Most build, operate and transfer projects in the transport sector have appointed contractors and not gone through tendering.
Build, operate and transfer (BOT) projects have made headlines due to continual problems. Cai Lay BOT project has faced strong opposition from drivers due to its high fees. To oppose the fees, drivers used small notes, costing more time for the station officers for the fee collection.
The public has raised concerns about problems of BOT toll station projects in Vietnam. However, the Ministry of Transport ignored criticism and tried to defend the tolls.
To date, the majority of BOT transport projects in Vietnam have appointed contractors, instead of going through a tendering process to select the most appropriate bids.
The Ministry of Transport claimed the appointment was due to the urgency of the projects. It would take longer for projects to go through the tender process. However, are all the projects urgent and they can ignore proper tendering processes?
A recent report from the Government Inspectorate showed that more than 70 BOT projects of the Ministry of Transport have appointed contractors.
In reality, many projects in other areas which are even more urgent than BOT transport projects such as natural disaster prevention, electricity network development, and hospital and school construction have all gone through the tender process to ensure transparency and competitiveness.
The ministry’s explanation has led to public concern over the role of interest groups in the contractor appointment process.
A recent check on seven BOT toll stations conducted by the Government Inspectorate indicated that the distance among these stations was shorter than 70 kilometres as regulated.
Meanwhile, many projects which only upgraded road surfaces, have also collected fees which are even higher than the fees for big road projects.