Lawmakers endorse direct plan to remodel HCMC administration

By Hoang Thuy   October 13, 2020 | 06:00 am PT
Lawmakers endorse direct plan to remodel HCMC administration
High-rise buildings in downtown HCMC, August 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.
Most National Assembly deputies have agreed on directly implementing a plan to remodelling HCMC’s urban administration towards meeting its special needs.

At a Monday meeting of the National Assembly Standing Committee, there was consensus that a pilot phase was not needed for the task.

Presenting the results of assessing a draft resolution on the issue, Hoang Thanh Tung, Chairman of the NA’s Committee for Legal Affairs, said the southern metropolis "is a special city, a big center of economy, culture, education, science and technology."

The city was also the economic locomotive of the entire country that operates in harmony with the southern key economic region and therefore, it was necessary to study and form a model of urban administration for its particular characteristics, he said.

The committee noted that the task would require "certain conditions," giving the city legislature more leeway in its oversight operations, but the proposal lacked such specifics. This issue acquires greater importance and urgency in the context of the city seeking to remove the People’s Councils for its wards and districts.

However, the draft resolution has no provisions to ensure conditions needed for the city legislature to improve implementation of its tasks, the committee said, suggesting the government reconsiders the authority vested in this agency in overseeing the city’s budget and other issues relating to public investment.

Speaking at the meeting, Minister of Home Affairs Le Vinh Tan said there were many reasons HCMC has not fully developed its potential, including the application of a local governance model that did not suitable its needs.

Uong Chu Luu, Vice Chairman of the NA, requested related agencies to complete the draft resolution for submission to the NA at the coming 10th session of the 14th NA, which is scheduled to open on October 19.

HCMC was granted autonomous decision-making power in September 2017 to help it develop to its full potential. Accordingly, the city can raise and add additional fees and charges to increase its budget revenue.

The megacity of 13 million people including migrants is among 20 percent of cities and provinces in Vietnam that can cover their own expenditures and contribute to the national coffers.

It was again the country’s largest moneymaker last year contributing more than VND412 trillion ($17.8 billion), roughly 27 percent of the national figure.

The city’s leaders have repeatedly said it should be allowed to keep more of its revenues to pay for infrastructure development.

Ho Chi Minh City’s population makes up 9.5 percent of the nation’s 95 million, and its labor force accounts for 8.2 percent. It contributes on average 27 percent of the state’s annual budget collection.

However, the city is only allowed to use 18 percent of its own budget collection, which the city's leaders have lamented as among the lowest ratios for megacities around the world.

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