Mekong infrastructure poor: Deputy PM

Tuesday, Aug 23, 2016 10:08

The Can Tho Bridge connects Can Tho City and the southern province of Vinh Long. — VNA/VNS Photo An Hieu
CAN THO (Biz Hub) — Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue has instructed ministries and local governments in the Mekong Delta to prioritise investment in transportation projects that would help enhance connectivity.

Hue, who chaired a conference in Can Tho yesterday on development of transport infrastructure and logistics in the delta, said the region's significant achievements notwithstanding, in these areas it lags behind the rest of the country.

Poor connectivity between roads in production and consumption areas directly affect the region's socio-economic development, he pointed out.

Investment in infrastructure remains low, he said. The dense river network, the delta's big advantage, has not seen the investment required to develop water transport, he said.

However, infrastructure and logistics plans should dovetail with the socio-economic development strategies of local governments and the transport sector, he said.

Hue, who is also chairman of the Southwestern Region Steering Committee, suggested that after the conference local governments and ministries should inform the Government about plans for developing transport infrastructure and logistics so that budget allocations and investment plans can be made.

Deputy Minister of Finance Nguyen Huu Chi said while the country has 740km of expressway, the delta accounts for only 60km.

Construction of the HCM City – Can Tho Expressway has been delayed for eight years after ground was broken for it, he said.

He urged the government to speed up extension of the HCM City-Trung Luong Expressway to Can Tho so that the construction is finally finished.

With the project, the delta's infrastructure would partly improve, Chi added.

Nguyen Van The, Secretary of the Soc Trang Province Party Committee, concurred with Chi that the HCM City - Can Tho Expressway is vital for the delta.

Investing the VND28 trillion (US$1.2 billion) it requires should be the top priority, he said, adding the National Highway 1 passing through the delta also needs an upgrade.

The conference was organised by the Southwestern Region Steering Committee and Ministry of Transport.

The delta has roughly 4,718km of national highways, 2,030km of provincial roads, and 72,851km of district and country roads. It also has 13,000km of waterways, with 7,000km managed by authorities.

But the waterways have not proved very efficient. Marine traffic has not developed well despite the immense potential since many river mouths have not been dredged.

The delta has two international airports in Can Tho and Phu Quoc.

Rach Gia and Ca Mau airports have a combined capacity of five million passengers.

According to the Ministry of Transport, the delta has totally 10 build-operate-transfer projects that collect tolls.

In 2016-20, the government will invest VND91 trillion (US$4.1 billion) in transport infrastructure in the delta, with a third coming from its own resources and the rest from ODA loans. — VNS

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