(Adds quotes, details)
By Omar Mariluz
LIMA, March 21 Peru plans to launch joint
public-private sector investment projects totaling more than $10
billion this year and next, Finance Minister Luis Miguel
Castilla said on Wednesday.
"Investment is vital to keep (economic) growth rates above 6
percent," Castilla said, adding that the investment programs
would begin in May and that 40 percent of total funds for the
projects would come from the private sector and the rest from
the public sector.
Solid domestic demand has fueled Peru's economy, helping it
to withstand downward pressures from Europe's debt crisis and
slow U.S. growth. Peru is on track to be one of the
fastest-growing economies in Latin America this year.
Peru's economy grew nearly 7 percent last year and is on
track to grow around 5.7 percent in 2012.
The projects will be parceled out through concessions, the
finance minister said.
"Investors from abroad have shown great interest in the
country but wanted to know the portfolio amounts specified with
not only a year, but a much broader term to define their
investment plans," he said.
Castilla said that in total will be 26 projects such as
construction and road rehabilitation, plus construction and
expansion of airports and natural gas pipelines.
In an interview with Reuters last week, Castilla said he has
ramped up public investment by 30 percent this year after last
year's restrictive fiscal stance. He also said there were $70
billion in investments lined up for the next four or five years,
with half in mining and the rest in sectors including
infrastructure and services.
The biggest mining project, the $4.8 billion Conga gold mine
of U.S.-based Newmont Mining, has faced delays.
But private-sector investment is recovering as confidence
builds in the government of President Ollanta Humala, a former
leftist hardliner who took office in July 2011 and recast
himself as a market-friendly centrist.
Castilla said private-sector investment should rise 10
percent this year, an improvement from recent months, but still
lagging the brisk rates registered nearly two years ago when the
Andean country's economy was growing by almost 10 percent.
(Reporting by Omar Mariluz and Marco Aquino; Writing by Luis
Andres Henao, Editing by W Simon, G Crosse)