SINGAPORE, Member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) should step up efforts to crowd in private capital on ASEAN infrastructure projects, Singaporean Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said on Thursday.

Heng said that the infrastructure opportunities in ASEAN would require significant financing, when he delivered his keynote speech at the 8th World Bank-Singapore Infrastructure Finance Summit.

He quoted Asian Development Bank's report as saying that for the 15-year period from 2016 to 2030, ASEAN's infrastructure investment needs was estimated to total 2.8 trillion U.S. dollars, or 184 billion U.S. dollars per year.

But the needs could not be financed by the public sector alone, the minister added.

"While we must continue to prioritise infrastructure spending to sustain growth in ASEAN, we must also look beyond the public sector to finance these expenditures," he said.

Therefore, Heng called on ASEAN countries to tap the private capital market for infrastructure financing by increasing the visibility of ASEAN investment opportunities and projects, improving the bankability of ASEAN infrastructure projects at the individual project level, and enhancing data availability on ASEAN infrastructure investment opportunities to attract international investors into the region.

"As a collective, ASEAN must remain committed and united to mainstreaming ASEAN infrastructure as a viable asset class and crowding in private capital," he said. "With these, infrastructure development will be able to fulfil its potential as a powerful engine for sustained growth, resilience and innovation in ASEAN."

Finance ministers of ASEAN member states joined in Thursday's summit in the afternoon. They will attend the ASEAN Finance Ministers' Meeting on Friday morning and the ASEAN Finance Ministers' and Central Bank Governors' Meeting in the afternoon.

Source: NAM News Network