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Saturday, May 21, 2022

HCMC seeks PM nod to plug capital shortfall at metro line operator

The Saigon Times

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HCMC — The HCMC government has written to the prime minister seeking approval for capital allocation for HCMC Urban Railways No. 1 Co. Ltd. (HURC1), which operates the city’s metro line projects, as the company has run out of capital for its operations.

An HURC1 representative said the company was established in 2015 and started operations in 2019. At the time, it was allocated VND14 billion, Phap Luat newspaper reported.

In its letter to the prime minister, the HCMC government reported that HURC1 is finding it hard to pay salaries and premiums for social, health, unemployment, labor accidents, and occupational disease insurance for workers. The company is also facing a shortage of capital to pay its electricity, water, and telecom bills, it added.

At present, the company has 15 leaders and employees along with 59 metro train drivers whose training course has been suspended as an appendix on general consulting services for the metro line No. 1 project has not been signed, it informed.

The VND14 billion allocated to the company was used to buy office equipment, and its operational costs are yet to be allocated, it said.

Moreover, the progress of the metro line No. 1 project has been slower than expected, so HURC1 has not earned any revenue, it added.

Therefore, the HCMC government has asked the prime minister to allow the city to use its budget to ensure HURC1’s operation and duty fulfillment to meet the Vietnamese Government’s commitments to sponsors.

If the plan is approved, the city will propose the Ministries of Finance and Planning and Investment instruct the budget allocation.

The Government Office said it has received the proposal from the HCMC government and has forwarded it to the ministries of finance and planning and investment for consideration, in line with the law.

On January 13, the Management Authority for Urban Railways in HCMC had urged the HCMC Department of Finance to request the municipal government to allocate capital in advance to ensure the operation of HURC1.

In response, the HCMC Department of Finance had asked the municipal government to hold a meeting with the relevant departments and agencies on the issue. Before the Tet holiday, the city had allowed HURC1 to borrow VND2 billion to pay salaries to its employees.

The first metro line project is nearly 89% complete.

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