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Mekong infrastructure poor: Deputy PM

Update: July, 23/2016 - 01:00
The Cần Thơ Bridge connects Cần Thơ City and the southern province of Vĩnh Long. – VNA/VNS Photo An Hiếu
Viet Nam News

CẦN THƠ — Deputy Prime Minister Vương Đình Huệ has instructed ministries and local governments in the Mekong Delta to prioritise investment in transportation projects that would help enhance connectivity.

Huệ, who chaired a conference in Cần Thơ yesterday on development of transport infrastructure and logistics in the delta, said the region’s significant achievements notwithstanding, in these areas it lags behind the rest of the country.

Poor connectivity between roads in production and consumption areas directly affect the region’s socio-economic development, he pointed out.

Investment in infrastructure remains low, he said. The dense river network, the delta’s big advantage, has not seen the investment required to develop water transport, he said.

However, infrastructure and logistics plans should dovetail with the socio-economic development strategies of local governments and the transport sector, he said.

Huệ, who is also chairman of the Southwestern Region Steering Committee, suggested that after the conference local governments and ministries should inform the Government about plans for developing transport infrastructure and logistics so that budget allocations and investment plans can be made.

Deputy Minister of Finance Nguyễn Hữu Chí said while the country has 740km of expressway, the delta accounts for only 60km.

Construction of the HCM City – Cần Thơ Expressway has been delayed for eight years after ground was broken for it, he said.

He urged the government to speed up extension of the HCM City-Trung Lương Expressway to Cần Thơ so that the construction is finally finished.

With the project, the delta’s infrastructure would partly improve, Chí added.

Nguyễn Văn Thể, Secretary of the Sóc Trăng Province Party Committee, concurred with Chí that the HCM City - Cần Thơ Expressway is vital for the delta.

Investing the VNĐ28 trillion (US$1.2 billion) it requires should be the top priority, he said, adding the National Highway 1 passing through the delta also needs an upgrade.   

The conference was organised by the Southwestern Region Steering Committee and Ministry of Transport.

The delta has roughly 4,718km of national highways, 2,030km of provincial roads, and 72,851km of district and country roads. It also has 13,000km of waterways, with 7,000km managed by authorities.

But the waterways have not proved very efficient. Marine traffic has not developed well despite the immense potential since many river mouths have not been dredged.

The delta has two international airports in Cần Thơ and Phú Quốc.

Rạch Giá and Cà Mau airports have a combined capacity of five million passengers.

According to the Ministry of Transport, the delta has totally 10 build-operate-transfer projects that collect tolls.

In 2016-20, the government will invest VNĐ91 trillion (US$4.1 billion) in transport infrastructure in the delta, with a third coming from its own resources and the rest from ODA loans. — VNS





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