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Gov't considers giving Vietnam Railways back to transport ministry

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has ordered an analysis on a proposal to move Vietnam Railways (VR) under the umbrella of the transport ministry following legal confusion that left the corporation with no budget for railway maintenance.

A North-South train run by Vietnam Railways. — VNA/VNS Photo

The Ministry of Transport (MoT) and the Commission for the Management of State Capital at Enterprises – which currently oversees VR – were specifically asked to weigh in on the proposal voiced by experts and National Assembly deputies.

The MoT itself has repeatedly asked to take back VR – which was handed to the commission in September 2018, with its latest request submitted to PM Phuc in June last year.

According to the MoT, the ministry is responsible for making budget estimates for VR to carry out maintenance work for the ageing national railway network as regulated in the Law on Railway Transport and relevant decrees.

But if it does so, the ministry will risk going against the Law on State Budget, in particular Article 49, which clearly states that the MoT is only allowed to prepare the budget estimate for units under its management.

VR, meanwhile, is no longer under the ministry’s umbrella.

The Commission for Management of State Capital at Enterprises is also unable to approve the budget for the VR legally. It is only permitted by the railway law to monitor the use of the State budget for production and business purposes, not for asset management under which maintenance work for the railways is categorised.

The MoT said that it would be best to transfer VR back to clear up confusion while avoiding the hassles of amending laws and related decrees. — VNS

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