Vietnam gives a boost to PPP cooperation

(VOV) -The Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model with the participation of foreign businesses will be the most important form in Vietnam’s infrastructure investment.

Minister of Planning and Investment Bui Quang Vinh made the remark at the recent Vietnam Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Forum hosted by the Washington-based Vietnamese Embassy which attracted major US groups like Intel, General Electric, Eximbank and UPS.

The event offered a good opportunity for Vietnamese entrepreneurs to hold dialogues with their US counterparts on public investment policy aimed at attracting foreign investment in infrastructure development and public service projects.

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PPP cooperation is considered the latest model in Vietnam in the context that resources for infrastructure development largely rely on the State budget, Vinh noted.

According to Minister Vinh, PPP cooperation should be focused on both domestic and foreign private businesses including major overseas groups and companies that have strong financial and technical resources and good experience in building uniform and modern infrastructural structures in Vietnam.

The Vietnamese Government will create a firm legal foundation for long-term PPP projects.Not a few US giant groups and companies show their keen interests in the Vietnamese market and their willingness to invest in developing infrastructure facilities and public services in Vietnam if the country’s PPP model is implemented in accordance with international practice, said Vinh.

Joe Knierien, President at Globalinx Group, said foreign investors like Globalinx Group are keen to invest in building airports, seaports and hospitals. Currently, Vietnam is in need of healthcare services, which is seen as a chance for Globalinxto support the healthcare sector in improving its services.

Vietnam’s Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) and Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) should promote PPP cooperation with US companies to help them seek investment projects that can benefit both sides.

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The MPI’s Bidding Management Department Head Le Van Tang said infrastructure investment from the private sector in Vietnam remains modest at a capitalization of US$10 billion. Vietnam is giving top priority to expanding PPP cooperation and its government has established a PPP Steering Board headed by a Deputy Prime Minister.

However, the country is facing challenges for lack of PPP law and personnel and financial difficulties.

Minister Vinh also admitted some limitations in implementing the PPP model including bidding mechanisms. To resolve this issue, the Vietnamese Government has worked with the MPI to revise the Bidding Law to ensure that capable contractors that have good technologies and after-sales services during the life of project will be priotized for consideration.

In her speech, WB Country Director in Vietnam Victoria Kwakwa described PPP as a difficult cooperation process that requires enduring effort and strong determination.

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She praised Vietnam’s progress in improving the legal framework, building a PPP project evaluation system and financial mechanisms for PPP projects.

Regarding prospects for foreign direct investment (FDI) in Vietnam, the WB Chief said Vietnam remains an attractive investment destination for foreign businesses despite its economic slowdown.