Northern highlands to receive infrastructure investment priority: PM

By Bach Quang
Sun, August 28, 2022 | 3:49 pm GTM+7

Public investment priority should go to expressways, airports and international border gates in the northern highlands, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh said Saturday.

This would create new economic impetus, Chinh told a forum held in Lao Cai province on socio-economic development for the region until 2030 with vision until 2045.

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh speaks at a forum in Lao Cai province on August 28, 2022. Photo courtesy of the government's portal.

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh speaks at a forum in Lao Cai province on August 28, 2022. Photo courtesy of the government's portal.

The northern highlands covers 14 provinces: Lang Son, Cao Bang, Ha Giang, Lao Cai, Lai Chau, Dien Bien, Son La, Bac Giang, Thai Nguyen, Bac Can, Tuyen Quang, Phu Tho, Yen Bai, and Hoa Binh.

The region has an especially important, strategic location in terms of politics, economics, national security and external relations, according to the government. It has potential to develop border trade and holds advantages in trade connections with China and ASEAN.

The northern highlands has mineral resources and strong agriculture, forestry and aquaculture sectors. It is also considered the lung of the nation as it boasts the highest forest coverage rate in the country.

Minister of Transport Nguyen Van The said at the forum that new airports in Lao Cai, Dien Bien and Son La provinces can create breakthroughs for the region.

“Airports are vital to the region’s socio-economic development in the context of many difficulties faced in building roads in mountainous areas. That will help the region attract investment from private companies including Samsung which delivers their products by air across the world,” The said.

The region needs breakthrough infrastructure changes to connect to the center of the Red River Delta, Hanoi, and seaports in Hai Phong, Quang Ninh and China, he added.

The minister noted that the government and localities are making significant infrastructure changes to better connect the region with Hanoi, international border gates and the international seaport Lach Huyen in Hai Phong city.

The transport ministry will also support provinces to invest in new roads or expand some expressways with high traffic like the routes between Yen Bai and Lao Cai provinces, between Hanoi’s Hoa Lac District and Hoa Binh province, and between Son La province’s Moc Chau district and Dien Bien province, he said.

Also Saturday, PM Chinh checked ongoing work on the Sapa airport in Cam Cot commune, Lao Cai. With an investment of VND4,183 billion ($178.6 million), the airport will cover 300 ha in the first phase that will create capacity to handle 1.5 million passengers.

The project is being implemented in the form of a public-private partnership with VND2,990 billion ($127.7 million) coming from private investors. Airport construction began this March. The VND2,765 billion second phase, to be carried out after 2028, will see the airport’s capacity increase to 3 million passengers a year.

The Prime Minister said it should function as be a military-civil airport, and called for studies to connect it with the Noi Bai-Lao Cai Expressway.

Sapa town, home to the airport, is one of Vietnam's most pupular travel destinations.

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