Minister of Transport Nguyen Van The fields questions raised by lawmakers on June 4 (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Minister of Transport Nguyen Van The was grilled by lawmakers on June 4 about solutions to deal with problems related to transport projects invested under the form of build-operate-transfer (BOT). 

The is the first Cabinet member to reply to queries at the question and answer session of the ongoing fifth session of the 14th-tenure National Assembly (NA).

In his report, The said investment under the BOT form has been stepped up since 2009 to develop transport infrastructure. Promoting BOT investment is a policy appropriate to the reality as the budget is limited while public debt is big, he stressed.

BOT projects have made important contributions to socio-economic development and created a basis for the completion of transport system, he noted, admitting that there remain many problems in the management, invitation for bidding and operation of BOT toll booths which have yet to completely ensure harmonious interests among people, the State and investors.

Deputy Nguyen Ngoc Phuong of Quang Binh province asked about the difference in the numbers of toll collection years between the approved estimated value and the auditing results announced by the State Audit Office of Vietnam (SAV).

In response, The said approved BOT projects have big value because they include many backup costs such as those covering price depreciation, site clearance and issues that may need extra funding. 

To ensure transparency in implementing BOT projects, the Ministry of Transport asked the SAV to audit those projects before summing up total expenses, and the value after total expenses are summed up is the basis for the ministry to adjust toll collection duration and toll-related policies, he said.

The difference in the numbers of toll collection years is obvious, he said, adding that it is the backup costs in the projects with fast implementation, few cost changes and few extra costs.

Statistics of the SAV and the transport ministry are mainly similar, The said, adding that total expenses of many projects calculated by the ministry are lower than the corresponding data of the SAV.

At the Q&A session, deputy Luu Binh Nhuong of Ben Tre province attributed problems of transport projects under the public-private partnership (PPP) and BOT forms, partly to incomplete regulations, leading to many violations and failure to ensure fundamental interests of investors, people and the State.

The minister acknowledged the incompletion of regulations on BOT, especially the Law on Public Investment, noting that wrongdoings in BOT projects have been inspected and his ministry is working to address them thoroughly. The Party and State will assign authorized agencies like the Government Inspectorate and the Ministry of Public Security to strictly deal with those committing violations, he stressed.

To harmonise interests of the State, people and businesses, the ministry will pay special attention to BOT projects, The said, affirming that it has cancelled 14 BOT projects on existing roads.

BOT projects will only be implemented on newly-built roads or roads that have another running parallel so that people can choose the facilities they want to use, thus harmonising interests of the relevant sides, the minister added.-VNA