Scheme not doing as well as expected

July 23, 2018 - 09:00

The HCM City Department of Construction is piloting a “single window” mechanism for issuing construction licences.


A citizen is applying for construction licence in HCM City. — Photo:
Viet Nam News

HCM CITY — A pilot scheme to issue construction licences in HCM City has not performed as well as expected.

Known as a ‘single window’ mechanism, because companies can apply for three different things at the same time, it was claimed to speed up the process to 42 days instead of 122.

But applicants say the new scheme only works in simple cases, and not in more complicated matters that require extra work.

Applicants can apply for three different things at the same time: basic design examination, technical design examination, and construction licence.

“Investors don’t need to spend time to submit procedures repeatedly,” a spokesman for the department was quoted as saying by Người Lao Động (Labourers) newspaper.

During the six-month trial period the department received 97 applications from individuals and enterprises and approved 22 of them.

But applicants said the new system only works for simple constructions, whereas cases requiring additional approvals like fire safety, traffic and environmental impact assessment and electricity and water supplies require them to go multiple times to the department.

Văn Lang University was one such case.

When it changed its design to have three classrooms per floor from four, it had to modify its fire safety design. It had to withdraw its application from the construction department, go to the Fire Prevention and Fighting Police Department to get amended approvals and then go back to the construction department.

Bùi Công Lương, the university’s project manager, said: “This could not be done in 42 days. So, for minor adjustments, the construction department should not withhold the licence, but issue it as soon as possible and allow applicants to make the adjustments later.

“[Construction department officials] could come and check later and penalise applicants who fail to strictly comply with the rules.”

Đặng Thịnh of Nguyên Sơn Real Estate Company wanted the department to collect the fees for basic design examination scrutiny at the end of the process to save applicants time and the need to make multiple visits to the department.

An official from the city Department of Internal Affairs pointed out that the single-window mechanism lacks co-ordination between various authorities.

“The People’s Committee has decided that the “single window” mechanism is a very important factor in administrative reforms and all departments and industries must change for better co-ordination.”

Tống Đức Tiến, head of the department’s construction licence issue sub-department, admitted that in the current single-window system, only offices under his department work together.

Co-ordination with other departments and authorities still remains poor because each has its own regulations and systems.

“Related authorities like planning and architecture, construction, fire safety and others should work together,” he said.

Trương Trung Kiên, head of the city People’s Council’s Urban Committee, called on the department to improve the single-window process and make it part of administrative reforms.

Trần Trọng Tuấn, director of the department, said: “The construction department will petition the Ministry of Construction to adopt the single-window system.

“The city People’s Committee should clarify who is responsible if one department does not respond to queries from others.”

Meanwhile, the city People’s Committee approved the re-establishment of urban construction management teams under districts on a trial basis.

The team will be set up based on the construction department’s field construction inspection and districts’ construction inspection teams.

Urban construction management teams had been functioning until 2013 when 1,200 staff were transferred to the construction department.

The re-establishment is aimed at checking construction violations, which are becoming rife in the city. — VNS