Behind the false impression of sewage treatment boom
In recent years, with the increasing pressure of water pollution, the state's efforts to treat sewage have been continuously strengthened, and the water industry has ushered in the spring of development. Especially after the introduction of the "Water Ten", its trillion-level market demand was completely detonated. For a time, it was eagerly sought after by investors from all walks of life, which also transformed the water industry into a "new darling" for the capital market.
Taking Shaanxi Province as an example, as of the end of June 2015, Shaanxi Province has completed the operation of 118 urban sewage treatment plants, achieving full coverage of sewage treatment equipment at or above the county level, with a processing capacity of 3,915,500 cubic meters per day, and 3.176 million cubic meters per day The processing rate reached 82.7%.
Beyond the data, it is a leap in urban sewage treatment capacity in Shaanxi Province. In the assessment of the construction and operation of urban sewage treatment facilities in the country in the second quarter of 2015, the urban sewage treatment work in Shaanxi Province ranked among the top 5 in the country.
Usually, the sewage treatment fee is included in the residents' tap water fee and paid to the local finance. The sewage treatment plant directly invested and operated by the government declares the required expenses every year according to the operation situation. Sewage treatment plants operated by the government in the PPP mode are paid by local governments in accordance with established contracts.
However, the fact is that some local governments' arrears in sewage treatment fees have become "common". In the past, three sewage treatment plants in the eastern suburbs, western suburbs, and southern suburbs of Xianyang City were owed more than 50 million yuan in arrears. In May 2014, the Environmental Law Enforcement Bureau went to Xianyang for inspection again. As a result, "the local government is still in arrears with the company's sewage treatment fee for the year".
The main reasons for this phenomenon are management and technology. In terms of management, some sewage treatment plant operating costs are not in place, or rain and sewage are not diverted, exceeding the processing capacity; technically, some sewage treatment plant equipment runs for a long time, or is inherently insufficient during construction, and fails to meet the treatment standards.
Another noteworthy phenomenon is that the final sludge disposal of sewage treatment has been a pain point and a difficult point for the sewage treatment industry for a long time. In addition to the high cost of treatment, which makes wastewater treatment plants “stay away,” some municipal wastewater treatment plants are also inadequate in their ability to handle large amounts of sludge, which is also an important incentive for the “exceeding of the standard”.
However, behind the booming construction of sewage treatment projects in various places, problems such as the difficulty of landing PPP projects and irregular operation of enterprises have also plagued the development of the industry.
In the past two years, PPP projects have sprung up across the domestic market as a result of policy drivers. However, the industry often has another voice. In the process of project promotion, there are few high-quality projects and difficulty in landing.
The completion of the PPP project did not meet expectations. This phenomenon of "preferring and not calling for seats" has forced many social capitals into a wait-and-see state.
In this regard, some industry veterans have suggested that all PPP contracts, approval plans and procurement and subsequent implementation processes (including supervision and price adjustment) should be made public in a timely manner and accept public supervision. In other words, every scheme using financial funds should be made public, and PPP projects should be so as public projects. As soon as you enter the project library, all information should be made public.
The above-mentioned persons also believe that the disclosure of PPP project information is conducive to greatly reducing intermediate costs and to reduce injustice caused by non-disclosure and transparency. Once the information is fully disclosed, it will form a constraint on both the government and the enterprise in strict accordance with the contract, fully reflect the contract spirit, and prevent the breeding of corruption.
In fact, the key to whether the PPP cake is attractive depends on the rate of return and security, and these need to be guaranteed by a perfect mechanism. Only in this way can social capital have a higher enthusiasm. There are no shortage of PPP projects with a construction period of 20 to 30 years, showing the characteristics of large investment, long cycle and low profit.
Therefore, based on the judgment of value for money in the early stage, it is still necessary to establish a mechanism of benefit sharing and risk sharing according to the capabilities and responsibilities of governments and enterprises. Taking into account the benefits of the enterprise while safeguarding the interests of the public. Zhang Youyi believes that in the process of cooperation with the government, if companies can ensure long-term stable returns, this will increase their enthusiasm and attract more enterprises to enter the PPP field.