BOT infrastructure projects still get strong backing from NA, Govt

BOT infrastructure projects still get strong backing from NA, Govt

Tu Hoang

HANOI – Proponents of BOT infrastructure projects still abound at the National Assembly, the Ministry of Transport, the State Audit Office of Vietnam and enterprises though such projects have grown unpopular.

At a meeting on BOT (build-operate-transfer) projects on September 7, Nguyen Duc Kien, vice head of the National Assembly Economic Committee, said the BOT format is suitable for Vietnam’s socio-economic conditions and should be boosted in the coming time.

Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Nhat said the State budget could meet only 30% of the capital demand for traffic infrastructure development. According to a Party resolution, the nation will have 2,000-2,500 kilometers of expressway by 2020. However, as of 2016, only 746 kilometers of expressway had been built across the country.

Doan Huy Vinh, vice head of the Specialized Audit Department No II under the State Audit Office of Vietnam, said BOT infrastructure projects have upgraded over 2,500 kilometers of road and built another 500 kilometers.

Kien, who is also vice head of the supervisory board for BOT projects at the National Assembly Standing Committee, said the media has exaggerated shortcomings at BOT projects.

According to him, a report by an inspection team of the National Assembly Standing Committee showed that only eight of 50 operational BOT infrastructure projects had caused public frustration.

Most of the people who have protested BOT projects are from transport enterprises, not ordinary people, Kien said, adding motorcycle riders are not subject to road toll fees.

Speaking about the Phap Van-Cau Gie expressway, Kien said authorities had found and dealt with some violations committed by investors, including inaccurate vehicle counts and revenue reports.

According to Doan Huy Vinh, the State Audit Office has inspected 60 BOT projects and found just a couple of shortcomings involving mechanisms and policies.

Firstly, most BOT road toll stations charge the same fee on all vehicles, meaning those traveling a short distance pay the same fee as those traveling a longer distance.

Secondly, many toll stations, especially those built before 2009, fail to meet the rule that requires the two nearest stations on the same road are 70 kilometers apart.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc asked the Ministry of Transport to work with the Ministry of Finance and other relevant ministries and localities to review all BOT infrastructure projects and propose solutions to the current problems faced by toll stations in September.

According to Phuc, there are currently 70 kinds of transport fee and the Ministry of Transport is responsible for cutting unreasonable fees to reduce transport costs for the public and trucking firms.

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