The Bai Chay bridge crossing the Ha Long bay. Photo: Internet
The government of Quang Ninh
province has proposed not using Chinese official development assistance (ODA
) for the Van Don-Mong Cai road project and calling for domestic investment instead, local media reported.
The refusal came in following a heated debate among government agencies on whether to accept China’s offer to loan $304 million for the 96-kilometer expressway project amid concerns over strings attached.
A number of Vietnamese investors have expressed interest in taking part in this project and shown that it can be carried out under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) format, said Nguyen Duc Long, chairman of the Quang Ninh provincial People’s Committee.
The road could not be built by 2020 as per a government-approved plan if an ODA loan is taken, the provincial committee said in a document sent to the prime minister last month.
The project has an estimated cost of nearly $800 million, thus a $300 million loan from China would not be sufficient for its implementation, Long said.
The Chinese government would probably set hard-to-meet conditions while Vietnamese investors are capable of funding this project, he added.
China’s ODA offer has stirred strong debate among ministries and economists in Vietnam.
The Ministry of Transport has backed taking the loan, arguing that it is a crucial and urgent project. It even wants to replace Quang Ninh province to implement the project.
The Ministry of Planning and Investment and Ministry of Finance, meanwhile, have a more prudent stance, saying that conditions on the loan should be carefully negotiated to avoid possible delays and the deep involvement of Chinese contractors.