Transparency is being observed at most infrastructure projects in Viet Nam, Nguyen Hong Truong, Deputy Minister of Transport, told Dat Viet (Viet Land) newspaper
Dinh La Thang, the Minister of Transport, recently asked if there was any collusion between project owners and contractors in infrastructure projects. He was speaking at a national meeting to combat corruption and waste. What made him ask such a question?
Collusion between project owners and contractors in infrastructure projects is something that can happen at any time. I think that Minister Thang asked this question to raise the alarm about the issue. He wanted project owners to live by the law, particularly to practise transparency during construction.
I have to concede that collusion acts between project owners and contractors have been detected at some projects. That's why we have to hold up the principle of transparency throughout the tendering process and during the life of the project.
The practice is also aimed at protecting investors.
Finishing projects for much higher costs than quoted has been reported at many infrastructure projects. Many experts openly say the cost bump is the result of collusion between project owners and contractors. What's your position?
As I have mentioned, during the bidding process, particularly for major projects, it is imperative to ensure that all steps abide by bidding law, particularly the transparency principle. If everything is transparent, there is no room for collusion.
If there is a rumor of collusion, we will review the bidding documents to see if any thing strange happened.
Has the ministry found any signs of collusion in any projects? And if so, how was the problem handled?
Recently, the Ministry of Transport reviewed bidding documents for several major infrastructure projects. Basically, the project owners followed all the required bidding procedures.
However, on some projects, after winning the bid, the project owners could use sub-contractors or even transfer the projects to other contractors at higher cost to earn some money. This is absolutely against bidding law. We'll take strong actions against them.
In serious cases, we may decide to dismiss the contractors and award the projects to other contractors.
Have any contractors been dismissed and replaced by others?
Up to now, we have not detected any case involving a contractor selling his contract to a second contractor to get benefit.
However, if we find contractors use sub-contractors to do certain jobs without the project owners' consent, we'll take action immediately. This is reflected in the bidding law.
According to the chief of the National Assembly Office, high on the agenda of the present NA meeting, is the issue of cost bumps at some big infrastructure projects. What will your ministry tell the deputies?
If it is requested, we will report to the National Assembly about the issue comprehensively, both objectively and subjectively. Even, if it is not requested, we will be pro-active to present our report and our point of view. — VNS