Flooding, traffic accident remain major challenges in HCMC

Many economic norms exceeded plan while social issues such as flooding, traffic accidents and diseases still challenged Ho Chi Minh City’s socioeconomic development in the first nine months this year, reported at a meeting presided over by Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Chairman Le Hoang Quan yesterday.

A production line of Nissei Company at Linh Trung Export Processing Zone, HCMC (Photo: SGGP)

In the first nine months, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) posted a year on year growth of 9.1 percent to near VND650 trillion (US$29.38 billion), the highest rate for the last three years.

Director of the Department of Planning and Investment Thai Van Re said that the city’s economy showed satisfactory signs.

Specifically, exports hit US$19.5 billion, up 8 percent over the same period last year excluding crude oil. However, it reduced 5.9 percent if including crude oil.

Goods and service retail sales went up 11 percent to hit VND493.5 trillion (US$22.31 billion), industrial production index up 7.3 percent, and budget revenues up 5.5 percent to VND200.9 trillion (US$9.08 billion).

GDP growth rate would surpass plan of 9.5 percent to hit 9.8 percent this year if there was no major fluctuation, Mr. Re forecast.

People’s Committee Chairman Le Hoang Quan added that foreign direct investment (FDI) attraction to the real estate sector rocketed to account for 50 percent of the total number of US$3 billion to the city.

Foreign investors focused on high class real estate projects, which has been likely their trend ahead of the time when Vietnam will sign free trade agreements (FTA) this year.

Besides satisfactorily signs, the city faced a slew of difficulties for instance down exports because businesses failed to meet quantity and quality requirements.

A representative from the Institute for Development Studies pointed out challenges including weak support industry and imminently fierce competition in exports after FTAs’ effectiveness.

Social issues

Reports by the HCMC People’s Committee admitted that the city failed to obtain targets in coping with flooding.

By the end of September, 34 rain-triggered flooded spots had been cleared compared to target 49 out of 58 spots, and only 16 new flooded spots had been eliminated not 21 out of 29 as per plan.

Traffic accident was on the rise with dead toll increase in railway, road and waterway.

There were 552 road accidents killing 517 people, up 14 victims over the same period last year. Waterway saw three accidents with 10 dead, up two and railway dead toll hit four, up one.

The number of people hospitalized for dengue fever highly hiked because residents have been subjective in disease prevention. Growing patients from provinces has overloaded many hospitals in HCMC.

The education sector has been under pressure of student increase.

Chairman Le Hoang Quan said that the number rises by 85,000 in the 2015-2016 academic year, most of them come from other provinces and cities. This year, the city has spent VND2.3 trillion (US$102.29 million) to build, repair and upgrade classrooms.

Mr. Quan said it's a big challenge for the city to do planning of school network, build infrastructures, buy teaching equipment and increase teacher staff to meet demand and improve teaching quality.

Some major duties in the upcoming time are to speed up the progress of infrastructure projects and build more classrooms, he pointed out. In addition, the city would intensify inflation control, economic recovery and solving difficulties for local businesses.

By Van Anh – Translated by Hai Mien

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