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Long Thanh airport resettlement project faces funding challenge

The Saigon Times

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HCMC – The allocation for the Long Thanh International Airport resettlement totaled nearly VND22.86 trillion but as of end-2022, VND2.5 trillion that remained undisbursed was removed from the budget, affecting the resettlement progress.

The allocated funds encompass provisions for land reclamation, compensation and resettlement associated with the Long Thanh airport.

On November 15, the Standing Committee of the National Assembly (NA) discussed adjustments to the project’s feasibility study. The airport, designed to accommodate 100 million passengers and handle five million tons of cargo annually, needs a total investment of more than VND336.6 trillion, with 34% allocated for the first phase.

By the end of 2022, only VND16.7 trillion had been disbursed, leaving over VND2.51 trillion untouched. In an effort to address this issue, the Government proposed on October 26 extending the disbursement period until the end of 2024 to salvage the project’s timeline.

However, under the current rules the unused VND2.51 trillion was canceled. Vu Hong Thanh, chairman of the NA Economic Committee, emphasized the conflict with the Investment Law, which restricts budget execution to 2021 and 2022.

Tran Quoc Phuong, deputy minister of Planning and Investment, suggested potential solutions. One involves utilizing the central budget’s reserve for 2023, while the other considers using the 2024 budget reserve, although legal inconsistencies may arise. Both proposals require NA approval.

Despite discussions in October, the Government has yet to present a detailed plan to address the canceled funds. NA Vice Chairman Nguyen Duc Hai urged the Government to submit a clear proposal outlining fund allocation, subject to NA scrutiny.

As the future of the Long Thanh airport project hangs in the balance, NA Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue called for prompt action from government officials to formulate a viable plan for securing the necessary funds.

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