Vietnam may sell highway projects to foreign investors
VietNamNet Bridge – The Ministry of Transport (MOT) is considering selling highways to foreign investors to earn money for new investment projects, a move which could lead to a new market in Vietnam - transport infrastructure.
At a recent meeting with the Vietnam Expressway Corporation (VEC), MOT said that VIDIFI, the investor of the Hanoi–Hai Phong Highway project, would sell 70 percent of the project to an investor from India.
Some said VEC should sell the Saigon–Trung Luong Highway and Noi Bai–Lao Cai Highway to get money for other projects.
“It is the right time to change our viewpoint about investment in infrastructure. You can sell highway projects after you finish them. There are many foreign investors who are interested in the projects,” a MOT official said in Tien Phong.
MOT Minister Dinh La Thang previously said at a conference that it was necessary to seek different sources of capital to develop transport projects, rather than relying on the state budget or government bonds.
Thang also said it was not a good idea to raise the chartered capital of VEC, which specializing in implementing transport infrastructure projects.
“If we cannot find other solutions, we will never have adequate capital for transport projects, no matter how much chartered capital VEC has,” he added.
Thang went on to say that if Vietnam can make a breakthrough in calling for investment in highways, it would be completely within reach for Vietnam to build 2,000 kilometers of highways.
To date, about 540 kilometers of highway has been developed by VEC, while the figure is expected to rise to 1,000 kilometers in five years.
Tran Quoc Viet, chair of VEC, said to the local press on October 24 that VEC has set up a special team comprising the best officers in charge of seeking foreign investments.
“We plan to invite investors to buy all five highway projects, the Noi Bai–Lao Cai, Cau Gie–Ninh Binh, Ben Luc–Long Thanh, HCM City–Long Thanh–Dau Giay and Da Nang–Quang Ngai, which either are finished or still under construction,” Viet said.
“Instead of collecting fees every day to recover the investment capital, we would sell the projects or sell the right to collect fees from transport means,” he explained. “This would allow us to arrange a great deal of capital within a short time which can be used to develop other projects and help ease the burden on the state budget.”
Le Ngoc Hoa, general director of Cienco 4, the investor of many road and bridge projects, said the sale to foreign investors was a good idea.
“Roads can be seen as products which we can sell to get money to implement other works,” he noted, adding that Cienco 4 was considering selling a part of the Vinh City bypass.