Deputy Transport Minister Nguyen Hong Truong spoke on the Government website about work that still needed to be done to complete 2,000km of highways by 2020.

Q: Under the transport restructuring project approved by the Government in January, the country wants to complete 2,000km of highways by 2020, five years from now. The need to attract funding outside the State budget remains a challenge. Are you confident we can meet the deadline?

A: We all know that transport infrastructure development is a critical component of our plan to revamp the sector. We have made every effort to do so.

Currently, 600km of highway has been built. Some of these highways have been put into operation, such as Noi Bai -Lao Cai, Hanoi-Hai Phong.

We are confident that we can even surpass the goal of building 2,000km by 2020 by 200km. We are implementing many programs and solutions to attract funding. It's highly feasible.

Q: One of the project's goals is to attract nearly 500 trillion VND (23 billion USD) outside the State budget. What kinds of policies have been put into place to make sure the goal is met?

A: For the past five years, the Ministry has mobilised nearly 30 trillion VND outside the State budget, mainly to develop National Highway 1 and National Highway 14, which pass through the Central Highlands region.

The ministry must draw funding from various sources: ODA, credit loan from international organizations, and investment in the build-operate-transfer (BOT) and public-private-partnership (PPP) models.

Regarding the PPP model, the Government has issued Decree 15/2015/ND-CP and Decree 30/2015/ND-CP on investment in the form of PPP and selection of investors to implement the projects.

Under these decrees, the State can contribute up to 80 percent of total investment capital for PPP projects and ensure site clearance. Previously, the State could only contribute 20 to 30 percent.

This can become the reason international and domestic investors invest in the development of our infrastructure system.

The Government participates in the investment process, but must also accept the risks. I think that's a very important point to keep in mind.

Q: Some experts believe that we need a legal framework to define the responsibilities of investors, and that not everyone can have the right to buy Government infrastructure projects. What are your thoughts on this?

A: Transferring certain infrastructure projects' operation rights to domestic and foreign investors is a new issue. However, it has been done in many countries. This can allow us to raise funds for other infrastructure projects.

Currently, many investors want to have the operation rights transferred to them in the areas of ground transport, railways, seaports and airports. But I agree that we need to have a legal framework to avoid monopolies and other problems that could crop up when the Government is not in charge of operations.

We already provided the Government with regulations we thought should be put into place and introduced investors to the conditions.

For example, the Ministry of Transport will provide the investors with a plan to ensure that fees couldn't be raised needlessly. The public should not have to worry about investors being able to raise fees at any time. That condition has to be laid out in the contract between the Government and investors. It must follow the economic climate of the time, as well.-VNA