The State Audit Office of Vietnam (SAV) has ordered investors of several build-operate-transfer (BOT) developers to shorten their period of charging tolls, following a comprehensive inspection into traffic infrastructure projects across the country.
The inspection was carried in the first seven months of this year, Ho Duc Phoc, head of the SAV, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
As per the request, the developer of the Co Chien Bridge in the southern province of Tra Vinh has been asked to cut down their concession period by five years from the initial period of 20 years.
The charging period of a project on the National Highway 19 was reduced by seven years and seven months while another in the Central Highlands was abbreviated by ten years, among other projects.
BOT is a project-financing framework in which the developer receives a concession from the private or public sector to finance, design, construct and operate a facility for a certain period, during which it has to raise the finances for, and is entitled to retain all revenues generated by, the project.
The facility will be then transferred to the public administration at the end of the concession agreement.
A tollbooth at the Co Chien Bridge in the southern province of Tra Vinh. Photo: Tuoi Tre
According to Phoc, the decision was based on the national policies and regulations promulgated by the state, and results of financial audit of the projects.
More inspection of BOT projects will be conducted next year, the official said, adding that he would suggest a stricter compliance with regulations regarding the management of such property.
Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Ngoc Dong said in interview with Tuoi Tre that the reduction of concession time was determined based on the gap between the estimated expenses and real spending of the construction.
“The Ministry of Transport has been calculating the particular amount of money spent in each project as well as the time it took to complete each construction to issue the corresponding reduction of charging period,” Dong elaborated.
According to Duong Danh Huy, an official from the Ministry of Transport, inflation rate is one of the main causes of the deference between estimated and actual spending.
Errors and miscalculation by contractors also contribute to the difference, Huy continued.