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Monday, October 18, 2021

VND10-trillion anti-flooding project on verge of suspension

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HCMC – An anti-flooding project worth nearly VND10 trillion in HCMC, planned to be put into operation this month, may be suspended despite being 93% completed, as an appendix to extend the deadline of the project has yet to be signed.

At a press briefing on November 3 on the project’s execution held by Trung Nam Group, the investor of the project, Trung Nam General Director Nguyen Tam Tien said the group and the HCMC government have yet to sign the contract appendix. The contract expired on June 26, 2020, the local media reported.

A negotiation team of the municipal government agreed on the content of the appendix on September 24 but the municipal Department of Planning and Investment, which is in charge of signing the appendix, has yet to agree to sign it.

The department required an overall review of the project’s dossiers. As the appendix has yet to be signed, the investor cannot continue executing the project.

In addition, the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam as the lender and the investor have informed the municipal government of the payment of loans of more than VND2.6 trillion which matured on November 15, but the city has yet to pay the loans.

As for site clearance work, land lots of 20 households in the Muong Chuoi floodgate area and those of 35 other households in three dyke sections in Nha Be District have not been taken back.

The HCMC government has yet to inform the investor about the land handover schedule as stated in the signed contract.

Tien said the Trung Nam Group has to spend VND200 million daily to execute the project. It could hold out in a maximum of two months.

If the project is delayed again, the city’s anti-flooding work will be affected.

In reality, the city has yet to make payments for incomplete items. The investor has incurred huge losses in finance, prestige, human resources and equipment over the last year.

It has sent the HCMC government a proposal to return the project if issues at the project are not resolved. The HCMC government cannot acquire the project with its current situation, posing a high risk of suspension for the project.

The first phase of this tidal flood prevention project, with the impact of climate change taken into account, started in June 2016.

The project was expected to help control flood tides for an area of some 570 square kilometers, with some 6.5 million residents on the right bank of the Saigon River and downtown.

The project was initially planned to be completed in April 2018, but was suspended for 10 months due to capital allocation problems. So the deadline to complete the project was extended to June last year.

When work on the project was resumed in February 2019, the investor committed to completing the project by the end of 2019 and put it into operation in the first quarter of 2020 if the city handed over the cleared site for the project in June 2019.

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