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Speeches & Transcripts March 27, 2019

International Workshop on Public Private Partnership in Selected Sectors in HCMC

Mr. Nguyen Thien Nhan, Party Secretary, HCMC

Mr. Nguyen Thanh Phong, Chairman, HCMC People’s Committee

Representatives of government agencies,

Representatives of Development Partners and Private Sectors,

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen

It is my great pleasure to join you on behalf of the World Bank Group for this important workshop on Public Private Partnerships in the Environment, Water, Health and Education sectors in HCMC. Ho Chi Minh City is a rapidly urbanizing mega-city and an emerging economic powerhouse in the South-East Asia region, counted as among the country’s most attractive destinations for foreign direct investments.

In order to maintain its economic competitiveness and meet the challenges stemming from an ageing demographic, HCMC will require further investments in infrastructure especially in areas like transport, health, education and the environmental sectors. Like most cities across the world, public investment alone will not be sufficient to meet the large infrastructure and service delivery needs of Ho Chi Minh City. This is where I see the need to improve the efficiency of its public investment and work towards leveraging more from the private sector.

As you are all aware, PPPs have proven to be a very successful framework to help governments provide the much-needed infrastructure to underpin future economic growth, as well as provide broader social benefits. Indeed, many countries in the region have already successfully delivered PPPs in these sectors including ITE College West in Singapore, which was in fact one of Singapore's first PPP projects, the Umbulan Water Supply PPP project in Indonesia, and just recently Malaysia put out a tender for a 1,000 ton per day solid waste PPP project. Further afield, Turkey has an extensive Health PPP program with 15 projects at various stages of tender. But it does not mean public-private partnerships are always successful in these countries nor in all sectors.

Failures have happened, and we have learnt that for PPPs to be a success, there MUST be a recognition that this is a long-term partnership, where both the public and private sectors need to share not only rewards but also risks. As with any partnership, if the risks and rewards are not shared fairly, then it is very likely that the partnership will fail. PPPs must be a win-win exercise for all stakeholders. The legal, regulatory and institutional frameworks also need to be clear and robust to enable investors to accept risks over the longer term with some certainty of the framework within which these risks are being taken.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I notice that over the years, the Government of Vietnam has introduced several regulations to promote private sector investment in infrastructure, service delivery, and equipment provision. However, despite some successes, notably in transport and energy sectors, private sector investment to-date has still been relatively low. Given the growing needs for infrastructure investments, it is legitimate to ask several critical questions: what are the lessons learnt from past successes and failures? What are the constraints? What needs to be done to maximize the potential and for PPPs to succeed?  And, how do we ensure clear rules of engagement, transparency in bidding and procurement and appropriate risk sharing arrangements between the public and private sectors. To try and address this, the Government is now currently drafting a new PPP law which will consolidate all the PPP related legislation under one law, and therefore provide a comprehensive and enabling regulatory framework to facilitate PPP Projects successfully. The World Bank along with several development partners, some of whom are present at this workshop are supporting MPI and MOF on this important initiative.

With the strong focus on public investment efficiency and international experiences on PPP, I hope we will take advantage of today’s workshop to shed lights on these questions and identify concrete areas that require attention of the government at the national and sub-national level to enhance the enabling environment for PPPs. If Ho Chi Minh City succeeds, it will set the path for the overall development of cities in Vietnam.

On behalf of the World Bank Group, please count on our support for this important initiative. We stand ready to support you to bring in global experience, expertise, knowledge and financing on this agenda. I am very much looking forward to the discussion and wish you all the best of health, success and happiness.