Wednesday, July 18 2018 14:55
Naira Badalian

Finance sing romances: the construction of most of the North-South  highway is in question today

Finance sing romances: the construction of most of the North-South  highway is in question today

ArmInfo. Because of the meager  budgetary financing, the fate of the construction of the rest of the  North-South highway is vague. The Minister of Transport,  Communications and Information Technologies of Armenia Ashot Hakobyan  stated this at a press conference on July 18.

According to the minister, the investment program of the North-South  transport corridor consists of 5 tranches, today, in the framework of  3 tranches, the construction of a 160-kilometer section of the entire  556-kilometer North-South highway is secured. In general, as he  pointed out, the program is financed by the Asian Development Bank,  the European Investment Bank and the Eurasian Development Bank.  Within the framework of Tranche-1, $ 60 million of loans were raised  from the Asian Development Bank of ADB.  Within the framework of  Tranche-2, the Ashtarak-Talin section, with a length of 42 km. ADB  received another $ 170 million. On tranche-3, $ 100 million of ADB  loans (Talin-Landik section - 18.7 km) and 60 million rubles were  attracted on the Ashtarak-Talin section, Talin-Gyumri. EUR 12 million  of grants were raised from the European Investment Bank  (Landjik-Gyumri - 27.5 km). A $ 150 million agreement was signed with  the Eurasian Development Bank (EDB) for the implementation of the  Kajaran-Agarak Tran-4 (32 km) and the Iranian border. As a whole, the  credit portfolio amounted to about $ 540 million. As of today, as the  minister pointed out, not all loan funds have been realized - as a  loan the amount of $ 222 million was drawn up, of which $ 56.5  million was paid in advance of construction workers. "It was  preliminary announced that the cost of the program will be $ 1  billion, but it is now clear that this figure will increase," he  said.

Nevertheless, as Hakobyan stressed, the government intends to invest  all its potential, make the program transparent and increase public  control over the implementation of the investment program of the  North- South transport corridor. To date, the head of the Armenian  Ministry of Transport refrains from talking about embezzlement, since  it is not in his competence, but he promises that all those who are  guilty will answer the low-quality roads that have been built so far.  In order that henceforth there should be no such violations, a public  platform will be created, with the involvement of representatives of  NGOs that will participate in all kinds of organizational processes -  competitions, inspections, etc. As ArmInfo informed earlier, $ 47  million will be allocated to the continuation of the program for the  construction of the North- South transport corridor in 2018. The  funds will be attracted in the form of credit resources from the  Asian Development Bank, the European Investment Bank and the Eurasian  Development Bank, and 2.8 billion drams is to be received in the form  of a grant from the European Investment Bank.

At the same time, on June 1, Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinyan  said during the government session that the Government of Armenia  intends to conduct studies on the effectiveness of using credit funds  for the construction of the road section of the Talin-Landik highway,  which is part of the North-South transport corridor. According to  him, the problems are related to poor performance of the Chinese  company Sinohydro Corporation, which committed numerous violations.  "The best way out would be to terminate the contract with this  company, but this step will not solve the problem," the deputy prime  minister said, adding that the company's actions also have corruption  risks that must be paid special attention in the research process.

Meanwhile, at the end of September last year, at a meeting with  journalists, the then minister of transport, communications and  information technologies of Armenia Vahan Martirosyan informed that  according to current calculations, the construction of the entire  556-kilometer North-South highway stretching from Bavra to Meghri  will cost in the amount of $ 2 billion, since only its southern  section, between the cities of Artashat and Meghri, according to  preliminary estimates, will cost about $ 1.5 billion. Meanwhile, five  years ago, in September 2012, when the construction of the highway  began, the amount that on representatives of the Armenian government  were more than half that amount - $ 962 million. The construction of  the corridor was originally planned to be completed in 2019. Already  today it is officially announced that the terms are postponed for  more than 2 years.  

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