Illustrative image (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) – The southern hub of Ho Chi Minh City aims to achieve 19 socio-economic targets in 2017, especially economic growth of 8.4 – 8.7 percent.

To realise its targets, the city will focus its spending on key construction works and seven breakthrough programmes like relocating people living along slums in canals and building new apartments replacing old, dilapidated ones, heard a conference last week.

Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong said the city must soon complete all necessary procedures to start the work to reduce traffic congestion around Tan Son Nhat International Airport, Cat Lai port and chronically flooded streets.

In 2017, construction of the Kenh Lo Bridge, Ba Bo Canal, Children’s Hospital Number 1, the first phase of the Binh Chanh District Hospital, and Go Vap District Hospital must be completed, he added.

Other measures include attracting more investment from multinational companies together with fostering domestic companies and support industries, promoting strong private companies that use modern technologies, encouraging small and medium-sized enterprises and improving the competitiveness of domestic companies against foreign rivals, and linking local firms with foreign ones.

Phong instructed all related departments and localities to implement projects to promote incubation, start-ups and innovative companies and create favourable conditions for venture capital funds that invest in new business ideas and high–tech firms.

“All these activities will contribute to developing an eco-system for innovation and start-ups. Next year the city will have 50,000 new companies, many of them strong enough to compete internationally.”

The city would focus on simplifying administrative procedures and streamlining online business registration to reduce the cost and time businesses spend, he said.

It will earmark 1 trillion VND (45 million USD) from its coffers to support start-ups and households who would like to set up small businesses, he said.

Another 2 trillion VND (90 million) will be used for stimulating investment and encouraging enterprises to upgrade their technologies, he said, adding that the city will help manufacturing companies switch from labour-intensive to tech-driven and green sectors.

“Authorities will earmark more of their time for resolving financial, land-related and technological problems faced by domestic enterprises,” he stated.

According to a report from the municipal People’s Committee, in 2016, the city’s economy grew by 8.05 percent to 1 quadrillion VND (45 billion USD), compared to a target of 8 – 8.5 percent.

The services sector grew by 8.07 percent, industry and construction expanded by 7.88 percent and agriculture by 5.81 percent.

Industrial output rose 7.33 percent and tax revenues, 12.43 per cent.

Non-crude exports fetched 29.2 billion USD, an increase of 10 percent from the previous year, while gross capital formation was worth 310 trillion VND (14 billion USD).

Some 111 public works were completed at a cost of nearly 20 trillion VND (900 million USD).

The city also worked with private investors for 20 public-private-partnership (PPP) projects in transport and environmental protection at a cost of 67 trillion VND (3 billion USD).

More than 36,000 enterprises with total registered capital of 496.6 trillion VND (22.2 billion USD) were newly registered for an increase of 35.8 percent from the previous year.

The city attracted 3.7 billion USD in foreign investment./.