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Gov’t approves funding for Trung Luong-My Thuan expressway project
By Trung Chanh
Friday,  Sep 27, 2019,18:41 (GMT+7)

Gov’t approves funding for Trung Luong-My Thuan expressway project

By Trung Chanh

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc inspects the ongoing construction of the Trung Luong-My Thuan expressway in the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang on September 27 – PHOTO: TRUNG CHANH

TIEN GIANG – Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has approved allocating VND2.186 trillion (US$94 million) from the State budget to finance the cash-strapped Trung Luong-My Thuan expressway project in the southern province of Tien Giang, the project owner told The Saigon Times today, September 27.

Mai Manh Hong, general director of the BOT Trung Luong-My Thuan JSC as owner of the VND9.6-trillion project, said the Prime Minister okayed the funding during his working visit to the province today.

According to Hong, the PM has asked the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the Ministry of Finance and the government of Tien Giang to disburse the funds as soon as possible.

He added that his company has worked with three lenders – Vietnam Bank for Industry and Trade, Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam and Vietnam Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development – to speed up the appraisal of the project’s credit plan so that they could sign a syndicated loan contract with the project’s developers.

The project relies on three sources of capital: the investors’ equity, State capital and bank loans. It might face a shortage of capital as Vietnam Prosperity Commercial recently withdrew as a lender.

As such, bank loans for the project are likely to be cut to VND5.8 trillion compared to its initial requirement of up to VND7.08 trillion in credit.

During his visit today, the PM urged the relevant sides to work closely together so that the expressway could be opened to traffic at the end of next year, allowing commercial operations to start in April 2021, on schedule.

Work on the project is roughly 27% complete, according to the general director.

The project is experiencing a capital shortage, as the VND3 trillion in funding provided by the project owner and contractors is now depleted. The newly approved funding from the Government is expected to fund construction works.

The four-lane expressway will be some 51 kilometers long, with 4.5 kilometers of access roads, through five outlying districts of the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang. It will start at the intersection of Than Cuu Nghia T-Junction and HCMC-Trung Luong Expressway and end at the intersection with National Highway 30.

The expressway is expected to shorten travel times between HCMC and the Mekong Delta provinces, bolster the socioeconomic growth of Vietnam’s southwest region and reduce traffic congestion on National Highway 1.

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