For it is in giving that we receive.(St Francis of Assisi)
A big thank you to our clients for the opportunity to work on very interesting projects during 2019. In a sentence, it has been a year of electrification, explosives, timber, leases, water, telecommunications, free zones, customs and trade across Papua New Guinea, Saudi Arabia and Australia.
Personally, I have been blessed to work some very smart people who have generously shared their experience, skills, talents and good humour in these projects.
Wishing everyone all the very best over the holiday season.
Work with Maxwell Stamp colleagues continues in Saudi Arabia. Gene Tunny and I got a great view of the significant changes occurring right now in downtown Riyadh, including the construction of the city’s USD22.5 billion metro (176km of track and 85 stations). We are on the Sky Bridge at the Kingdom Center, one hundred floors above the city.
Intra regional trade and the effectiveness of 147 active zones (economic, industrial and free) in the Middle East will be under consideration by Lytton Advisory. The firm has been given a mandate to develop advice for the Gulf Cooperative Council Secretariat on the next phase of closer economic cooperation between member states. This will involve a baseline review of existing economic zones, careful analysis of customs arrangements between Gulf states, an examination of World Trade Organisation implications and economic modelling of preferred solutions. Lytton Advisory is looking forward to working with colleagues from Maxwell Stamp in the Middle East, building on engagements in the region over the past three years.
Craig Lawrence has three decades of experience as a professional economist and has advised on a wide range of infrastructure projects in Australia, the Pacific, and the Middle East. Part 2 of our conversation covers, among other things:
public private partnerships or PPPs, their pros and their cons;
challenges in infrastructure provision in emerging economies;
the merits of quasi-independent infrastructure advisory bodies such as Infrastructure Australia and Building Queensland; and
the geopolitics of infrastructure (e.g. Chinese takeover of a Sri Lankan port, Australia blocking Huawei’s involvement in 5G infrastructure, and the 99-year leasing out of Darwin port to a Chinese company).
Thanks to Gene Tunny, Principal at Adept Economics, for inviting me onto his new podcast series – Economics Explained. We discussed the nature of infrastructure, the services these assets supply and how good economic analysis helps select better infrastructure projects. Gene and I have collaborated on a number of projects over the last two years. He is a leading independent economist who blogs regularly at queenslandeconomywatch.com.
Today marks the sixth anniversary of Lytton Advisory as an independent economic consulting practice. Over that time, we have worked on a wide range of economic issues. This has taken us to places as diverse as the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
We have never lost our enthusiasm for helping clients make smarter capital investment decisions. Neither have we wavered in our passion for proper planning, prioritisation and funding of infrastructure. In more recent years, our work has been around leading project teams of committed, experienced economists and professionals to bring high conviction analyses to our clients. Good cost benefit analysis is at the heart of what we do.
In the first half 2019 founder, Craig Lawrence took, in effect, a sabbatical from the practice to lead the establishment of the Economic and Social Infrastructure Program in PNG. This $130 million 4+4 year Cardno-delivered, Australian Government funded program seeks to improve the quality of planning, prioritisation and funding of infrastructure to achieve economic outcomes and social development goals for Papua New Guineans.
Whether it is: developing an investment manual to incorporate climate change adaptation in infrastructure development decisions in the Solomons; a full cost pricing algorithm for food and drug regulatory services in Saudi Arabia; or generating savings from waste transfer station closures that fund a ten-year capital works program – Lytton Advisory is up for the challenge. At every stage, it is about driving value for the clients and communities affected by infrastructure.
We are excited about the future for infrastructure, its contribution to sustainable economic and social development, and how emerging economic incentives, new social paradigms and innovative technologies are shaking up these services.
Recently Lytton Advisory has been thinking about infrastructure in terms of why-how-what. Focussing on asset management, we thought about why that is a good thing.
Organizations with infrastructure commitments can sharpen their operations and improve their investment performance with better asset management. Effective asset management increases organisations’ capacity and capability for infrastructure service delivery.
So how could this be achieved? What kind of asset management goals might support this? Lytton Advisory has done some of the initial thinking for you and come up with the following list of ten suggestions.
Lower asset management costs over the long term
Align strategic initiatives across the asset management system
Increase the engagement of people, including leadership, communications, and cross-disciplinary teamwork
Align processes, resources and functional contributions
Better understand and use data and information to provide consistent and informed decisions
Pursue consistent, prioritised and auditable risk management
Improve asset management planning
Improve customer service, and maintaining overall network performance
Increase auditability across the asset management life-cycle
Reduce regulatory risk through implementing robust and demonstrable asset management governance processes
This is by no means the entire field and it is easy to suggest the how. The real challenge is to unpack the ‘what‘. The activities needed to deliver on these goals requires a clear view of an organisation’s baseline on each, the value of pursuing stronger efforts and whether the proposed activities will actually be effective.
So before diving into specific asset management tasks or activities, stop for a moment to think about the options available in terms of asset management goals and why they will deliver on your organisation’s overall mission.