City govt outlines tasks for remaining half of 2009

A meeting to work on HCM City’s plans for implementing the city’s People’s Council directives for the second half of the year took place Saturday. Participants also discussed a number of current issues related to the environment, and food safety and hygiene, as well as ongoing delays of construction works in the city.

Food hygiene inspectors check food quality at a super market.

Le Hoang Quan, chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee, asked officials from the Department of Health why dozens of expired tons of frozen pork chops and goat penises had been allowed to be imported into and sold in the city.

Representatives of the department replied that the packing of the imported goat pennies had marked that the food was not for human consumption, but they did not know why businesses had imported this kind of food and put it into general circulation.

They also placed the responsibility for the fault on quarantine officials.

The Customs Department said that they allowed the goat pennies to get through clearing formalities as the goods are not on the list of forbidden commodities.

Mr. Quan accredited the responsibility for relevant authorities’ lax management by pointing out that as soon as the expired goods were discovered, they should have reported the case to the city government in a timely manner.

Mr. Quan requested the Health Department to check the compliance of state regulations on food safety and hygiene among businesses and draw up measures to overcome obstacles, which may have prevented relevant authorities from cracking down on those that intentionally violate such regulations.

For the tasks of the city government for the remaining part of the year, Mr. Quan said that the city will focus on accelerating the building of public work projects.

He said that many public works have been delayed for years and the more such projects are extended, more money has to be spent.

The Chairman revealed that the estimated funds for 88 delayed public works underway in the city have gone VND3 trillion over budget.

The reasons have been blamed on contractors’ failures in making compensation to families that have to move to give way to the projects, and the fluctuation in prices of building materials.

Mr. Quan took the Hoang Hoa Tham Bridge in District 1 as an example. Building started in 2002, with estimated costs of VND15 billion. The bridge is still not complete, despite the budget have increased to VND135 billion.

Mr. Quan questioned if there was possible collusion between consultants and contractors or those who provide estimates.

He gave the case of building of An Nghia Bridge as evidence.

Relevant authorities have proposed to cut the adjusted funds for the project from VND199 billion down to 115 billion. The initial estimated funds for the project was only VND77 billion.

The delays in building public works, said the Chairman, must be made clear and appropriate action taken against those involved in corruption.

As to the issues related to administrative reform, Mr Quan urged that public servants should not only help the people settle necessary formalities related to their paperwork in an efficient rapid manner but also be courteous to them.

He emphasized that administrative reform is also a measure to stimulate investment activities as it helps ease businesses’ burdens in coping with formalities.

The meeting also outlined plans for socio-economic development plans between 2011 and 2015.  

By Han Ni- Translated by Phuong Lan

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