Use maintenance fund for roads after disasters: Minister

Update: July, 26/2017 - 15:23
A road being repaired in Nghệ An Province. The Minister of Transport said road maintenance fund’s reserves should be used effectively. – VNA/VNS Photo Bá Liễu
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI  The central road maintenance fund’s reserves should be used effectively, with priority given to dealing with the aftermath of storms and flooding, transport minister Trương Quang Nghĩa said on Tuesday.

At the meeting to wrap up fund operation in the first six months of 2017, Nguyễn Văn Huyện, head of Việt Nam Road Administration, said that this year, storms and floods have wreaked significant havoc on transport infrastructure across 16 provinces and two road management departments.

Up to 700,000cu.m of slopes and 61,000sq.m of road surface have been damaged, incurring a cost of around VNĐ170 billion (US$7.4 million) for initial repairs.

Khuất Minh Tuấn, head of the Infrastructure Structure Department, proposed that the VNĐ700 billion ($30.5 million) held in reserves, which have not been mobilised so far in 2017, must be allocated soon towards countering the consequences of storms and floods in the northern and central localities.

The Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) said the estimated budget, which exceeds collection level, should be allocated to deal with “black spots” for traffic accidents, and high-risk spots at railway crossings on roads.

“Plans must be drawn up to deal with this work effectively. It is necessary to list out specific places and allocate budget,” an MPI representative said.

Minister Nghĩa said the amount exceeding this year’s collection level must be added to the next year’s spending budget. Spending for road maintenance will increase as weather conditions get more complex and severe. Fund reserves will be used for the newly damaged infrastructure, he added.

Fund collection

In the first six months of 2017, the total amount collected as registration fee for cars was VNĐ3.5 trillion ($152.2 million), which is 58 per cent of the targeted collection for the whole year. On an average, VNĐ22.5 billion ($970,000) was collected per day.

Nguyễn Hoàng Minh, chief of the secretariat of road maintenance fund, said that because a lot of private centres have opened for motor vehicle registrations, it has become difficult to keep track of and manage fee collection. Not all new centres have fully understood the regulations, and many have made mistakes in fee collection and payment.

“Inspections show that some private registration centres do not meet financial procedure requirements. Some centres did not mobilise staff to receive inspection teams. There must be penalties for centres violating rules,” Minh said.

Minister Nghĩa said all registration centres are not at par in terms of quality. Sometimes one city has many operating centres, which leads to competitiveness. “Việt Nam Register needs to pay special attention to the management of these centres. Poor operations will increase traffic accidents,” he said.

The minister also asked all regions to tightly control road maintenance fund at the provincial level to avoid misuse of budget.

Set up in 2012, the central road maintenance fund is sourced from road fee collections, the State budget and other collections. — VNS