Legislators are working on cutting the approval time of some key national projects to fortify the nation’s economic development.
The move would build a quicker road to addressing the nation’s pressing infrastructure concerns
National Assembly members in May will discuss the removal of key national projects from waiting for time-consuming law-maker’s approval. The projects eligible will be those with capital investment of VND20 trillion ($1.05 billion) upwards with 30 per cent financed by state funds.
According to a National Assembly draft resolution, which recently received public opinions, only projects with capital of VND35 trillion ($1.84 billion) upwards must get law-makers’ approval.
The projects must also satisfy the condition that 30 per cent of investment is contributed to by state funds, defined as the state budget, state-guaranteed credit, state credit for development, state-run firms’ capital and other kinds of government-managed capital.
Projects with state capital of VND15 trillion ($789.4 million) upwards would also have to undergo the top legislation body’s approval.
According to the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI), which is responsible for collecting public opinions on the draft resolution, the new rule would pave the way for investors to accelerate projects without having to get the blessing of law-makers, who usually only gather twice a year.
The proposed rule has received applause from some state-run corporations. “It will also encourage other investors, both domestic and foreign, to join the projects when they can see a clearer timetable and more simple administrative procedures,” said a senior official from Electricity of Vietnam (EVN).
He said the change would help EVN raise more investment from foreign and private investors for its power projects, particularly bearing in mind the fact that many EVN’s capital-starved projects were behind schedule.
“EVN has only one power project that was successful in raising funds from other local investors. Most of the remaining projects have been carried out with official development assistance (ODA) funds,” he said.
“The problem here is that it is more difficult to raise ODA for power projects now,” he noted. Some other investors also argued that because of inflation, the VND20 trillion value did not carry the same weight as several years ago.
“Therefore, the value of projects that must get the National Assembly’s investment policy permission should be raised,” said a PetroVietnam official. PetroVietnam is waiting for law-makers’ approval for two thermal power projects.
In the up-coming gathering in May, National Assembly members will discuss investment policies for PetroVietnam-invested Thai Binh 2 and Long Phu 1 plants, based in northern Thai Binh and southern Soc Trang provinces.
The two projects cost VND29.7 trillion ($1.56 billion) and VND26 trillion ($1.36 billion), respectively. The law-makers are also expected to look at the $1.7 billion Ben Luc-Long Thanh expressway, which will receive loans from the Asian Development Bank and other donors.
According to the draft resolution, other big mining projects or those are meant to the environment are also in the watchdog list of the law-makers.