|Japan’s JICA lamented the slow payment of the Vietnamese Government to its official development assistance (ODA) projects’ contractors, saying they were becoming ‘exacerbated’.— Photo zing.vn|
HÀ NỘI — Japan’s JICA lamented the slow payment of the Vietnamese Government to its official development assistance (ODA) projects’ contractors, saying they were becoming ‘exacerbated’.
The Japan International Co-operation Agency Việt Nam Office Chief Representative Konaka Tetsuo said so during an annual press conference of the organisation held in Hà Nội yesterday.
One of JICA’s biggest ODA projects in Việt Nam is the HCM City Metro line 1 which, although still under construction, has been delayed several times due to prolonged difficulty to pay the contractors.
The project was awaiting the National Assembly’s approval for an adjustment in the total investment, which would hike up to VNĐ47.3 trillion (US$2.1 billion).
Without the approval in question, the metro project could not receive sufficient disbursement from the State budget to keep the work on schedule as unpaid contractors suspended their constructions time after time.
Konaka said HCM City authorities made advance payments from their local budget three times to save the situation, and the city People’s Committee also gave the green light for another fourth round with the disbursement of around five billion yen ($45.5 million).
“It (the money) is hoped to soon resolve the overdue payment (for the contractors) of 270 million yen,” he said.
“Those advance payments of HCM City authorities, however, were just short-term solution,” Konaka added.
The metro project was not the only one running short of capital, the JICA chief said. There were some other JICA’s ODA projects managed by the Vietnamese Ministry of Transport that were also struggling to get the much-needed disbursement.
Konaka said the main reason for the tightened belt was the Vietnamese Government’s policy to better control public debt, during which it considerably reduced ODA loans from foreign entities.
The Government earlier set the annual loan cap for ODA projects while the National Assembly also announced the red line for public debt of no bigger than 65 per cent of the GDP.
“The Japanese Government and other big donors have conducted several high-level dialogues with the Vietnamese Government (on the matter), which consequently had a clear impact on (Việt Nam’s) budget allocation of the fiscal year 2018,” Konaka said.
“JICA, however, still asks the Vietnamese Government to review the protocol in order to make quick decisions to allocate the budget for ODA projects and to simplify their procedures.”
According to JICA, Việt Nam and Japan signed three agreements with the ODA loans totalling 61.8 billion yen ($563.4 million) in the fiscal year 2017. — VNS