The The Hồ Chí Minh City Urban Railway Company No.1, the city’s Metro Line No 1 operator, has reportedly not yet paid employee salaries and social insurance since August 2021. VNA/VNS Photo

The completion time of HCM City's metro No 1 has been adjusted to the end of 2023, with a project completion timeline of 2024-2028, according to a recent decision by the city’s People’s Committee.

Contractors of the metro line, also known as the Bến Thành – Suối Tiên line, have until the end of 2025 to report any project defects, and the time for supporting operation and maintenance runs until the end of 2028.

The Urban Railway Management Board (MAUR) must organise the implementation of the project on the approved schedule, develop detailed plans to perform the remaining jobs according to schedule requirements and analyse risks and contingency time, in case of any delay.

MAUR will coordinate with the departments of Planning and Investment, and Finance to ensure the capital sources for the project implementation, provide solutions for capital risks and take full responsibility for a delayed project.

The Department of Planning and Investment is responsible for advising the HCM City People's Committee on arranging capital sources for the project. It has been asked to send a document to the Ministry of Planning and Investment to register the need for a medium-term plan of foreign capital allocated from the Central budget for the project.

The Department of Finance is responsible for advising on the implementation of on-lending procedures for ODA capital and taking the necessary steps related to the completion of the project's signing of Loan Agreement No 4.

To operate commercially, metro No 1 must resolve several obstacles, including selecting organisations to assess and certify system safety, getting approval from the State Inspection Council for the acceptance outline, and handling existing problems.

The Hồ Chí Minh City Urban Railway Company No 1 needs to supplement its capital soon to recruit operating personnel. So far, 21 out of 36 of the company's staff have quit in the past two years.

The City People's Committee has urgently requested the Ministry of Finance to settle the operating expenses of the No 1 Urban Railway Company Limited. The company has exhausted all advance funding and has not paid salaries or social insurance contributions since August 2021. 

The debt currently stands at VNĐ6.7 billion. 

Metro No 1 has achieved an overall volume of over 94 per cent, and the contractor has planned to provide personnel for training and technology transfer from March 2023.

However, due to a lack of funding, the company has not met the personnel requirements, directly affecting the completion and commissioning of the project.

Metro No 1 construction contractors may sue the investor for failing to provide personnel to receive training and technology transfer under the contract.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has also urged all levels to promptly consider and settle funding for the company to avoid affecting the preparation for commercial operation and exploitation.

As the first urban railway project in HCM City, Metro No 1 was approved in 2007 with a total capital of more than VNĐ17,000 billion.

The project has faced various difficulties and obstacles since work began in August 2012 and was initially expected to be completed and operational by 2018. VNS