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HCMC education funding tied up in red tape tangle

Update: September, 26/2013 - 09:31
The city offers the loan for building and expanding kindergartens, schools, colleges, and other institutions a maximum of US$4.8 million through the HCM City Finance and Investment State-Owned Company.— Photo phunuonline

HCM CITY (VNS)— HCM City has been offering interest-free funding for educational projects, especially private schools, since 2011, but many complain it is almost impossible to borrow because of red tape.

The city offers the loan for building and expanding kindergartens, schools, colleges, and other institutions a maximum of VND100 billion (US$4.8 million) through the HCM City Finance and Investment State-Owned Company (HFIC).

Speaking at a workshop yesterday, Le Hoai Nam, deputy head of the city Department of Education and Training, said the programme funds expansion of facilities and purchase of equipment.

But Pham Thanh Tam, rector of Hong Duc Private High School in Tan Phu and Binh Thanh districts, said it is not easy to borrow and involves a long wait for verification by multiple agencies like the departments of planning and investment, construction, and planning and architecture.

His school had filed an application with the construction department in 2011, but has yet to hear from it, he said.

A representative of Ngo Thoi Nhiem Private High School in District 9, who asked not to be named, said she had been interested in borrowing from the programme and applied to the planning department in 2000.

"The department has still not replied," she said.

Not surprisingly, she said she is no longer keen on borrowing.

Bui Gia Hieu, chairman of Nhan Viet Private High School in HCM City and Central Highlands Dak Lak Province, said he had hoped to benefit from the stimulus programme.

But since he did not have experience in making investment plans, he had to hire a consultancy, he said.

But that would have cost VND2 billion ($95,238), a sum the school cannot afford, he said.

He hoped the HFIC would set up a consultancy division to make it easier for schools.

Nam said so far there have been only 59 borrowers under the programme. —VNS

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