WB warns HCMC that clock is ticking on $95 million loan

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A project to upgrade Kieu Bridge on Phan Dinh Phung Street in HCMC. Photo: Dinh Muoi A project to upgrade Kieu Bridge on Phan Dinh Phung Street in HCMC. Photo: Dinh Muoi

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The World Bank urged the Ho Chi Minh City government to spend US$95.3 million in funds earmarked for infrastructure upgrades before the disbursement period ends and the money becomes unavailable. 
The project began in 2004 and was scheduled to finish by the end of this year.  
The funds are part of a $267.8 million World Bank loan package that's part of a $590 million project, news website VnExpress reported. 
The bank acknowledged that the project's investor--the HCMC Urban Upgrading Investment-Investment Management Unit (HUUI-IMU)--has shown great enthusiasm for completing the project, but cautioned that a great deal of work remains to be done.
The WB promised to assist HUUI-IMU in any way possible. 
The bank called on the municipal government to mobilize every possible resource to disburse the funds as planned or face the burden of covering the project expenses out of its own budget. 
The HCMC People’s Committee responded by asking the HUUI-IMU to speed up work and assessment of the project, while at the same time ensuring high-quality work.
The HCMC Urban Upgrading Investment project is part of a larger project to alleviate poverty in urban areas by improving environmental conditions of the urban poor infour cities – HCMC and Can Tho in the south, and Hai Phong and Nam Dinh in the north. 
In HCMC, the project has, among other things, upgraded infrastructure in low-income residential areas, and upgraded some bridges.

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