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Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Plan to assign North-South Expressway project to provinces rejected

By Lan Nhi

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HANOI – Chairman of the National Assembly Vuong Dinh Hue has refused to allow cities and provinces to take over the development of the North-South expressway project in the 2021-2025 period as the current relevant laws do not allow so.

On November 15, the Government wrote to the National Assembly reporting on the pre-feasibility study for the North-South Expressway, which would be built in 2021-2025.

Accordingly, there would be 12 subprojects totaling 729 km and requiring VND147 trillion, which will be all funded by the State. The report said the 12 subprojects would be assigned to the cities and provinces where the road passes through.

At a recent meeting of the NA’s Standing Committee, NA Chairman Hue threw his support behind the Government’s plan to develop the expressway, saying it would have to be constructed in the 2021-2025 period.

However, he said tasking local authorities with executing the project would go against the laws on road traffic, State budget, construction, public investment and public asset management.

In addition, expressway projects require high levels of professionalism and experience. Cities and provinces lack experience in expressway development and moreover, they are now focusing on the Covid-19 pandemic response, economic recovery and public investment disbursement.

Therefore, the NA chairman asked the central Government to assign the Ministry of Transport to take charge of the project’s development, while the site clearance could be assigned to the cities and provinces where the expressway passes through. The Government has recently allowed the separation of site clearance from the project to ensure the progress of the work and prevent losses triggered by slow site clearance.

NA Chairman Hue also asked the Government to direct the Ministry of Transport to review the design solutions, technical requirements and optimal directions of the project to ensure the good use of the capital. The impact of the project on the environment in localities where the expressway passes through must be assessed in line with the newest regulations.

Explaining the use of public investment for the project, the Government mentioned difficulties in mobilizing capital for public-private partnership (PPP) projects, which was earned from PPP projects in 2017-2020.

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