Work on HCM City’s 1st metro route to be hastened

Update: January, 29/2019 - 09:00
A cost overrun, audits and delayed payments to contractors caused the delays of first metro line. — VNA/VNS Photo
Viet Nam News

HCM City — The HCM City Urban Railway Management Board (MAUR) will work with contractors, consulting firms and others to speed up the city’s first metro route between Bến Thành and Suối Tiên, a meeting heard last weekend.

“We will try to complete the project in 2020,” Bùi Xuân Cường, head of MAUR, said.

A cost overrun, audits and delayed payments to contractors caused the delays, he said.

“Certain aspects are beyond the ambit of our authority and require intervention by city leaders to resolve.”

The project, which began in 2012, was expected to be finished in 2017 and become operational this year.

MAUR has informed the city People’s Committee of the funding requirements in 2019 and sought its approval and full payment to contractors based on the work they have done since the Government has approved the new cost of the project.

“Only 62 per cent of the project was completed in 2018 against a target of 65 per cent,” Dương Hữu Hòa, director of the project, said.

The project needs to be sped up this year by adopting solutions so that 80 per cent of the work is completed this year, he said.

He suggested that in the first quarter the focus should be on disbursement to contractors so the work could progress.

Contractors and consultants said the delays in payment have severely affected the progress, making it difficult to complete the work next year.

Last November Japan’s ambassador to Vietnam, Umeda Kunio, said the Japanese contractor Sumitomo Corporation’s unpaid bills had risen to $100 million. The city since promised to pay $86 million by February 1 to stop the contractor pulling out of the project.

“The Bến Thành – Suối Tiên metro line is an important project for HCM City and a symbol of co-operation between Việt Nam and Japan, and therefore the current problems should be resolved quickly,” Kota Murakami of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the project’s major funder, said.

“JICA highly appreciates the efforts of HCM City in providing money to contractors in advance, and in future MAUR should provide all information for the city to oversee the project.”

Nguyễn Văn Tám, deputy director of the Department of Transport, promised that MAUR would work to clear problems to ensure quick approval of documents related to the project.

“MAUR should take time and carefully make documents before submitting to authorities,” he said. — VNS