HÀ NỘI — A project to implement automatic non-stop toll collection may be delayed as the investor fears its deployment may increase the risk of bankruptcy.
The investor – the Việt Nam Electronic Toll Collection Company (VETC) – has just submitted a request to the Ministry of Transport to halt phase one of the project,
The project started in November 2014, with total investment of over VNĐ2 trillion (US$87.6 million), said the company’s board chairman Phạm Văn Lượng.
The project would cover 44 stations, of which 23 ones are in operation, he said.
“However, the company, so far, had signed contracts with only 11 out of 44 booths,” Lượng said.
“The reason was that some BOT investors had not handed over lanes to make room for the installation of toll plazas, while others had not paid the fees even though the stations were completed and handed over,” he added.
The company and BOT investors had also not reached agreements on profit sharing rates.
“The company and the Transport Ministry had made strong efforts to carry out the project, but the progress was slow and far behind schedule,” he admitted.
“This would affect the December 12 deadline of installing non-stop toll collection systems at all stations nationwide,” he said.
As of late September, the company had suffered accumulated losses of VNĐ300 billion (US$12 million) due to low fee collections, which was about 10 per cent compared to the plan.
So far, the Tasco Company – an investor – had to spend the same amount of lost money to keep the stations operating.
If the company puts into operation 36 booths by the end of next year, the accumulated loss would be up to VNĐ580 million (US$25 million).
“The shareholders disagreed with continuing to invest in the project because they would not get dividends after five years, and could even pay more,” Lượng told the paper.
For these reasons, the company asked the Transport Ministry to find other investors or the Government to take over the project.
If not, the ministry and the company would ask the Government for instructions to continue the project or terminate the contract and carry out bankruptcy procedures in December this year.
If the continued implementation is compulsory, the company requested the ministry share the risks and offer financial compensation for losses, Lượng said. — VNS