|Phan Văn Mãi, chairman of HCM City People’s Committee, speaks at a trade promotion conference between HCM City and its neighbours in Bình Phước last week. Photo nld.com.vn|
HCM CITY — HCM City authorities have proposed setting up a transport infrastructure fund to enhance regional linkages in the southeastern region to help unleash its full potential as the country’s economic locomotive.
Speaking at a conference in Bình Phước Province last week, Phan Văn Mãi, chairman of HCM City People’s Committee, said funding sourced from local and central budgets, or loans from the private sector, would be used to build inter-regional roads to enhance connectivity among localities in the region.
The region, which includes HCM City and the five provinces of Tây Ninh, Bình Phước, Bình Dương, Đồng Nai, and Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu, has played a significant role in the national economic growth.
While it is the country’s most urbanised and economically vibrant region, it is facing challenges related to traffic infrastructure, he said.
“It’s important to develop a smart and modern urban transport and an intra-regional, inter-regional and regional transport system,” according to Mãi.
After the Government issued an action plan to implement the Politburo’s Resolution No. 24 last year on the development of the southeast region, the city signed cooperation agreements with the provinces in many fields, including urban planning; trade and investment; transport infrastructure, environment; education; health; human resources; science and technology; and digital transformation.
Mãi also proposed establishing a regional committee with enhanced functions and roles for planning and coordinating multi-sectoral programmes and transport projects on a regional scale.
Each locality should have a vice chairman of the People’s Committee serving as a permanent member of the committee, he said.
Nguyễn Thị Hoàng, deputy chairwoman of Đồng Nai Province People’s Committee, said while the region contributed enormously to Government revenues, the expenditure per capita here was much lower than the national average.
She recommended HCM City and the provinces expand cooperation to speed up major transport projects in the region.
Võ Văn Minh, chairman of Bình Dương Province People’s Committee, said with the limited funds allocated from the central government, the establishment of the fund would help the region to invest in infrastructure.
Bình Dương Province plans to build four additional bridges to connect it with Đồng Nai Province and two additional bridges to connect with Tây Ninh Province, he said.
In addition, Bình Dương also plans to build more bridges connecting it with HCM City across the Sài Gòn River, he said.
Also speaking at the event, Nguyễn Văn Nên, secretary of HCM City Party Committee, said it was essential to expand cooperation in transport infrastructure, especially waterways and railways, because this is a bottleneck affecting the development of the region.
Under a plan until 2030, the region will have 970km of highways, but now has only 10 per cent of that due to a lack of public investment and land acquisition challenges, experts said.
Under the 2022 Politburo Resolution, the southeastern region will be developed into the country’s leading economic, financial, commerce, education and training, human resources, and science-technology hub.
It will also target becoming an international financial centre for Southeast Asia and the world.
The region has a total area of more than 23,560 square kilometres and a population of 18.7 million (2021).
It contributes 32 per cent of the country’s GDP and more than two-thirds of total State budget revenue though it had only 23 per cent of the population. — VNS