Gov't suspends costly administrative buildings

Update: November, 18/2015 - 17:34
The administrative building of northern mountainous Lai Chau Province, which was built at a cost of $25 million. — Photo

HA NOI (VNS) — Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai yesterday affirmed that projects to build administrative centres for local authorities, costing the state budget several trillion dong, would be suspended.

All the projects will be revised and evaluated before construction begins.

He made the statement at the National Assembly's (NA's) question-and-answer session after many NA deputies raised their voices over the massive proposal to build local administrative headquarters. These centres were estimated to cost several trillion dong while the country's economy still faced difficulties and more urgent public needs had to be given priority.

NA deputy Do Van Duong from HCM City said that some localities wanted their administrative headquarters to be unnecessarily lavish, which he described as a serious problem.

Recently, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung approved in principle the building of new administrative centres in some provinces. Most of these provinces had said their offices were deteriorating and located in different parts of the city, making it difficult for citizens to work with the State agencies.

The expenses were expected to be met by the State budget, local budget, and other sources.

The Government's move resulted in a race among local authorities to build expensive administrative centres for themselves. Dong Nai Province announced it planned to spend VND2.2 trillion (US$100 million) to build its centre in Bien Hoa City, while Khanh Hoa Province intended to spend VND5.5 trillion ($250 million) to relocate its centre to the west of Nha Trang City.

HCM City is working on its new centre in District 1. The city has not announced the estimated cost for the work.

Binh Thuan, Binh Dinh and Nghe An provinces have also designed similar projects.

Deputy PM Hai said most of these local administrative centres were built many years ago without a specific plan, so they occupied an average of some 33ha each.

These areas were no longer suitable for urban development in many cities and provinces, he added.

Hai said in terms of administrative reform, the Government had asked local authorities to re-plan these areas to better serve citizens, instructing them to make the plans consistent with their socio-economic situation, land funds and financial capacity.

However, some localities submitted proposals to the Government, asking to build their administrative offices with huge investment resources.

As a result, Prime Minister Dung has paused the scheme, Hai said.

Prime Minister Dung has asked the Ministry of Construction, in co-operation with the ministries of Internal Affairs and Finance, to review and evaluate the results of investment in administrative centres in each locality over the past few years.

The ministry was required to propose solutions to the problems and report to the Government. — VNS