Specific policies and mechanisms are needed to draw investment and hasten the progress of the North-South Expressway. However, they must be conducted in an open and transparent manner, said Deputy Prime Minister Trương Hòa Bình at a recent meeting on the project.
|Cầu Giẽ - Ninh Bình Highway. - VNA/VNS Photo Huy Hùng
The North-South Expressway is an important national project, which needs Government approval before submission to the Politburo and National Assembly, he said.
The Deputy PM asked the State appraisal council to promptly appraise the project and report back to the Government.
Additionally, the Ministry of Transport was asked to complete a report on the project for the Politburo and National Assembly, clarifying the total investment, progress schedule, significance of the project, and specific mechanisms needed for its successful implementation.
Ministries were also urged to send their ideas on mechanisms and policies for the project to the Ministry of Transport by May 15.
Bình also agreed on adding the Dầu Giây-Phan Thiết section to the project, saying it will be discussed in another meeting. A national steering committee will be set up on the investment of the project led by Deputy Prime Minister Trịnh Đình Dũng.
The committee will have responsibility for directing implementation. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Transport will be in charge of conducting the project.
The State Bank of Việt Nam was assigned to propose measures to mobilise capital resources for the expressway, while monitoring the provision of credit to ensure investors’ responsibility in providing promised capital.
The ministries of Planning and Investment, Finance, Natural Resources and Environment, Construction and other relevant ministries and agencies were requested to design supervision mechanisms for the implementation of the project in the form of build-operate-transfer (BOT).
According to experts, exhausting the investment sources of the State budget, banks and investors is the biggest obstacle facing the North-South Expressway project.
Total investment from the State and investors for the project’s first phase reached more than VNĐ140 trillion. Meanwhile, domestic investors lacked sufficient funds after investing in National Highway 1A and other BOT projects.
The Transport Ministry has proposed several specific mechanisms to solve the issues, such as guaranteeing investors’ benefits at 14 per cent or allowing investors to derive benefits from wayside stations along the expressway.
The ministry also proposed calling for investment from foreign investors. However, according to the ministry, through consultation, potential investors and international finance organisations said that Vietnamese legal regulations have changed dramatically, the national credit level remains low while land clearance procedures are complicated. Additionally, the cost and timescale of the project is not stable.
The Transport Ministry proposed three specific mechanisms for foreign investors – a turnover guarantee, an exchange rate guarantee and a guarantee for the third party on the Government’s responsibility.
Mai Tuấn Anh, general director of Viet Nam Expressway Corporation said that the company had submitted to the Transport Ministry a plan to sell highway fee collection rights (firstly on the Cầu Giẽ-Ninh Bình highway) in order to invest in new expressways.