Ho Chi Minh City’s economy grew by 11.7 percent in the first nine months and should easily beat the target of 12.2 to 12.5 percent for the entire year, the director of Planning and Investment told the People’s Committee yesterday.
Mr. Thai Van Re reported a gross domestic product figure of VND155 trillion for the January to September period, a number that should reach VND228 trillion by the end of December in his department’s estimation.
Tax revenue is also on track to exceed the target. Already this year the city has collected VND61,779 billion in tax and should end up with VND 80,945 billion, well above the target of VND77,959 billion.
The strongest growth has been in the service sector, which now accounts for 51.5 percent of the city’s economy, Mr. Re said, and cited banking, finance, tourism, transportation, ports, postal services and telecommunications as the outstanding examples of heady growth.
|A company manufacturing motorcycle spare-parts for export in Le Minh Xuan Industrial Zone|
Not so good, however, is the disbursement of funds for public works, he said.
In fact, of the VND13,253 billion earmarked for this purpose in 2007, only 50 percent has been disbursed.
In support, Mr. Le Minh Tan from the Cu Chi District People’s Committee noted that little headway is being made with building five industrial parks in the district, and blam a lack of funding from the public purse.
Similarly, construction of the Botanical and Zoological Garden in Cu Chi ground to a halt long ago because the district lacked the money to compensate the affected residents.
Blame for the slow disbursement of funds, he said, lies mostly with the complicated formalities and the insufficient compensation for people whose homes must be cleared away.
Mr. Tran Hoang Quan, chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee, said in response that the relevant agencies should speed up the disbursement of funds for capital construction.
“A few years ago, most of our plans for capital construction had to wait as we didn’t have the money. Now we do have enough funds, but their disbursement is slow. We should not let what happened in the past happen again,” Mr. Quan said.
While economic growth is important, he said, it should not be to the people’s detriment. What the city’s leaders must do is make sure that the overall standard of living improves. The quality of growth is what matters.
Although Ho Chi Minh City is taking the lead in eradicating hunger and alleviating poverty, he said, there are still 32,732 disadvantaged households making up 2.65 percent of the city’s population.