Thursday,  Nov 15, 2018,02:41 (GMT+7) 0 0
Mekong Delta’s regional connectivity remains limited
By Trung Chanh
Thursday,  Nov 8, 2018,19:56 (GMT+7)

Mekong Delta’s regional connectivity remains limited

By Trung Chanh

Vehicles are seen moving on the HCMC-Trung Luong Expressway that connects HCMC with Long An and Tien Giang provinces - PHOTO: TRUNG CHANH

CAN THO – Regional connections are considered a driver of growth in the Mekong Delta region, but it remains weak in terms of both quality and quantity, Bui Quang Tuan from Vietnam Institute of Economics said at a seminar held in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap today, November 8 .

Tuan noted that the execution of the Government’s Decision 593/QD-TTg on a scheme to pilot connectivity programs for the socioeconomic development of the Mekong Delta region in the 2016-2020 period is still lagging behind schedule.

“After more than two years of the implementation of the pilot scheme, the result fell short of expectations and promotion for the scheme was limited,” Tuan said.

Tuan attributed the slow execution of the scheme and its poor performance to four factors: undetermined purpose of connectivity, unclear connectivity mechanism, inefficient regional connectivity monitoring apparatus and a lack of financial resources for connectivity.

Tuan explained that 12 out of 13 provinces and cities in the region are financially weak and reliant on the central State coffer.

Besides this, Tuan remarked that there are no policies in place for localities to contribute to a combined budget, especially for investment projects. In addition, regarding the connectivity plan for key economic zones, financial issues have yet to be discussed.

As a result, regional connectivity is facing various bottlenecks, Tuan stressed, presenting four solutions to boost connectivity in the Mekong Delta region. The four solutions involve determining the priority needs of connectivity, building and completing a connectivity system, securing financial sources and enhancing information data for better connectivity.

Tuan also proposed setting up a council led by the deputy prime minister or assigning the Ministry of Planning and Investment to monitor connectivity.

However, Truong Hoa Chau, director of the Dong Thap Department of Planning and Investment, noted that it is necessary to add a third option, which is to allow provinces to take turns monitoring connectivity operations and require them to work with each other to decide what should be prioritized for investment.

Chau also stated that the option to assign the Ministry of Planning and Investment to monitor the scheme was unfeasible as the ministry did not fully understand the characteristics and features of the region and suggested weighing the option to establish a council.

Regarding financial solutions, Chau proposed accessing official development assistance loans, as it is difficult to find private investors for infrastructure projects.

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