the service companies – they represent an extremely attractive business opportunity. A single contract gives them a flow of income for 25 years or more – usually underwritten to a great extent by the government itself. The companies can lobby politicians to ensure that governments create PPPs, and renegotiate them as necessary during the long years of the contract. From the outset, the PFI was criticised from both right and left for being far more costly than using public finance, undermining services, and a ‘scam’ to conceal real public borrowing and expenditure.
Cost of capital – cheaper through governments
In 2011 a representative of the UK private companies involved in PPPs estimated that the average extra cost of private sector capital over conventional borrowing had been 2.2 per cent a year. The Financial Times calculated that this means that the UK taxpayer “is paying well over £20 billion in extra borrowing costs – the equivalent of more than 40 sizeable new hospitals – for the 700 projects that successive governments have acquired under the private finance initiative….”136 The gap is now larger, with the cost of PPP finance estimated as 8 per cent, compared with government bonds at 4 per cent. “The difference between direct government funding and the cost of this finance has increased significantly since the financial crisis. The substantial increase in private finance costs means that the PFI financing method is now extremely inefficient. Recent data suggests that the weighted average cost of capital of a PFI is double that of government gilts (bonds issued by the UK government).”
In August 2011 the parliamentary select committee monitoring the Treasury concluded that this was an expensive and wasteful way of financing infrastructure investment. They recommended not only that the PFI system should be ended, but also that the government should take over the financing of existing PPPs – effectively renationalising them – because it would lead to a large reduction in costs:
- “The price of finance is significantly higher with a PFI. The financial cost of repaying the capital investment of PFI investors is therefore considerably greater than the equivalent repayment of direct government investment…. Recent data suggests that the weighted average cost of capital of a PFI is double that of government gilts…. We have not seen evidence to suggest that this inefficient method of financing has been offset by the perceived benefits of PFI from increased risk transfer. On the contrary there is evidence of the opposite.
Vir: Hall, 2015