Transport Minister Ho Nghia Dung talked to Thoi bao Kinh te Viet Nam (Vietnam Economic Times) about the need for more diversified financial resources for investment in traffic infrastructure.
Viet Nam’s Socio-Economic Development Strategy for 2011-20 plans great improvements in the nation’s transport sector. How has the Ministry of Transport prepared to meet these targets?
After taking into account experiences and lessons learnt from the past development of transport infrastructure, we have defined several tasks that need to be carried out in the time to come. They include the update and perfection of transport development strategies and plans to make them more suitable with reality and harmonious with traffic development in each region and locality.
The main target of this task is to create a scientific basis for building and implementing traffic development plans in the short term, while ensuring sustainable development in the long term in accordance with Viet Nam’s human and financial resources.
Efforts will also be exerted to perfect legal documents on transport development, raise the efficiency of State management on the issue and speed up administrative reform in an attempt to create a transparent and competitive investment environment.
Do you hope that the transport sector will receive more funds from the State budget given that the ten-year socio-economic development strategy has emphasised the need to create breakthroughs in the development of transport systems?
Planning for ‘breakthroughs’ means the budget must prioritise funds for traffic infrastructure. However, in my opinion the transport sector should not solely rely on this source of funds. Viet Nam, like many other countries, must grapple with the fact that the State budget alone cannot pay for all transport infrastructure work.
If the sector is merely dependent on the State budget it means collection from taxes and fees has accounted for only 20 per cent of the Gross Domestic Products. With this figure, it will be difficult to develop transport infrastructure while ensuring we allocate funds to all the other projects that are also very important.
For this reason, the Ministry of Transport has proposed measures to the Party and Government, aiming at mobilising financial sources for infrastructure development. The ministry has also directed its focus on mobilising sources of non-budget capital. For example, in addition to Official Development Assistance, the ministry will also invite different organisations to take part in building and developing transport infrastructure under the built-transfer (BT), build-operate-transfer (BOT) and public-private-partnership forms.
Besides this, financial sources earned from the real estate market should also be taken into account. Specifically, when the State builds an infrastructure project, prices for land in the area will increase tenfold or even a hundred fold. So there is a responsibility for people benefiting by the increase in land value to invest some money back into local infrastructure. We have not yet been able to ensure this, but if we can, I think it would be a huge financial source to help develop infrastructure.
The near future will be considered as a time to focus on quality for sustainable development. How will the transport sector play its part in this area?
The transport sector has already stated that this year the focus will be on quality construction work. Due attention will be given to strengthen prevention measures and strictly punish violations of quality standards, while also combating waste and corruption in investment.
The ministry has clearly defined that it will attach special importance to improve people’s quality of life, mitigate negative impacts on the environment and take into account the impacts of climate change when developing transport infrastructure and forms of transportation.
Traffic and transport projects and services must be increasingly modern and environmentally friendly. They must be safe, convenient and contribute to alleviate poverty. They should also be developed to speed up cultural exchange and ensure security and national defence among other objectives.
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