Vietnam highway, 1st public-private partnership project, interests foreign investors

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A US$750-million highway from Ho Chi Minh City, to be Vietnam's first public-private partnership project, has attracted interest from around 100 foreign investors.

The government has entrusted Bitexco with construction of the Phan Thiet-Dau Giay Highway connecting HCMC with the central province of Binh Thuan, and to bring in 60 percent of the cost.

The Ministry of Transport said investors from India, South Korea, and Singapore among others have expressed interest in partnering Bitexco.

It is not known yet when the bid will take place.

Saigon Times newspaper quoted Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Ngoc Dong as saying the project would open the door to a slew of PPP infrastructure projects in the country.

The government hopes to keep the budget deficit at below 4.8 percent for this year, but analysts are not hopeful.

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It expects cooperation with the private sector for public projects to ease the burden.

The highway, when finished, will reduce travel time between HCMC and the south central region and ease the burden on National Highway 1A, an arterial road spanning the country.

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