Viet Nam News
Professor Doctor Từ Sỹ Sùa, a lecturer at the University of Transport and Communication, speaks to Kinh tế & Đô thị (Economy & Urban Affairs) newspaper on how to solve the problem of poorly-placed toll booths.
What do you think about the resolution which was recently issued on Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) toll stations?
Since the birth of the first BOT project until now, many problems have been found. And more recently the Government has adopted Resolution No 83 which will serve as a guideline to implement the Resolution No 437 which was adopted by the National Standing Committee on October 21, 2017 on how to invest and implement BOT transport projects.
I’m confident that Resolution 83 will help us to better implement the BOT projects in order to win back the people’s confidence and to avoid losses which shouldn’t have happened.
Resolution 83 touches upon most of the core problems that BOT projects have been facing. I’m confident that when the Resolution 83 comes into force it will be able to make all concerned parties happy, particularly the people and the enterprises. I’m confident that the resolution will facilitate conditions for BOT transport projects nationwide to operate smoothly and earn the users’ confidence.
What are the main contents in the resolution that will help solve issues in the implementation of BOT projects?
Most of the content of Resolution 83 is important and has big significance for resolving issues in BOT projects. However, in my opinion, there are two most important ones, namely, BOT projects must not be built on the only path through an area and consultation meetings must be held with local people who will be affected by the project before it is implemented.
Why? A core issue of all BOT projects is that they must hold high the principles of transparency and accountability as well as the interest of all concerned parties, particularly the interest of people living next to the BOT booth.
We all know the project site and the position of BOT booths are very sensitive. That’s why these two elements must be properly treated. I’m sorry to say that sometimes these two elements have not been properly treated in a number of projects, particularly consultation. This is a core problem leading to conflicts of interest between the project owner and the people living next to the BOT booth.
Do you think that the resolution will be able to solve the problem of the BOT booths being placed illogically?
The Ministry of Transport has already listed projects with BOT booths in the wrong place wrong. But the relocation of these booths to correct positions is not simple as it is an error of the whole system.
Let’s take the case of the Cái Lây booth. The ministry has to come up with five scenarios to solve the problem in one project. However, at present, we have dozen projects having their toll booths placed in wrong place. This is a big problem for us.
In my opinion, the wrong positioning of many BOT booths came from the planning. As a result, many road users feel that “their money has been robbed” and such thinking has eroded the people’s confidence and caused anxiety among the general public.
That’s why I think the issuance of Resolution 83 is at the right time. Based on the resolution, the Ministry of Transport and concerned agencies will develop plans to adjust the positions of the toll booths in their projects. In short, the new positions of the booths should make the road users happy to pay for what they receive. — VNS