CAN THO – The disbursement for official development assistance (ODA) projects in some Mekong Delta localities remained slow during the first months of the year, as site clearance compensation rates for local residents in the case of projects backed by ODA loans are higher than those of locally-funded projects.
At a meeting between Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh and the local authorities on June 30 to review the execution of ODA projects, it was revealed that three of five localities—Can Tho City, Bac Lieu, Ben Tre, Long An and Vinh Long provinces—have yet to receive ODA funding to implement their projects.
Duong Thanh Trung, chairman of Bac Lieu Province, stressed the need for a regulation to balance the compensation rates for ODA and locally-financed projects.
Besides this, sponsors of ODA projects only allow construction once site clearance is completely done, resulting in difficulties in terms of capital disbursement, as opposed to locally-funded projects, wherein the site clearance and construction can be executed in a successive manner, Trung added.
Can Tho City, which was expected to secure the highest ODA funding, recorded the total amount of disbursed ODA capital at some VND128 billion as of June 22, meeting a mere 4.29% of its 2020 target, stated Dao Anh Dung, vice chairman of the municipal government.
Explaining the slow disbursement, Dung noted that due to surging costs as a result of compensation and resettlement, the allocation of land plots serving resettlement purposes faced obstacles, with local residents complaining about compensation policies and the handover process of cleared sites being slow, affecting the construction progress.
At the working session, local authorities suggested using ODA capital to conduct site clearance activities.
In response, Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh said that with regard to signing deals to execute ODA projects, the localities in the delta are in charge of implementing site clearance tasks and, as such, are not allowed to tap ODA funding for site clearance.
By Trung Chanh