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NA delegates wary of transferring parts of North-South Expressway to public investment

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HCMC – At a meeting yesterday, June 12, some National Assembly delegates expressed concerns over the Government’s decision to transfer certain components of the North-South Expressway from the public-private-partnership (PPP) model to public investment, Thanh Nien newspaper reported.

They recalled that three years ago, the Government had convinced them about the feasibility of developing the expressway under the PPP model but now intends to transfer three of the eight component projects of the expressway to the public investment model.

Dang Thuan Phong, a delegate from Ben Tre Province, stated that the Government and Ministry of Transport failed to make it clear how they would attract PPP investment for the project and added that the PPP model would also increase the country’s public debts.

Phong said if the project was approved to be built with public investment in 2017 itself, it could have been nearly complete now.

Delegate Hoang Quang Ham from Phu Tho Province noted that although the Government wants to transfer only three of the eight component projects of the expressway to the public investment model, the components have a total length of 267 kilometers, equivalent to over 40% of the entire length of the eight expressway sections. Therefore, the PPP investment portion of the project would drop from the initial estimation of 81% to 40%.

Ham said the National Assembly should have been more cautious during capital estimation and investment preparation, while the Government should draw up a detailed payback plan for the project.

Delegate Vu Thi Luu Mai from Hanoi suggested that the Law on PPP Investment should clearly specify the responsibility of individuals and organizations in assessing and ensuring the feasibility of the project.

Delegate Do Van Sinh from Quang Tri Province remarked that he was not convinced with the Government’s report on transferring three of the eight component projects of the expressway to the public investment model.

Sinh noted that two sections that are finding it hard to attract private investments including the National Highway 45-Nghi Son and Nghi Son-Dien Chau sections should be changed from PPP to public investment instead of the Mai Son-National Highway 45 and Phan Thiet-Dau Giay sections.

Responding to the delegates’ concerns, Minister of Transport Nguyen Van The said the North-South Expressway is a project of national importance and needs a cautious approach that complies with the Law on Investment as well as other laws.

“This is why the project has moved at a slow pace. The Ministry of Transport, the prime minister and other ministries and government departments are mobilizing all resources and trying their best to speed up work on the project,” he said.

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