Legal issues delay HCMC's sidewalk fee collection

By Gia Minh   January 18, 2024 | 05:21 pm PT
Legal issues delay HCMC's sidewalk fee collection
A man stops by a stall on the sidewalk of Nguyen Huu Canh Street in HCMC's Binh Thanh District to buy takeaway food, Oct. 4, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Tung
Ho Chi Minh City sets to charge a sidewalk usage fee starting this month but due to a lack of legal framework, it has yet to start the policy.

According to the city government, roadbeds and sidewalks are part of transport infrastructure assets, but the method of their temporary exploitation and use is not regulated in the Law on Management and Use of Public Assets and the government’s Decree 33 issued in 2019 to regulate the management, use and operation of road transportation infrastructure assets.

The Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Finance need to coordinate with relevant parties to develop an exploitation plan and submit it to the prime minister for consideration, the city People's Committee said in a statement sent to the two ministries on Wednesday.

The committee said the demand for temporary road and sidewalk exploitation permits in the area mainly came from individuals and business households.

Therefore, the city seeks guidance on whether the sidewalk management unit must develop an exploitation plan and submit it to the authorities for approval before granting permits.

The city said last year that starting Jan. 1, it would introduce new policies regarding the management of streets and sidewalks, where certain activities may be allowed on them with a cost between VND20,000 (82 U.S. cents) and VND350,000 ($14.50) per square meter, depending on location.

Sidewalks for these activities must be at least 3 m-wide, with at least 1.5 m reserved for pedestrians.

During the final week of December, several HCMC districts have started listing roads with wide sidewalks and drawn lines on them to prepare for fee collection.

For many years, sidewalks have been encroached on to do business or park vehicles, affecting traffic and aesthetics. While teams have been deployed to clean up the sidewalks in the past, the effects did not last long.

Currently, it is not clear when the city will start charging the fee.

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