Long Thanh International Airport capital debate divides NA

November 15, 2017 | 17:41
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The missing capital for site clearance at Long Thanh International Airport has yet to be determined as members of the National Assembly (NA) are still debating whether they should allocate part of the capital reserves of the 2016-2020 medium-term public investment fund or part of the VND80-trillion ($3.53 billion) fund serving key national projects.
NA deputies are divided on how to raise the missing VND15 trillion for the airport

In the pre-feasibility report submitted to the NA, the government reported that the total estimated cost for site clearance, including the construction of resettlement and cemetery areas, is about VND23.04 trillion ($1.01 billion). To date, with the exception of VND5 trillion ($220 million) that the government agreed to allocate from the 2016-2020 medium-term public investment fund, approximately VND15.02 trillion ($661.6 million) is missing.

The government compiled two plans to mobilise the missing capital. Accordingly, the government will either allocate part of the VND80-trillion ($3.53 billion) fund reserved for key national projects (plan A) or part of the reserve capital of the 2016-2020 medium-term public investment fund (plan B). The VND80 trillion ($3.53 billion) fund is also part of the 2016-2020 medium-term public investment fund that is worth a total of $88.2 billion. However, members of the NA have yet to reach a decision.

According to Phung Duc Tien, deputy chairman of the National Assembly Commission of Science, Technology and Environment, plan B is not suitable because according to Resolution No.26/2016/QH14 on the medium-term public investment plan for the 2016-2020 period, capital reserves are only used in case the state’s budget revenue is stable and the project in question is urgent or fall in the category of force majeure projects.

However, at present, the state budget revenue is unstable and shows difficulties in reaching the set targets. Furthermore, if other projects are proposed to use the reserve capital from the 2016-2020 medium-term public investment fund, the existing capital will not be able to meet all demand.

According to deputy Vu Thi Luu Mai, it is necessary to select one of the two above plans because there are no other options. Regarding plan A, the government expects to spend VND70 trillion ($3.08 billion) of the VND80 trillion ($3.53 billion) developing the North-South Expressway project. VND55 trillion ($2.4 billion) will be disbursed for this purpose in the 2016-2020 period. The remaining VND15 trillion ($661.8 million) was to be used to develop four railway projects and 10 road projects.

Thus, in case the government uses the remaining VND15 trillion ($661.8 million) for Long Thanh International Airport, there will be no capital to develop the above railway and road projects, which are considered of equal importance with Long Thanh International Airport. However, Mai stated that of the two plans, plan A is more feasible.

To Van Tam, a deputy from Kon Tum province, stated that if plan A is approved, other urgent projects will have no capital to develop. Simultaneously, Tam proposed that the government should spent the remaining VND15 trillion ($661.8 million) developing the road linking Bo Y International Gate with Central Highlands provinces.

Deputy Luu Binh Nhuong from Ben Tre province also agreed with plan B, saying that the government should disburse the remaining VND15 trillion ($661.8 million) for other more urgent projects.

Other deputies proposed plan B. Notably, Tran Hoang Ngan, a deputy from Ho Chi Minh City, said that there are detailed plans for using medium-term reserve capital on specific projects in specific cities and provinces and in specific sectors. Thus, the government cannot spend the money allocated to develop specific projects developing other projects.

Regarding deputy Hoang Quang Ham, permanent member of the NA Committee for Finance and Budget, the government expects to disburse VND55 trillion ($2.4 billion) on developing the North-South Expressway in 2016-2020, however, it is not sure that the entire capital volume will be disbursed on schedule.

According to his calculations, the remaining funds could reach up to VND30 trillion ($1.3 billion). Furthermore, if new national projects arise in the 2016-2020 period, they will have to wait until May 2018 to have their investment planning approved by the NA, thus the government cannot spend the entire VND80 trillion ($3.53 billion) reserve capital in the beginning of the 2016-2020 period.

As the result, he claimed that plan A is the more feasible plan.

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By By Nam Kinh

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