World Bank adds $90 mln to Vietnam sewer project, deadline extended

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The World Bank has agreed to give another US$90 million to a major Ho Chi Minh City sewer project, the deadline of which has been extended for another one and a half years, a local official said on Friday.

The new deadline for completion of the Nhieu Loc Thi Nghe project is now next December. The new funds have bumped the project's total investment up to nearly $290 million.

According to the director of the project's management board, Phan Hoang Dieu, the bank increased the loans because the project has been adversely affected by construction material price hikes since it was launched in 2001. Other technical difficulties have also arisen since construction began.

The city canceled its contract with China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC), which had been contracted to construct the project's package No. 10, last month, which meant more money would be needed to hire a new contractor, Dieu said. CSCEC has been blacklisted by the World Bank for its involvement in a corruption scandal in the Philippines.

The project, which includes the dredging of the Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe Canal and the building of a hydraulically integrated sewer system, was first scheduled for completion in 2007.

But the deadline was postponed until last December and then this June due to slow progress.

The project's initial investment was US$199.96 million, including $166.34 million from the World Bank's Official Development Assistance program.

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