TRAIN services in Vietnam could ground to a haltin less than two weeks unless a funding issue with its national operator Vietnam Railways (VNR) is resolved.
The revelation was made by the chairman of VNR's member council, Vu Anh Minh, who said the railway operator had not received any money from the government since November 2018.
The government had then implemented changes in how VNR was managed and stopped the flow of cash, leaving the corporation without a budget for railway maintenance.
According to Vietnam News, the VNR was under the Transport Ministry until November 2018, when it moved out as part of efforts to separate state capital management from corporate administration.
Before the transfer, the annual budget estimates allocated to the VNR for maintenance work were made by the Transport Ministry.
The funding shortfall has left more than 11,000 railway workers unpaid since early this year.
Minh said if the problem was still unresolved early next month, the corporation will have to halt train operations.
He said to make up for the budget shortage, maintenance companies under the VNR had advanced about 200 billion dong to continue the work, but warned that this could not be sustained.
The Transport Ministry has also proposed taking back the VNR under its control to clear this situation with Pr ime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc asking the
ministry to assess the proposal and report to the government early next month.
Deputy Transport Minister Nguyen Ngoc Dong said the ministry had assigned consultant agencies to assess the pros and cons of re-transferring the VNR
back to the transport ministry.