The OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) will provide Vietnam with a 22.5 million USD loan to help the country enhance capacity and quality of local healthcare services.

An agreement to this effect was signed in Hanoi on May 4 by Finance Minister Vu Van Ninh and OFID General Director Suleiman Jasir Al-Herbish, who is currently on a working visit to Vietnam .

Finance Minister Ninh said that the signing of the funding agreement for the Vietnam Healthcare Project marks an important milestone for a new phase of increased cooperation between the Vietnamese government and OFID.

The 20-year loan, with a five-year grace period and an annual interest rate of 1.75 percent, is the largest of its kind OFID has given Vietnam so far.

It will be used to upgrade the general hospital in Trung Son district, the northern mountainous province of Tuyen Quang , and the Hanoi-based central transport general hospital in the 2011-2015 period.

According to the Finance Ministry, OFID has provided loans with 161 million USD in total for 17 projects and programmes engaged in transport, irrigation, poverty reduction, health and education in Vietnam./.