Da Nang to keep businesses at bay from urban planning

By Nguyen Dong   December 4, 2019 | 10:00 pm PT
Da Nang to keep businesses at bay from urban planning
The downtown of Da Nang City, Vietnam's central hub, August 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Do Anh Vu.
Da Nang City will no longer allow businesses to intervene in its urban planning process, its Communist Party chief has asserted.

Starting next year, the city will formulate plans on its own and call for investment later, the city's party leader Truong Quang Nghia said at a Tuesday meeting with almost 1,000 city residents.

He said reviewing the city's general urban plans has been a key task undertaken by the municipal administration for the past two years.

Earlier this year, the city had hired Singaporean consortium Sakae Corporate Advisory-Surbana Jurong as consultants to make adjustments to its master plans from now until 2030 and with a vision until 2045.

Based on advice from the two firms, Da Nang, considered the third major city in Vietnam after capital Hanoi and southern metropolis Ho Chi Minh City, will make development plans on its own.

It will invite businesses to invest in projects that have already been designed instead of "letting investors tell the city to do this and that and the city revising its plans following their proposals as has been done before," said Nghia.

"Every project will be implemented properly under clear management and the city will not follow businesses because this could create vested interest groups," he added.

Nghia also noted that by ensuring transparency in the urban planning process, bribery and embezzlement can be prevented and their adverse consequences avoided.

Da Nang used to enjoy a national reputation for its efficient traffic system, but in the past five years, this situation has changed with high-rise buildings mushrooming in the downtown area.

"There is no traffic infrastructure that can bear such fast development in the downtown area," Nghia said.

The "broken urban planning" has put Da Nang in a position where it not only has to deal with increasing traffic but also the provision of clean water and garbage clearance, he said.

Next year, the city will invest more than VND14.4 trillion ($620 million), double that of last year, on urban infrastructure.

"We will stop selling public land to businesses and restrict construction in the downtown area to ease the pressure there," he said.

Da Nang saw its gross regional domestic product (GRDP) grow by 6.21 percent in the first six months of this year, down from 7.24 percent in the same period last year. City legislators said at a meeting in July that the city's economic development has been affected by the Government Inspectorate’s conclusions on land violations back in 2012.

The inspectorate had concluded that the transfer of land use and land lease rights in a series of projects violated the law and caused considerable losses to the state budget while allowing several investors to illegally transfer those rights and earn profits.

Da Nang then had to tighten its land management, not only for projects that were inspected but almost every other project.

A number of its leaders and former leaders have been arrested for the violations.

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