Ha Noi will build on the benefits conferred by Law on the Capital City to make 2015 a successful year on many fronts, Mayor Nguyen The Thao tells the Viet Nam News Agency.
The Law on the Capital City went into effect in July 2013. Since then it has been considered a "hinge," helping the city open the door to address many challenging issues. Could you please tell us about the city's successes and the challenges it has faced in the last 18 months?
We have been thinking for years about how to make this law a reality, even before the National Assembly officially passed it at its year-end meeting in 2012.
The law has great significance for Ha Noi, in terms of legal matters. Since the law was enacted, it has helped us overcome many hurdles in the city's development process. The Law on the Capital City has given us many preferential policies and mechanisms to help Ha Noi live up to its role as the capital of Viet Nam in terms of construction, development, management and defence of the nation's heart.
In the last 18 months, the municipal city issued two resolutions while the Ha Noi People's Council issued 14 resolutions. These documents have helped us solve many problems the city has faced. That's why I can say 2014 was a very successful year for Ha Noi. Its economy grew by 8.8 per cent – higher than last year and 1.52 times higher than the national average.
I must say there are still many challenges that must be addressed in Ha Noi, including the problems for immigrants and foreigners.
What do you think about the quality of Ha Noi's public servants?
At various meetings, Ha Noi's Party Committee raised the issue of improving the quality of public servants in Ha Noi. It has been at the top of the agenda in many meetings. That's why each time I had working sessions with Ha Noi's offices, I listened attentively to the staff's comments or suggestions, hoping to solve their problems as best I could. I should say, in the past 18 months, Ha Noi put in a lot of effort to improve public servants' working capacity and quality. However, it is impossible to do away with all the problems people complain about, including corruption. But what I want to say here is that such negative phenomena merely represent a few trees in the forest of good deeds offered by our public servants.
What should the city do to improve the service quality for enterprises and the public in general?
We'll try our best to improve public services. But it cannot be done overnight. Good public service – for the people and for enterprises – will improve the city's image. In 2013, Ha Noi ranked fifth out of 63 cities and provinces nationwide in the Provincial Public Administrative Reform Index – jumping up two rankings from its 2012 spot.
Meanwhile, it ranked 33rd out of 63 for its Provincial Competitiveness Index – 18 higher than the previous year.
What do you think about the results of the recent confidence vote at the City People's Council?
Votes of confidence help leaders improve, and realise their strengths and weaknesses.
I, myself, feel proud that I have been entrusted by the Party and State, as well as the people, to hold the position of chairman of Ha Noi's People's Committee. Together with my peers, I promise we will do our best to ensure better performances and serve the public well.
Based on results of the recent vote of confidence, I promise to work on enhancing my strengths while overcoming weaknesses so I can meet the people's requirements and expectations.
What has Ha Noi done in 2014 to help people living in disadvantaged communes?
I think people living in rural areas, particularly in old Ha Tay province, have seen positive changes in their communes. I should say that in the past 18 months, the city invested quite a lot of capital and human resources in improving infrastructure and agricultural production in these areas. As a result, the farmers' livelihoods have improved a lot. Their incomes have increased several times over what they were three years ago.
The movement to build new rural areas has spread, and we've seen positive results. More than 100 communes have been awarded the title of new rural areas nationwide – 20 of which come from Ha Noi.
Will you please tell us some plans you have for socio-economic development in the city in 2015?
Before the end of 2014, the Ha Noi People's Committee has launched an emulation movement for 2015 with an objective for higher economic growth in the new year.
The city has come up with five major packages for 2015, with dozens of specific measures that will help the city continue to improve financially.
To ensure these measures are carried out, the city will focus on two major projects: enhancing all available resources for a higher economic growth rate and improving the development investment environment.
What do you want to tell the people and administrations of Ha Noi on the occasion of the new year?
Ha Noi is the capital of Viet Nam. It's the heart and soul of the nation. Both opportunities and challenges will be presented to us in the new year, particularly with the scarcity of capital resources and difficult bureaucratic policies. So let's try our best to make 2015 a great year for Ha Noi, and Viet Nam as a whole. — VNS