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Vietnam: Lawmakers propose private sector investment in metro projects
Anh Kiet 15:49, 2020/11/06
It should be noted that private economic groups, if supported by the Vietnamese government, can build railway much faster and more efficiently than state-owned peers.

Vietnam can call on foreign corporations to invest in national railway or even acquire foreign metro line technology to develop its own a high-value railway industry chain.

National Assembly (NA) deputy Hoang Van Cuong from Hanoi made the recommendation at an NA sitting on November 5.

 Deputy Hoang Van Cuong speaks at a National Assembly sitting on November 5. Photo: Kinhtedothi.vn

"It should be noted that private economic groups, if supported by the Vietnamese government, can build the railway much faster and more efficiently than state-owned enterprises," said Mr. Cuong.

He concurred with the appraisal for a VND65 trillion (US$2.8 billion) metro line project linking Van Cao street and the Hoa Lac High-tech Park in Hanoi, whose report has been submitted to the NA.

This is one of the eight metro lines Hanoi plans to build until 2030 to improve its mass transit system and ease traffic congestion. It also helps develop the Hoa Lac satellite urban area and is the foundation to promote Vietnam’s railway industry.

Sharing Mr. Cuong's view, at an NA sitting on November 3, deputy Nguyen Phi Thuong from Hanoi also proposed studying the model of private urban railway like the one of Japan’s Tokyo to lighten the burden for the national budget.

Mr. Thuong said that the progress of billion-USD urban railway projects in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City has fallen behind schedule and their costs have been overrun several times, causing public frustration. These projects include Cat Linh - Ha Dong and Nhon - Hanoi Railway Station in Hanoi, and Ben Thanh - Suoi Tien and Ben Thanh - Tham Luong in Ho Chi Minh City.

Therefore, Mr. Thuong suggested that Vietnam should soon request the transfer and command of urban railway construction technology, research the policy model for private sector investment in urban railway so that investors can participate in and benefit from development of urban space and exploitation of land fund.

"It is necessary to evaluate and learn from the experience of using ODA for urban railway construction and be careful with the loan terms. Loans for urban railway construction are only effective when they are disbursed for a whole line, not for a stretch," Mr. Thuong stressed.

Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, the two largest cities in Vietnam, each have plans to develop eight urban railway lines. Hanoi has 318 kilometers with a total investment of US$30 billion, while Ho Chi Minh City plans to invest US$25 billion in 220km.

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