Saturday, November 25 2017

VietNamNews

North-South expressway can’t be delayed: Government

Update: November, 04/2017 - 09:08
Construction of the North-South expressway in the east cannot be delayed as there is no other way to meet rising passenger and cargo demand in the coming years, a Government report says.— Photo tuoitre

HÀ NỘI — Construction of the North-South expressway in the east cannot be delayed as there is no other way to meet rising passenger and cargo demand in the coming years, a Government report says.

Presented by Transport Minister Nguyễn Văn Thế at the on-going National Assembly (NA) session yesterday, the report estimates passenger and cargo transport demand along the North-South road to increase to 45.37 million passengers per year and 62.27 million tonnes of cargo per year by 2020. The current facilities cannot cope with this demand, the report says.

It also states that the investment in building some the eastern sections of the North-South expressway during the 2017-20 period will address limitations on current national highways, particularly the National Highway 1.

The new expressway gains added urgency given planned investments in an express train route is not going to happen soon.

The report states that around 654km of the road will be built during the 2017-2020 period. It will be divided into 11 sub projects and built under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model.

Total investment for the expressway project for the 2017-2020 periods is estimated at over VNĐ118.7 trillion (US$5.27 billion), including VNĐ55 trillion ($2.4 billion) from Government bonds and the remaining from investors.

Examining the report, the NA Economic Committee agreed with the necessity to invest in the project, saying that the North-South expressway played an important role in boosting economic development.

However, the committee asked the Government to have clearer, more transparent criteria for sub projects in line with the main project’s financial and technical conditions.

More details and foundations  are needed to divide the project into sub projects so as to ensure the projects are comprehensive and feasibly, and the construction progresses smoothly, it said.

According to an NA Resolution, VNĐ70 trillion ($3.1 billion) can be allocated for such important national projects. However, the Government has proposed VNĐ55 trillion for the expressway project, asking that the other VNĐ15 trillion he assigned to other important and urgent infrastructure projects.

NA Economic Committee has directed the Government to make clear the criteria for selecting projects that will use the remaining VNĐ15 trillion and submit it to the NA for consideration and decision, following provisions of the Law on Public Investment and the Law on State Budget.

Some deputies proposed that the Government studies the issue in more depth and suggested that VNĐ70 trillion be allocated to the main project in full toe ensure efficiency in building the expressway.

Regarding mobilisation other capital sources for the project, the NA Economic Committee proposed that the Government studies ways to attract foreign investment.

Also yesterday, the NA deputies discussed draft amendments to the Law on Overseas Representative Missions of the Socialist Republic of Việt Nam.

National Assembly (NA) deputies at a discussion yesterday afternoon largely agreed that the Ministry of Finance should be the focal-point agency to manage public debts to prevent management overlaps and inconsistencies.— VNA/VNS Photo Phương Hoa

NA discusses law on public debt management

National Assembly (NA) deputies at a discussion yesterday afternoon largely agreed that the Ministry of Finance should be the focal-point agency to manage public debts to prevent management overlaps and inconsistencies.

Still, it was critical to regulate in detail the rights and responsibilities of other ministries in working with the finance ministry, they said.

The draft amended Law on Public Debt Management only generally said that the Government would assign responsibilities for ministries in co-operating with the Ministry of Finance in public debt management.

NA deputy Trần Thị Hoa Ry of Bạc Liêu Province said that if the law did not specify the responsibilities of other ministries, it would be difficult for the law to be applied.

“The responsibilities and obligations of relevant ministries and agencies need to be regulated in detail in the amended law,” she said.

NA deputy Mai Thị Ánh Tuyết from An Giang Province said that the law needed to include co-ordination mechanisms for public debt management.

Public debt is estimated to reach 62.9 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) by the end of this year, nearing the ceiling of 65 per cent GDP, Tuyết said, adding that the law should also have regulations about sectors and projects to be prioritised for Government-guaranteed loans to ease the pressure on public debt.

The regulation in the draft law that loans taken out by State-owned enterprises (SOEs) could not be transferred into public debts was also largely praised.

Currently, public debts include the Government’s debts, local governments’ debts and Government-backed loans. SOEs’ loans were not counted as public debts but several SOEs which fell into insolvency asked the Government to help pay their debts, which increased public debt.

NA deputy Trần Quang Chiểu of the northern province of Nam Định said that this regulation would help ease pressure on public debt and enhance accountability and responsibilities for paying debts.

According to NA deputy Vũ Thị Lưu Mai of Hà Nội, the responsibility for negotiating and signing debt agreements should be centralised to one agency rather than three as at present – the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the Ministry of Finance and the State Bank of Việt Nam.

Mai said many countries had only one agency in charge of negotiating borrowing agreements. This would help enhance accountability of borrowing, paying debts and loan efficiency.

Minister of Finance Đinh Tiến Dũng, whose ministry was in charge of compiling the draft, said the law would be revised further to ensure feasibility and consistency.

The NA will vote on the law on November 23.

Passing an amended Law on Public Debt Management has become urgent for Việt Nam, with public debt nearing the ceiling and the use of loans still largely inefficient.— VNS

 

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