CUU LONG DELTA (VNS)— Top Government officials are advising Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta provinces to be flexible in mobilising capital for developing local transport infrastructure, given that the State budget is stretched.
|A Vietnam Airlines jet lands at Can Tho International Airport, which was a State-funded project. — VNS File Photo
Transport Ministry officials say the delta has seen impressive transport infrastructure development in recent years because significant investments have been made by the Government.
Many works have been completed and commenced operations including the My Thuan, Can Tho, Ham Luong and Rach Mieu bridges, the Can Tho International Airport, and expanded roads like Trung Luong-Can Tho, HCM City-Trung Luong and Nam Song Hau.
These projects have boosted socio-economic growth in the region, but the Delta's transport system needs further development, the officials say.
In April 2011, the Prime Minister issued Decision No.638/QD-TTg outlining tasks and providing directions on development of transport infrastructure works in the region through 2015, with orientation towards 2020.
Under the decision, 56 centrally-run and 156 provincially-run projects would be developed to ensure that the local transport infrastructure system can handle between 450 and 500 million passengers per year by 2020.
However, a year after that the decision took effect, very few projects have been developed due to the prolonged economic slump, which has forced the Government to tighten public investments in order to reduce inflation and stabilise the macroeconomy.
A representative of the transport ministry, who declined to be named, said capital from the State Budget was only sufficient to be used as corresponding capital for Official Development Assistance (ODA) projects. "This means there are no funds left for other projects," he said.
"Meanwhile, capital raised through Government bonds can meet only 30 per cent of the transport projects' investment needs, so the plan is to inject this into important projects that need to be completed in between 2012 and 2013," he added.
Deputy Finance Minister Nguyen Huu Chi told Tai Chinh Viet Nam newspaper that in the current context of a serious shortage of capital, localities should not rely upon the State Budget and should try to fully tap resources "from the society."
The Finance Ministry has proposed that funds raised through Government bonds and earmarked for 2013 expenditures are used to implement important transport projects that need to be completed this year.
Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh has also mentioned the need to diversify investment forms for transport infrastructure projects, using the build-transfer (BT), build-operate-transfer (BOT) or the Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) models.
Ninh has asked the Transport Ministry to work with the Southwestern Regional Steering Committee and localities to choose one or two projects and implement them as pilot models.
Priority should be given to projects that connect provinces in the region with each other and promote the Delta's socio-economic development as a whole, he said. — VNS