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HCM City needs freedom to grow

Nov 21 2017
GBS - Deputies told the National Assembly on Monday that HCM City should have more autonomy in urban planning, building infrastructure, investment and the management of revenue for public servants’ payroll. They said this was the key for the southern city to continue to grow in the future.
HCM City is Việt Nam’s largest commercial and industrial hub. It is also the economic spearhead for the entire Mekong Delta region.

Despite continuous and rapid economic development since the beginning of the Renewal Process (Đổi Mới), the city has shown signs of sluggish growth in recent years.

There have been numerous issues, namely frequent traffic jams, pollution, over-population and difficulties in attracting investment and skilled labour.

Deputy Nguyễn Thị Mai Hoa stressed the importance of having special mechanisms in place for the city. She cited numerous occasions in the past when new policies were introduced first and tested in HCM City, such as the establishment of a central industrial complex and joint-stock commercial banks before being implemented on a nation-wide scale.

“Allowing the city special mechanisms is giving it a mission objective to test-run new management methods and policies. It will also provide the city with a much needed legal framework to continue on its growth path,” she said.

Minister of Finance Đinh Tiến Dũng voiced his support for the proposal.

“In 2015, its growth was only 9 per cent compared to 10.7 per cent in 2010. HCM City is keeping just 18 per cent of its total revenue, which it will use to cover its expenses and re-investment. It’s clear that the city’s growth is losing traction,” Dũng said.

While the majority of NA deputies showed their support, many concerns were raised over certain aspects of the proposal, namely a new tax code for property owners and land-use adjustment.

Deputies said implementing new taxes or raising existing ones may have a negative impact on the city’s residents and businesses. They sais this could render the special mechanisms counter-productive.

The finance minister reassured deputies, saying that NA’s approval was only the first step of the process. Careful planning, implementation of pilot programmes and exhaustive study of their impacts and results would be required further down the road before a concrete and final version of the city’s new policies could be decided.

Both the city’s mayor Nguyễn Thành Phong and his deputy Trần Vĩnh Tuyến attended the session as guest of the assembly.

Source: VNS
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