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VN eyes private investment in infrastructure projects

Update: January, 17/2019 - 09:00
Developing the infrastructure system was identified one of three breakthroughs in Việt Nam’s socio-economic development strategy, besides institution reforms and human resource development. — Photo baogiaothong.vn
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam will focus on attracting private investment in infrastructure to accelerate economic growth, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Vũ Đại Thắng said at the Việt Nam Economic Forum (VEF), which opened Wednesday in Hà Nội.

Speaking at a workshop on infrastructure development, financing and governance in Asia, Thắng said the Vietnamese Government had paid special attention to promoting private investment, especially via the public-private partnership (PPP) model, in recent years.

He cited statistics that Việt Nam has attracted 147 PPP projects worth a total VNĐ1.14 quadrillion (US$52 billion), contributing significantly to improving infrastructure in the country.

“Private investment has been and will continue to be an important resource in the future, given the limited Government budget for public investment,” Thắng stressed.

Developing the infrastructure system was identified one of three breakthroughs in Việt Nam’s socio-economic development strategy, besides institutional reforms and human resource development.

However, Việt Nam still faces several challenges in the process.

Thắng pointed out that because the size of the economy was not large and resource accumulation ability was limited, maintaining a high level of investment from the State budget would put pressure on the macro-balance and overall development.

In addition, Việt Nam is a middle-income country, meaning low-cost loans from foreign countries for infrastructure would be scarce and the country must borrow at higher rates.

Efforts were also needed in institutional reforms to improve the investment climate and raise private resources for infrastructure, Thắng stressed. Other challenges included the lack of a proper mechanism for implementing PPP projects, such as providing guarantees for investors and risk sharing mechanisms.

As several large infrastructure projects are underway in Việt Nam, such as the North-South Expressway, Long Thành International Airport and high-speed North-South railway as well as climate-change adaptation irrigation projects, Việt Nam needs to complete a legal framework for attracting private investment.

Thắng said at the workshop’s sideline interview that a law on PPP was being compiled and was set to be passed in 2020, a move expected to create a firm legal framework to attract private capital, from both domestic and foreign investors, to develop infrastructure.

In addition, the Government hopes to enhance the transparency of PPP projects to attract capital, Thắng said.

According to Kunio Umedia, ambassador of Japan to Việt Nam, Việt Nam needs to find different resources to finance infrastructure development projects.

He said Japan pledged to support Việt Nam in infrastructure development, urging the Vietnamese Government to improve public debt management and use capital more efficiently.

All infrastructure development projects must be managed properly to improve economic efficiency, he added.

At the workshop, participants also discussed PPP trends in Asia, frameworks for better PPP governance and recommendations for Việt Nam to enhance infrastructure investment efficiency.

Also on the agenda of two-day VEF, which was organised by the Central Economic Commission and the International Monetary Fund, is a high-level policy dialogue about Việt Nam’s economy 2018 in review and plans for 2019 – strengthening the fundamental drivers for rapid and sustainable growth, which will take place today.

In addition, experts also discussed climate change adaptation and energy security for sustainable development and digital economy development in the context of Industry 4.0.

VEF has been held annually from 2017 to provide a valuable and timely exchange platform for various stakeholders including the Government, policymakers, academics, businesses and international organisations to debate initiatives, practices and trends for sustainable development. — VNS

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