January, 19 2013 10:06:27

Streamlining key to PPP progression

Workers build infrastructure for the Bao Minh Industrial Zone in the northern province of Nam Dinh. The Public-private partnership model of investment has met obstacles due to a shortage of legal framework. — VNA/VNS Photo Danh Lam
HCM CITY (VNS)— The lack of a comprehensive legal framework is the major obstacle to adopting the public-private partnership model of investment, a workshop heard in HCM City yesterday.

The conference, organised by USAID's Viet Nam Competitiveness Initiative and the Ministry of Planning and Investment, was aimed at collecting opinions to improve this very framework to enable more PPP investment.

Delegates, who came from private companies and State agencies, agreed that PPP was an important and useful investment model.

But besides the legal inadequacies, the Government's lack of experience and shortage of funds also prevented investors, especially foreigners, from taking part in PPP projects in Viet Nam, they said.

Several individual issues were discussed, like making approval of PPP projects more efficient and less time-consuming.

Lam Hung Kien, head of southern Soc Trang Province's industrial zones, said: "It takes time to approve a PPP project — sometimes one year – even when it is very urgent."

He also wanted investment in infrastructure at industrial zones, which is now out of the purview of PPP, to be included, saying his and other Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta provinces badly needed it, especially in coastal areas.

Other delegates called for increasing the 30 per cent rate that the Government contributes to PPP projects.

"This rate must be flexible," they said further.

They also complained that many provisions in Decision No 71, which regulates PPP works, are confusing and cause misunderstanding among investors, especially foreigners.

The Ministry of Planning and Investment, admitting there were many shortcomings, said PPP was still in the trial stage and needed time to be improved.

"Decision No 71 was drawn up when there were any PPP projects in the country.

"Moreover, local governments have not been actively co-operating with the ministry to implement this new model."

The proposed amendments would sort out most of the issues, it promised.

"We are gathering opinions from investors, ministries, and others to amend Decision 71," Le Van Tang, head of the ministry's Public Procurement Management Agency, said.

"The draft will be submitted to the Government in April.

"We plan to draft a decree after implementing five trial projects, and after that we will draft a law on PPP."

In future the Government would contribute 49 per cent to PPP projects if the draft is approved, he said.

"The amendments will be radical and comprehensive, ensuring a good investment environment," he promised.

PPP describes a business venture funded and operated through a partnership of government and the private sector. — VNS

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