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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs       15  February 2011

Vietnamese infrastructure projects lack funding

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The transport sector was forecast to find it difficult attracting investment capital for transport infrastructure projects, Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai said yesterday.

In the conference in Hanoi to map out tasks for the year, Hai warned that Official Development Assistance and the State budget capital sources were limited and that investment from the private sector and the Public Private Partnership model would be especially encouraged, Hai said. Hai asked the Ministry of Transport to take advantages of other foreign capital sources such as the international fund for climate change prevention.

"This is a large capital source but so far we haven't made use of it. It is necessary to seek capital for investment in transport projects along the country's coast and in regions mostly hit by disasters," Hai said.

He required the ministry prioritise key projects and those which were able to be completed this year.

Deputy Minister of Transport Ngo Thinh Duc said the transport sector was striving to build and upgrade more than 800km of roads, build 10km of bridges and finish 10 large projects such as the Cau Gie-Ninh Binh expressway, national highways 2 and 3 and Da Nang international airport. The ministry ensured sufficient capital for projects likely to be finished this year and next year, as well as urgent works critical for transport safety, Duc said.

The ministry proposed that the Prime Minister ask ministries and agencies to plan capital raising for the sector, Duc said.

The total amount of capital needed for this year's project was VND3.5 trillion (US$175 million) while the sector only received VND1.78 trillion ($89 million) from ODA source, thus the sector would probably run out of capital by the second quarter of the year, he said.

The ministry also asked for the Prime Minister's permission to advance capital reserved for 2012. The agency would speed up the completion and issuance of technical standards and regulations applied in infrastructure construction, consulting, project management and quality management; as well as policies to create favourable conditions for enterprises to invest in transport projects, Duc said.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More

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