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HCM City seeks more World Bank support

Update: November, 29/2013 - 08:00
Le Hoang Quan (R), chairman of the HCM City People's Committee and Victoria Kwakwa, the World Bank country director for Viet Nam.— Photo hochiminhcity

HCM CITY (VNS) — HCM City authorities have called for the World Bank to continue giving financial support for public utility projects.

Le Hoang Quan, chairman of the HCM City People's Committee, made the request at a seminar held on Tuesday by the municipal People's Committee and the Word Bank.

According to the city's Department of Planning and Investment, since 1993 the city has developed 83 projects worth a total of VND104 trillion (US$4.94 billion) funded by Official Development Assistance (ODA) sources.

Of that number, 58 projects with a disbursed VND28 trillion (US$1.32 billion) were completed by 2012, accounting for 27 per cent of the total ODA capital.

During this period, the World Bank sponsored eight projects worth a total of more than VND6 trillion ($296 million), mainly including those involved in water environmental improvement, urban upgrading, flood prevention and public transportation development.

The department also revealed that the city is developing 23 ODA projects worth VND93 trillion (US$4.3 billion), of which four valued at nearly VND5 billion (US$238 million), and funded by the World Bank.

Addressing the meeting, Quan said the Bank had partly or fully funded those projects, making a significant contribution to the city's socio-economic development and technical infrastructure improvement.

Close supervision

Quan also said the city would ensure that capital funded by the Bank would be used effectively.

To do this, the city will continue to closely supervise projects to ensure that they are completed on schedule.

On the same day, representatives of the HCM City People's Committee also worked with representatives of the Bank and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to discuss investments in flood-prevention projects. The vice chairman of the People's Committee, Nguyen Trung Tin, said that flooding in HCM City was caused by tides, upstream water release and heavy rains.

He added that flooding caused an estimated damage of VND5 trillion (US$238 million) to the city each year.

The Tham Luong – Ben Cat project comprises seven sub-projects that include Vam Thuat River and Rach Nuoc Len tide control drains; Hy Vong canal upgrade to support the Tan Son Nhat international airport drainage system; and the construction of river-walls with total length of $660 million.

Victoria Kwakwa, the World Bank country director for Viet Nam, said that it was crucial that more funding be given to increase the city's capacity to prevent flooding.

She added that the Bank would also be willing to provide research assistance to the city in the Tham Luong – Ben Cat project, and create an implementation road map that would improve operation and management capacities. On Wednesday, the World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved a US$25 million credit to help Viet Nam better manage trans-boundary water resources and climate risks through river basin approaches and improved water resources data collection, analysis and exchange.

The Integrated Water Resources Management Project - Phase 2 - will contribute to the overall goal of implementation of integrated water resources management in the Lower Mekong Basin for sustainable economic, social and environmental development by developing the capacity of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Viet Nam National Mekong Committee and relevant agencies.

The credit of $25 million comes from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank's concessional lending arm for low-income countries. — VNS

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