Vietnam will not sell Phu Quoc airport: Transport Minister
  • | VietNamNet | June 30, 2015 07:43 PM
Transport Minister Dinh La Thang has said that Vietnam will not sell Phu Quoc airport and will only transfer the rights of exploitation.

He said this would not result in a monopoly and investors would not be allowed to raise the price of air services.

Minister Thang made the statements on the TV show “People Ask, Minister Answers” on June 28.

In the show, citizens said they had heard that the Ministry of Transport proposed to sell Phu Quoc airport to private investors.

They questioned whether the sale of such an important airport to a private investor would affect the country’s national security and defense.

Minister Thang confirmed that the government would not sell the airport, just transfer the aviation infrastructure, which is defined in laws and by-law documents.

"It is only the transfer of the airport operating rights, not the ownership of aviation infrastructure and the land as well as the responsibilities of State management agencies. The transfer must also ensure defense and security," the Minister said.

He added that aviation infrastructure used for both civilian and military purposes would not be transferred.

He also said that the investor would have to return the airport operating rights back to the government after a certain period of time.

The aviation service charges at the airport must be set under the Ministry of Finance.

"The transfer does not result in a monopoly in aviation or non-aviation service charges," the minister said.

Contractors must repair subsidence, cracked roads

Contractors will not be allowed to collect toll fees, and they must pay for repairs if cracks and subsidence are found on roads, Minister Thang said.

Thang noted that no contractor or investor will want cracks or subsidence to happen to their roads as they will have to pay for repairs. They will not dare to build roads carelessly as the ministry has increased the maintenance period of roads from two years to four years.

According to Thang, the ministry has set up a specialised team to study the causes for road subsidence and take measures to deal with it. It has helped reduce subsidence rate from 8-10 per cent in 2014 to 3.54 per cent this year.

In addition, the ministry has sent inspection teams to check projects that developed cracks and subsidence and found that the quality of building materials, overloaded trucks, and prolonged heat wave had contributed to the problem.

He affirmed that the ministry has been re-examining the criteria for project design and the management of asphalt quality. It will tighten control over overloaded trucks and the inspection of building processes to minimise damaged roads.

In response to questions on fee collection, Thang stressed there has been no overlap in fee collection between build-operate-transfer (BOT) roads and special-use roads.

He cited the Law on Traffic Roads, which stipulated that the fee levied on each means of transport running on the road, or the Road Maintenance Fund as it is named in Viet Nam, met the expenses of State-funded projects. Meanwhile, through fees on BOT projects, the money invested in the construction and maintenance of roads can be recovered.

At the programme, Thang admitted there are some wrongly placed toll stations collecting double tolls. He noted that his ministry has been revising and cancelling improper stations. The tollbooth at Deo Ngang Tunnel, for example, will be the first to be cancelled early next year if negotiation with its investor succeeded, he added.

Responding to complaints about high fee on BOT projects, Thang commented that BOT roads such as Noi Bai-Lao Cai shortened travel time, cut associated costs by 30 per cent, and provided healthier and safer travel options for drivers and passengers.

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