|The regular Government press briefing, chaired by the Government Office Chairman Mai Tiến Dũng (middle), was held on Thursday in Hà Nội. — VNA/VNS Photo Dương Giang|
The statement was made at the Government’s regular press conference, chaired by Minister and Chairman of the Government Office Mai Tiến Dũng, held in Hà Nội on Thursday afternoon.
At the conference, reporters pointed out that domestic investors said the criteria in the pre-qualification for bidding on the North-South expressway were too strict, making it difficult for them to participate. They worried that foreign contractors would have more chances to win bidding packages.
Meanwhile, the 654km expressway is believed to be the backbone of the national road system. Thus, experts suggested that in addition to traffic problems, it should pay more attention to security and defence issues when selecting contractors to build the expressway.
Answering the question, Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyễn Ngọc Đông said firstly, in terms of criteria for pre-qualification and bidding for the expressway, the Ministry of Transport reported to the Government.
The Government then reported to the National Assembly and finally identified the prioritised sections of the expressway that would be implemented until 2021 with eight sub-projects, he said.
To divide the projects, the ministry had carefully considered before issuing criteria.
The beginning and ending points of the projects would be identified depending on terrain conditions and existing road systems as well as economic and political centres. Based on the criteria, the projects would be implemented effectively and ensure payback if it called for the private sector to participate, he said.
Đông said the projects would be implemented under the PPP model, thus, according to the Bidding Law, the projects’ bidding process would be international. However, also according to the Bidding Law, if a project could affect the nation’s security and defence, authorised agencies would take the final decision to select the contractors.
"We were still in the pre-qualification stage, after the pre-qualification assessment, we move to the official bidding step to select contractors," he said.
Therefore, the ministry had reported to the Government to consider and decide. "We will follow the instructions of the Government and relevant agencies regarding bidding issues to ensure compliance with the provisions of law and resolutions of the National Assembly," he said.
The expressway will run through 13 provinces and cities from the northern province of Nam Định to the southern province of Vĩnh Long.
Also at the conference, reporters asked that Zalo, a popular messaging service, is only licensed to provide over-the-top (OTT) service but currently is operated as a social networking site. Meanwhile, Zalo is supposedly invested by a foreign investor.
Lê Quang Tự Do, deputy head of Radio, Television and Electronic Information Department under the Ministry of Information and Communications, said recently, the ministry had found that Zalo provided a social networking feature.
Zalo then had received administrative sanctions. The ministry also required Zalo to apply for permission if they wanted to continue providing this feature. They recently submitted their file to the ministry, Do said.
Do also added that VNG Company – the owner of Zalo, now had a foreign investor and this was in accordance with the law of Việt Nam. This was also publicised in the financial statements, he said.
The ministry still co-operated with the Ministry of Public Security to monitor its operations and handle any violations found, he said. — VNS