Essential projects in need of accelerated disbursement

September 22, 2021 | 14:00
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Numerous projects in infrastructure and urban development will be adjusted to accelerate public investment disbursement, contributing to local and regional socioeconomic development in 2021.
The resettlement area for Long Thanh Airport is coming along slowly
The resettlement area for Long Thanh Airport is coming along slowly

The Long Thanh International Airport project is one of the most important transport projects in southern Vietnam for the local and regional socioeconomic development, promoting tourism, and facilitating trade activities. However, since 2018, only 47 per cent of the VND22.85 trillion ($993.7 million) allocated for the airport’s resettlement project has been disbursed and land clearance work has only reached 50.7 per cent of the plan, with nearly 1,250 hectares remaining for handover within 2021.

At last week’s online conferences on socioeconomic development and public investment in 2022 between the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) and the country’s three regions, the People’s Committee of Dong Nai, where the project is located, proposed several measures for the MPI to accelerate the project. In particular, Chairman of Dong Nai People’s Committee Cao Tien Dung proposed cutting two sub-projects on building technical infrastructure and public infrastructure for the resettlement area in Binh Son commune. “These two sub-projects are not essential to the project and progress could be sped up by focusing resources on other components,” Dung said.

The province also proposed adjusting the 1/500 planning of the resettlement area. “High-rise blocks should be divided into plots, and subdivision III should not be built to save capital and speed up the project,” Dung added.

The meetings touched on other road and expressway projects as well to boost public investment disbursement. For instance, Ho Chi Minh City-Thu Dau Mot-Chon Thanh Expressway has been confirmed for inclusion in the master plan on expressways, and will be developed by Binh Phuoc People’s Committee under the public-private partnership format, with the state and private investors accounting for half of the capital each.

“The expressway project was authorised to use state funds in Notice No.20/TB-VPCP in January, so we hope to receive the capital allocated as soon as possible, to contribute to the economic recovery of the south-eastern region,” said Tran Tue Hien, Chairwoman of Binh Phuoc People’s Committee.

She added that the almost 70km expressway project will have 4-6 lanes with a total investment capital of VND36 trillion ($1.57 billion) would help complete Vietnam’s expressway network and ease traffic load on the National Highway No.13, contributing to regional socioeconomic development.

Numerous other southern provinces like Tra Vinh, Tien Giang, and Ca Mau also urged the allocation of mid-term public investment funds (2021-2025) to start new projects within this year.

According to the MPI, the total public investment planned for southeast Vietnam and the Mekong River Delta region this year is VND138.87 trillion ($6 billion), including VND109.77 trillion ($4.77 billion) from the local budget and VND29.1 trillion ($1.27 billion) from the central budget. However, only about 34 per cent of this has been disbursed so far, the worst rate reported over the north and central regions and well below the country and localities’ average (40.6 and 42.9 per cent).

Most cities and provinces in southeast Vietnam and the Mekong Delta region may not reach this year’s socioeconomic plans and public investment disbursement targets. Thus, those localities that disbursed less than 60 per cent of the plan by the end of September requested authorisation to carry on undisbursed sums to the following year.

“Over the last two months, most of these cities and provinces have had to halt production, business, and construction activities. Some of them are only just now starting to gradually relax social distancing measures and production is only at 20-50 per cent capacity. It would be impossible for them to disburse more than 60 per cent of the annual public investment plan by September 30 as is requested by the government,” said Tran Duy Quang, Deputy Chairman of Dong Thap People’s Committee, proposing to move the undisbursed capital over to 2022.

Tran Thanh Long, deputy director general of the MPI’s Department for National Economic Issues, said most localities are far from the disbursement target set forth by the government. He added that the proposal to carry undisbursed investment over to 2022 will be decided by the prime minister and provincial people’s councils as stipulated in the Law on Public Investment.

“Article 48 of Decree No. 40/2020/ND-CP released last year detailing a number of articles of the Law on Public Investment stipulates that disbursement could be carried on to next year if implementation was held up by natural disasters, catastrophic events, epidemics or other unforeseeable causes,” he added, suggesting the proposal could be accommodated.

Public investment allocation in 2021 so far

So far this year, Vietnam has disbursed 40.6 per cent of the public investment capital allocated for this year. Meanwhile, provinces have disbursed 42.9 per cent of their targets.

The central region has outperformed the country and provincial averages. It was allocated VND68.1 trillion ($2.96 billion) for disbursement this year, including VND42.86 trillion ($1.86 billion) from the central budget and VND25.25 trillion ($1.1 billion) from local coffers. So far, about VND33.14 trillion ($1.44 billion), about 48.67 per cent, has been disbursed.

Meanwhile, the Central Highlands region has been allocated VND15.47 trillion ($672.7 million), including VND8.84 trillion ($384.2 million) from the central and VND6.63 trillion ($288.43 million) from local budgets. About VND6.49 trillion ($281.96 million – 41.9 per cent) has been disbursed.

The northern midland and mountainous region is to disburse VND41.33 trillion ($1.8 billion) this year, including VND14.61 trillion ($635.5 million) from the central and VND6.36 trillion ($276.4 million) from local budgets. About 42 per cent of this has been disbursed.

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