Lê Đình Thọ.— Photo tienphong.vn
Lê Đình Thọ, Deputy Minister of Transport, speaks to Tiền Phong (Vanguard) newspaper on his ministry’s role in ensuring all BOT projects fulfill their assigned missions
How do you respond to complaints about the cumbersome administrative procedures in toll booths on BOT roads nationwide?
Manual toll booths have a lot of weaknesses, including being time consuming and contributing to traffic jams and air pollution. Furthermore, manual toll collection may also lead to a lack of transparency and high operating costs.
Toll collection in all BOT projects is been supervised by four agencies – the banks, the investors, the tax office and the State-authorised agency. The Ministry of Transport considers monitoring the operation of these BOT projects one of its key missions. As a result, the Ministry has assigned the Directorate for Roads of Việt Nam (DRVN) to monitor all activities of BOTs nationwide, including toll collection and management.
DRVN has frequently sent teams to inspect and monitor the operations of BOT projects. So far, the directorate has not detected any fraudulent acts.
DRVN has organised a bidding to select an agency to provide an independent supervision system for all the nation’s toll stations. Under the system, anytime a vehicle goes through a toll booth gate, its information is immediately sent to a server in the DRVN head office. The data is immediately shared with the tax office, commercial banks that have lent the money to the project and other investors. This is a reliable way to monitor the operations of these projects.
Non-stop fee collection is only one of several measures to help make toll collection more transparent.
How do you respond to the recently detected fraudulent activities committed by some workers at the Hồ Chí Minh City-Trung Lương toll booth station?
That toll booth is operated by the Yên Khánh Company. The company can choose which software it would like to use, so it bears all responsibility for the fraudulent acts. However, the Ministry of Transport has already said all toll companies have to report to the ministry what software they are using, Of course, the software must meet the technical requirements issued by the ministry and be approved by the DRVN. We have to take actions immediately to make sure all toll booths nationwide uphold law and order and operate in a transparent manner.
The Prime Minister has said all toll roads must use Electric Toll Collection (ETC). Why have quite a few toll stations still not adopted this system?
Under the PM’s instruction, all toll stations must install the ETC by late 2019. There are 26 automatic toll stations along National Highway No 1 and the portion of the Hồ Chí Minh Highway running through Tây Nguyên – the Central Highlands.
The slow installation of ETC in all toll stations is in part due to the complicated procedures applied in all Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects between the BOT investor, the ETC service provider, the lending banks and drivers.
The Ministry of Transport has promised to do its best to ensure the ETC project will be completed in late 2019 as ordered by the Prime Minister. —VNS