LIMA, March 9 Construction companies from around
the world have expressed interest in operating in Peru after a
vast graft scandal ensnared some of the country's biggest
builders, the finance minister said on Thursday.
Dismissing concerns that a lack of qualified companies might
complicate the government's promised infrastructure boom,
Alfredo Thorne said more than two dozen companies have recently
approached his ministry to discuss investment opportunities.
"We haven't had to do much to attract new companies, they've
come to us," Thorne told a press conference where he announced
plans to build 150,000 new public housing units.
Thorne declined to name any of the companies interested in
bidding on projects in Peru.
"Many of these companies - unfortunately, due to corruption
in public work projects - weren't able to take part in past
public tenders," Thorne said. "Today we're clearing the way for
them to participate."
Peru is one of Latin America's fastest-growing economies,
but a graft scandal involving Brazilian companies has prompted
the government to slash its 2017 growth forecast by one
percentage point to 3.8 percent.
He said a new package of measures to stimulate growth,
including an additional 5.5 billion soles ($1.67 billion) for
public investments, might help the economy grow by more than 4
percent this year.
"We're absolutely certain we'll be able to get over this
bump in the road, for us it's a great opportunity to fight
corruption while bringing total transparency to the economy,"
The government of President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski barred
Brazilian construction conglomerate Odebrecht from participating
in future public work bids after the company admitted in late
December that it distributed $29 million in bribes in Peru. New
bidding rules will also exclude other companies that have been
found to be involved in corruption.
Odebrecht has promised to provide details on its kickback
schemes in Peru as other Brazilian builders and Peru's biggest
construction group, Grana y Montero, face allegations of
(Reporting By Mitra Taj; Editing by Andrew Hay)