Ho Chi Minh City asks central government for more power

Seven years after the implementation of the Government’s Decree 93 on management decentralization between the central government and that of Ho Chi Minh City, the city now proposes the government loosen a number of management principles in the Decree that do not fit the development of the city anymore.

East and West Avenue is under construction

Decree 93 sets out the powers, responsibilities and obligations of the city government to the central government in areas such as project planning, finance, housing and land, socio-economic investment, urban development, infrastructure and human resources.

At a December 17 seminar organized by the HCM City Department of Home Affairs to collect suggestions from city authorities on the issue, the director of the Department of Home Affairs, Chau Minh Ty, said the city should be allowed to collect fees from users of automobiles, motorbikes, real estate and infrastructure and owners of discotheques, restaurants and karaoke shops.

Mr.Ty said the framework for such fees should be set by the city People’s Council instead of the central Ministry of Finance and the city should be allowed to use the money for a certain period of time - two years or three years, for example - to invest in infrastructure development before paying them to the state budget.

Delegates at the seminar proposed that the government should let the city appropriate between 5 percent and 10 percent of the total annual source of export revenues and use the proceeds for infrastructure development in the city.

Mr. Nguyen Van Hiep, deputy director of the Department of Construction, highlighted the continued sluggishness in carrying out urban development projects due to difficulties in paying compensation to households who have to move to make way for the developments.

Mr. Hiep said that it was really hard for project investors and house owners to come to an agreement on compensation. He gave an example of the Eden apartment building in District 1, where the investor has offered compensation of VND770 million (US$45,347) a square meter to apartment owners, but they rejected the offer, saying it was below the market price, and refused to move.

He said: “To iron out the problem, the two parties should be allowed to hire price assessment companies of their own to determine compensation. The higher price will be chosen and used as the compensation price.”

Deputy Chairman of District 6 People’s Committee, Tran Huu Tri, said that the city should be allowed to increase the fines on those caught breaking building and environment regulations. He said that the current minimum fine of VND200,000 was not enough of a deterrent.

As to human resources, Chairman of Go Vap District People’s Committee Truong Van Non suggested a raise in basic salaries of city’s civil servants with an additional salary coefficient. He said that the annual per capita income in Vietnam was US$700, but it should be up to US$1,700 in HCM City.

The Department of Home Affairs will submit the proposals to the HCM City People’s Committee for consideration before seeking approval from Prime Minster Nguyen Tan Dung.  

Source Nguoi Lao Dong + SGGP – Compiled by Phuong Lan

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