HCM City is struggling to seek funds for projects in seven breakthrough programmes because of budget constraints, officials said at a meeting in HCM City.
|Nguyễn Hữu Cảnh Street in HCM City’s Bình Thạnh District was seriously flooded recently due to heavy rains. The city is seeking funding to develop flood-control projects as one of its seven breakthrough programmes. — VNA/VNS Photo An Hiếu|
Reducing budget spending and mobilising investment from private resources were among the solutions discussed at the meeting on Wednesday.
Trần Vĩnh Tuyến, vice chairman of the city’s People’s Committee, said the programmes were approved at the 10th meeting of the city’s Party Congress for the 2015-20 term.
However, allocation of funds for each programme has yet to be specified, he said.
The members of the People’s Committee and Party Committee will discuss the matter and make a final decision by the end of the year.
Party Secretary Đinh La Thăng said the city would need about VNĐ1 quadrillion (US$45 billion) to carry out the projects. However, the figure might increase after discussion with departments and agencies, he said.
As for the overall general budget, the city has proposed that it should be allowed to keep 21 per cent of its funds instead of 18 per cent, which was recently required by the central Government. The city currently is able to keep 23 per cent.
Because it is a centrally governed city, HCM City must give a certain percentage of its revenue to the central government. The city is expected to collect VNĐ360 trillion ($16.2 billion) worth of revenue in 2017.
Representatives from the city’s Department of Finance said departments and agencies, before calling for investment, must study the impact of the projects in the seven breakthrough programmes in the entire southern region, instead of only the city.
Võ Văn Hoan, head of the Office of the People’s Committee, said the city must carefully study the list of projects in the breakthrough programmes calling for investment because ODA loans were less available than before. ODA loans are now usually short term and with high interest rates, he added.
He said that HCM City should call for investment from all private resources, especially in the fields of health and education.
Many projects that use city funds have been inefficient, while projects funded with private capital are more cost-effective, Hoan added.
The city should carry out a pilot programme to call for private investment in one or two public schools and public hospitals to reduce budget expenditures, he added.
Hoan also said that District 9 Hospital, for instance, was facing serious financial problems. The hospital managers want to demolish the hospital and build another facility.
Hoan recommended that the city call for businesses to invest in the hospital, adding that any state-owned business with 49 per cent of capital must withdraw all the capital for equitisation.
Trần Vĩnh Tuyến, vice chairman of the city’s People’s Committee, urged departments and agencies to report to the Department of Planning and Investment about the projects’ investment needs and how to mobilise funds.
Hoan said the Department of Planning and Investment would report to the city about technologies used to develop the projects to ensure they are cutting edge for use in a “smart city”.
The Department of Finance has been assigned to give advice on local and foreign investment to develop the projects.
The People’s Committee and Party Committee are expected to issue resolutions for project implementation in the seven breakthrough programmes early next year.
In addition, Trần Vĩnh Tuyến, vice chairman of the People’s Committee, also said that the city would stop investing in public cars and switch to car rentals for Government officials to reduce expenditures.
Tuyến also noted that all public projects must apply new technologies to enhance project efficiency.
“Application of outdated technologies to public projects in general is costly, which ends up being viewed as corruption,” Tuyến said.
Earlier, deputies of the 10th meeting of the city’s Party Congress approved the seven breakthrough programmes for human resource development, administrative reform, growth quality, competitiveness improvement, traffic congestion and flooding control, and cityscape rehabilitation.
The programmes will benefit local residents and businesses because they deal with pressing issues like flooding, traffic congestion, seawater intrusion, air pollution and complex bureaucracy.