By Kinh Luan - The Saigon Times Daily
HCMC – HCMC will have to borrow at least an additional US$600 million from the World Bank (WB) for infrastructure development, a city official said at a meeting last week to assess the WB-funded projects.
Some US$450 million is needed in the second phase of the Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe basin sanitation project, said Lam Nguyen Khoi, deputy director of the HCMC Department of Planning and Investment. However, only US$200 million lent by the World Bank is available at present.
The city initially planned to borrow the remainder from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), but so far the lender has yet to reply.
“The World Bank can finance the remaining capital, but the interest rate will be less preferential than that offered by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD),” said Khoi.
Regarding the green traffic project with US$300 million funded by the World Bank to build a bus rapid transit along the East-West Highway, HCMC vice chairman Nguyen Huu Tin said at the meeting the World Bank wants the capital to be used for system installation. However, the municipal authority deemed 30 buses enough to meet the demand of citizens, thus the majority of the loan will be used to develop roads and bridges along the route.
The city will add three bridges to this project worth approximately VND1 trillion. The additional capital can be borrowed from the International Development Association (IDA) under the World Bank.
As for the project to rehabilitate Tan Hoa-Lo Gom Canal and roads along the canal basin, Vice Chairman Tin requested the HCMC Urban Upgrade Project Authority to accelerate the progress of site clearance and execution.
Under this project, the city plans to develop a wastewater treatment plant worth US$200 million. The municipal authority intends to seek finance from the World Bank but experts deemed this unfeasible.