The Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model, including the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) contract, used to be expected to create a breakthrough for mobilizing the capital for infrastructure development. However, recently, this has revealed its ugly side and triggered the public controversy.
TheLEADER had a short talk with Dr Le Dang Doanh, economist, former Director of the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM) on this topic.
What is the biggest issue in the implementation of recent BOT traffic projects, sir?
Dr Le Dang Doanh: The nature of the BOT is not bad. However, in Vietnam, the whole process of implementing BOT projects is distorted.
Recently, the Government Inspectorate has identified five main issues, including the lack of transparency, of BOT projects. In Vietnam, the contractors of almost all BOT projects are assigned, so transparency cannot be guaranteed.
Also, we have neither had a clear legal framework for BOT projects nor clearly defined the responsibility of the management units and investors of the projects. As a consequence, BOT projects have benefited the interest groups.
In your opinion, how does the "mess" of BOT tolls affect the people and the economy?
Dr Le Dang Doanh: Improper BOT tolls affects not only the traffic but also the whole society. It increases the cost of transportation, which precedes the cost of goods.
It will take away the competitive edges of businesses and even lead to bankruptcy and redundancy. The economy will decline in general.
On the other hand, when the public find the projects unreasonable, they will angrily react. Soon, we will implement the BT (build-transfer) model. For this type, people cannot even know which land plots the government will take, how much they are priced,...
I think if there is no detailed plan to ensure transparency, this model will be even more dangerous.
So, to continue the BOT and BT projects, what solutions should the Government come up with?
Dr Le Dang Doanh: In the future, the Government should implement the BOT and BT projects with close supervision from relevant management agencies. More important, transparency must be strictly guaranteed, especially in bidding. Also, the State should complete the legal framework as soon as possible.
Besides, to controversial BOT tolls, the authorities need to seriously inspect them to abolish or relocate if necessary.
Thank you very much!