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Vietnam to Complete 1,327-Kilometer North-South Expressway by 2030

Vietnam is pursuing an ambitious plan to build a 1,372-kilometer north-south expressway.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc recently gave the nod to a revised cross-country expressway development project drafted by the Ministry of Transport, reports VnExpress. Once finalized, the proposal will be presented at the ongoing National Assembly session.

The proposed expressway will run from Huu Nghi Pass in the northern border province of Lang Son to Dau Giay town in southern Dong Nai, passing through 20 of the country's provinces. Because of its economic importance, the Ministry of Transport says, construction of the expressway is a pressing matter and should be prioritized over railroad development, according to Phap Luat Online.

As of now, 123 kilometers have already been finished, while another 127 kilometers are in the works. The first sub-phase of the plan, which is scheduled between 2017 and 2020, includes an additional 632 kilometers and an expansion of some existing 81 kilometers. By 2022, the highway is expected to connect Hanoi and Hue. The total route is set to be completed by 2030, costing a hefty sum of VND314.1 trillion (US$13.84 billion).

As Vietnam's public debt is mounting, authorities are seeking to attract domestic and international tenders for the projects, reports VietnamNet. However, the country’s investment laws, which require one firm to chip in at least 15% of the total budget, may put off potential developers from the project. Foreign investors, on the other hand, are sitting on the fence due to the volatile nature of Vietnam's development regulations and low credibility.

Meanwhile, economist Luu Bich Ho suggests that foreign investments can be drawn through loans. However, he also cautions that the government should be wary when borrowing from China. "Some may suggest that Vietnam should proceed on China's loans, but, according to experience, settling debts with Chinese firms has always been very complicated," Ho told the news source.

[Photo via Tuoi Tre]

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