More controversy raised over cost of Long Thanh airport project

Long Thanh International Airport model

More controversy raised over cost of Long Thanh airport project

Even though the NA Economic Committee agreed with the need to build a new airport, it also raised concerns over the amount the Long Thanh International Airport project in HCM City might add to public debt.

The cost of the first phase has been estimated at VND164.5 trillion (USD7.8 billion). The state budget, government bonds and ODA will contribute VND84.6 trillion. In addition, 5,000 hectares of land must be cleared by 2020. This difficult task is expected to complicate the project.

It is quite common for the actual cost of transport projects to exceeded their original estimates, which is why many NA deputies are worried about additional unexpected expenses.

Nguyen Van Phuc, vice chair of the NA’s Economic Committee, said, “The economy still faces a number of difficulties, so securing funds will not be easy. I want a clearer and more detailed report on the cost of this project, which includes how much will be required each year from the state budget, bonds and ODA.”

The committee also demanded clarification of the project’s purposes. Most agreed that building a new airport was not a better option than expanding the existing Tan Son Nhat Airport to meet the demands of rapidly increasing air traffic.

Securing funds for transport construction is also a challenge, as government needs to carefully weigh whether it should invest in Long Thanh Airport, the North-South Railway or develop the maritime transport system.

Phuc said, “The airport carries a huge price tag for the state budget and ODA at a time when public debt is on the rise.”

The NA Standing Committee has approved the project in principle, but asked for more details and to see a complete plan.

Source: Vietnam Investment Review

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