In 2010 the project was approved at a cost of US$1.374 billion with basic design by the Transportation Construction and Investment Consultancy Joint Stock Company.
In 2012, after construction began, the investor brought in an international consultancy consortium led by a German firm to make a detailed design.
The latter identified many errors and rectified them.
Further increasing cost was due to the fact that inflation was built into the project only for until 2016, leading to an overrun since it has been delayed.
Earlier the metro No 1 route from Ben Thanh to Suoi Tien saw its cost rise by 87% over the initial estimate to VND47 trillion (US$2.1 billion) for exactly the same reason: inexperience of the local company in designing metro systems.
The cost of the first stage of the No 5 line from Bay Hien intersection to Saigon Bridge also increased by 87% to EUR1.56 billion (US$1.85 billion) after international consultancies entered the scene.
Dr Huynh The Du, lecturer at Fullbright University, told Thanh Nien (Youth) newspaper that the city should review the entire metro project.
Vietnam should learn from the experience of the Republic of Korea and China in building metro systems, he said. In the beginning they relied on international know-how and funding, but later domestic companies took over completely, he said.
“However, Vietnam now has multiple foreign investors, limited funds and no policies to encourage technology transfer.”