Two companies have expressed interest in building more public restrooms in Ho Chi Minh City.
Vinasing proposes building up to 1,000 of them at a cost of VND110 billion (US$4.9 million) at train and bus stations, parks and main streets in all 24 districts of the city.
To recoup the investment, the company wants advertising rights for all overpasses for 15 years.
Swiss company Mister Loo estimates a toiled to cost VND500-900 million, and plans to charge users a fee of VND5,000-10,000.
It would build them in tourist areas, a company spokesperson said.
Tran Vinh Tuyen, vice chairman of the city People's Committee, has told the companies to work with local authorities and do a careful study before going ahead with their proposals.
While the need for more public toilets is "indisputable," Tuyen said the city is struggling to find the money and suitable locations.
He said the city wants more "five-star" public restrooms that are air-conditioned, disabled-accessible and modern.
"It doesn't matter to users if public restrooms charge a fee or are free. They care more about hygiene and convenience."
A lack of public toilets has been a much talked about topic among locals and tourists.
Only 11 out of 208 paid public toilets around the city meet required hygiene standards, Nguyen Thi Thanh My, deputy director, environment department, said.
A public toilet in Ho Chi Minh City's District 1. Photo: Duc Tien.
District 1, the main downtown area, has around 30 toilets, most of which were built using inexpensive materials and have deteriorated, officials said. Almost none of them are disabled-friendly.
The lack of public toilets ought to be partly blamed for the fact that more than 1,500 people having been fined for public urination and defecation in District 1 this year, Phan Trong Hung, deputy head of the city's Urban Management, said.
Since 2014 Sacombank has sponsored a dozen modern public toilets that are free to use in the busy downtown areas, including three at September 23 Park, two at Tao Dan park and two at Le Van Tam Park.
A 60-square-meter toilet costs between VND800 million and VND1 billion (US$37,600-47,000) to build.