Transpor Ministry asking ministries’ opinions about metro project

The Ministry of Transport is now asking relevant ministries and agencies’ opinions about the first metro line project of HCMC, Ben Thanh-Suoi Tien, after the Japanese Ambassador to Vietnam warned of construction halt due to late payment to contractors and consultant.

The construction site of Ben Thanh-Suoi Tien metro line project (Photo: SGGP)

The construction site of Ben Thanh-Suoi Tien metro line project (Photo: SGGP)

Specifically, the Japanese Ambassador has recently sent a letter to the Prime Minister and HCMC leaders, expressing concern over slow disbursement for the project.
According to the letter, payment procedures to contractors have made no progress and the unpaid amount has topped US$100 million. If the problem is not solved at the end of December, construction of the project will be halted.
The ambassador also proposed HCMC to assign relevant agencies, especially Urban Railway Management Board, to soon re-sign management consulting contract with NJPT joint venture because the contract has expired in April 2017. The consultant has worked without remuneration for the last 19 months. The late payment has amounted to US$20 million.
At a cabinet press conference last night, Minister Mai Tien Dung, chairman of the Government Office said that the project was approved in 2007 with the total investment capital of nearly VND17,388 billion including official development assistance (ODA) and reciprocal funds.
After the project was approved, HCMC has invited independant assessment consultants and got opinions of ODA sponsors, ministries, agencies and the Prime Minister about the project.
In 2011, the city approved total investment capital adjustment to VND47,325 billion.
According to the National Assembly’s resolution, the project is listed as national special important with the capital increase so it must be reported to authorized agencies.
Hence the city has reported to the Government. Afterwards, the Prime Minister has tasked the Ministry of Transport together with relevant agencies to consider solving the proposal of HCMC.
Currently, the Transport Ministry is asking opinions of relevant ministries and agencies about the project.
Minster Dung said that in the letter the Japanese Ambassador expressed concern about the late payment to contractors. However disbursement has reached VND13,630 billion out of the project’s total investment capital of VND17,388 billion. So the remaining amount is not too much.

By PHAN THAO – Translated by Hai Mien

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