Marubeni Corporation, a major Japanese business conglomerate, has expressed its intention to invest in water and sanitation infrastructure in the Kingdom, according to a statement from the Ministry of Industry and Handicraft.
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In a meeting Monday with Cham Prasidh, the Ministry of Industry, Kaoru Iwasa, Marubeni’s CEO for Asean and Southwest Asia, said the firm is considering projects in the water and sanitation sector, possibly through public-private partnerships.
Minister Prasidh welcomed the company’s plans, but said that a build-operate-transfer (BOT) contract will be more appropriate for this kind of project. He said the company could also provide a concessional loan or grant for the project, which is what other Japanese companies have done in the past.
Marubeni is a major Japanese integrated trading and investment business conglomerate that handles products and provides services in a broad range of business activities across wide-ranging fields, including food, consumer products, chemicals, energy, power plants, transportation and industrial machinery.
The company now has 131 branches and 66 offices in the region, Mr Kaoru said.
“We have a lot of experience in the water and sanitation sector around the world,” Mr Kaoru said.
Mr Prasidh said the government is committed to expanding access to clean water across the Kingdom. “We are focusing on improving access to clean water, not just in urban centres, but also in rural areas, because water is life,” Mr Prasidh said.
“If the people have clean water, they will avoid many diseases.
“The priority right now are highly populated areas. To achieve our goal and expand access to clean water, the state will have to cooperate with the private sector,” he added.
He said that now just over 20 percent of residents in rural areas have access to clean water. In urban centres, the number is up to 70 percent, he said.