Deputy Cao Thanh Bình speaks at yesterday’s question and answer session involving administration officials .– Photo hcmcpv.org.vn
HCM City – The chief of the HCM City legislature has asked the city administration how it plans to raise resources to fund development.
Speaking at yesterday’s question and answer session involving administration officials, People’s Council chairwoman Nguyễn Thị Quyết Tâm said: “The demand for resources for the city’s development is huge and urgent. Members of the People’s Council would like to know what the People’s Committee and other relevant authorities are doing to address the issue, especially when the special financial mechanism for the city has been applied this year.”
Several legislators raised questions related to the special mechanism, how the city can apply the mechanism to meet the resource need, and officials from relevant departments gave replies.
“The People’s Committee and relevant authorities are trying to review the efficiency of public investment and tweak it to improve it,” Lê Thanh Liêm, deputy chairman of the city People’s Committee, said.
He revealed that public investment had fallen from 9 per cent of gross capital formation in 2011 to 7 per cent last year.
Gross capital investment refers to all the investments in a particular year in an economy.
“However, the low disbursement ratio at investment projects has stymied a breakthrough. Real estate still accounts for a big proportion while many industries and sectors have been waiting for assistance from the government and have not mobilised their strength to raise capital.”
The city would need VNĐ1,800 trillion ($80 billion) more for investment in 2018 - 2020 but can only raise a fifth of that, he admitted.
“We must complete the public-private partnership (PPP) process and improve the investment procedures.”
There is a task force for investment led by the chairman of the People’s Committee, and soon the city plans to set up another for land, he said.
“The city authorities will focus on 21 key projects related to the special financial mechanism, review the working of State offices, auction all public lands and assets and effectively mobilise and use foreign remittances.”
Nguyễn Thị Quyết Tâm concluded the session by offering some suggestions.
“City authorities must pay more attention to taxes by adopting solutions to increase tax revenues.
Tax collection must be done accurately, she said.
“The tax department must reduce tax arrears and speed up reform of tax procedures to prevent graft.”
She also stressed the importance of administrative reform.
“Administrative reform has greatly affected the development of the city, especially in attracting resources and investments.
“More transparency is required in State management.”
She raised a sensitive problem.
“The special financial mechanism for the city, approved recently by the National Assembly, is expected to provide a new development stimulus. But authorities must clearly show how locals will benefit from the mechanism since they only see that the city is allowed to collect more fees and charges.”
Voters wonder how it would affect social welfare, efforts to mitigate flooding, pollution and traffic congestion, and education would get from the new mechanism, she said.
“Local authorities have recognised the imbalance between economic investment and investment in arts and sports. That must be fixed.
“The People’s Committee and relevant authorities must strengthen management, improve the efficiency of public investment, sell public assets through bidding to raise more funds for development.”
For the first time ever, last year gross capital formation in HCM City exceeded VNĐ1,000 trillion ($44 billion). – VNS