ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
PM orders transport sector to boost infrastructure
Vietnam: The national transport sector has been told to seek ways of developing infrastructure to catch up with the growing travel demand of Vietnamese people, despite a severe shortage of capital.
The order was issued by Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc on Thursday when he chaired a meeting with the ministry’s representatives in an attempt to overcome a range of challenges faced by the sector.
Ministry data shows that the transport sector is in need of nearly VND953 trillion (US$41.8 billion) by 2020. However, the real capital that the ministry has been allocated so far is about VNĐ210 trillion ($9.2 billion).
Speaking at the meeting, Phúc said that transport infrastructure plays a key role in the nation’s socio-economic development. Therefore, its development is vital, he added.
Phúc said mobilising private capital was one of the main solutions the ministry should consider.
Phúc said, in the past, when Viet Nam wanted to buy an airplane, the State-owned aviation agencies had to seek credits which would be guaranted by the Government. Now, we had a lot of airplanes bought by private firms without the Government’s guarantee. And it was still okay.
Additionally, Phuc pointed out shortcomings in policies that hindered the development of the sector. These policies were often not attractive enough to lure investors to join Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) projects.
Pressures caused by slow land clearance and high levels of compensation for resettlement and risks of exchange rate changes over the course of a project are believed to be additional reasons discouraging investors.
Phúc required the ministry and relevant agencies to fix the shortcomings in April.
Improving the quality of transport works was also one of the assignments Phuc gave the ministry at the meeting.
“Many investors bid to build a road, and they gain substantial profits, they allegedly only spend a small percentage of total capital investment,” he said.
This results in weak transport infrastructure.
“We must urgently come up with solutions. We cannot keep losing money like this,” he said.
Speaking on the continuing problem of overloaded trucks, Phúc said the heads of relevant ministries had to take responsibility for the lack of control.
At the meeting, he also told the ministry to stop the illegal exploitation of sand that affects waterway traffic, and violations related to level crossings to ensure railway traffic safety.
Traffic accidents kill 1,570 in 2 months
Data from the National Committee for Traffic Safety reported on Thursday afternoon that traffic accidents killed 1,570 people and injured 2,660 others within the first two months of this year across the country.
The figures recorded 20 fewer fatalities than the same period last year, and 707 fewer injuries.
Although the figures had dropped, tragic traffic accidents were still being recorded, Khuat Viet Hung, vice chairman of the committee said at the meeting.
Hùng said the target for the second quarter of this year was to reduce traffic fatalities and injuries by 5-10 per cent.
In addition, controlling traffic jams in big cities was to be a major task, he added.
In a related movement, a fatal traffic accident on Thursday morning killed at least three people and injured 14 others in northern Hà Nam Province. The traffic accident turned a wedding into a tragedy when a van carrying the groom’s relatives crashed into a truck.
Speaking at the meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Trương Hòa Bình, said his thoughts were with the victims’ families. He sent his deep condolences to everyone affected by the incident. Bình also directed local authorities of Hà Nam to support the victims’ relatives and quickly investigate the cause of the crash. — VNS
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