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PM agrees with HCMC having more autonomy

Released at: 17:30, 07/09/2017

PM agrees with HCMC having more autonomy

PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc (R) at the meeting with HCM City leaders on September 6. Photo: VGP

Meeting with HCMC leaders hears PM say that city needs to have greater decision-making powers for it to continue to be the country's growth engine.

by Quang Huy

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has agreed with a proposal to increase Ho Chi Minh City’s decision-making powers to help the country’s largest city develop to its full potential.

He told a meeting with city leaders on September 6 that he agreed with the establishment of “exclusive policies” for the city, giving it authority over certain matters that are currently under the jurisdiction of ministries or central government units.

Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue said the city has a lot of growth potential but is struggling with strained infrastructure, flooding, and environmental pollution. “There must be special policies for the city or its growth will slow,” he said.

Addressing the challenges facing the city’s development, Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung said that its increasing population places huge pressure on its infrastructure, especially in terms of traffic and housing. Therefore, population management and control is the greatest challenge, he said, while adding that its role as the country’s economic locomotive requires the city develop at a high and sustainable rate.

Prime Minister Phuc agreed that specific mechanisms and policies should be developed for the city to develop rapidly and sustainably, saying that decentralization should be at the maximum level in order to promote initiatives and creativity for the city in terms of local socioeconomic executive management. For matters related to the authority of the National Assembly (NA) or newly arising issues, it is critical to make proposals at the highest level during the pilot.

The meeting was held more than three months after the Ho Chi Minh City Party Chief Mr. Nguyen Thien Nhan shared plans to ask the country’s legislators to sign off on special policies to “increase the city’s control and responsibility” over its own affairs. The former Minister of Education said the city would make a more effective contribution to the country if it could be more active.

Mr. Nhan, a member of the Politburo, took up the post in Ho Chi Minh City in May after Mr. Dinh La Thang was removed amid an investigation into “serious violations” during his time as Chairman of the State-owned energy giant PetroVietnam several years ago.

During his tenure as the city’s Party Chief, Mr. Thang, who is now the Deputy Head of the Party Central Committee’s Commission for Economic Affairs, also called for more independence. Last October, he strongly objected to the government’s request for it to contribute more money to the State budget and keep just 17 per cent of its annual income, a big drop from the 23 per cent it currently retains.

Later, Mr. Thang asked for that level to be raised to 33 per cent, but a new rule now states that the NA will decide the rate every five years.

The megacity of 13 million people is one of 20 per cent of cities and provinces in Vietnam that can cover its own expenditure and contribute to national coffers. It was again the country’s largest moneymaker last year, earning more than VND306 trillion ($13.48 billion), up 12 per cent from 2015, according to its Department of Finance.

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