Le Hoang Quan, Politburo member and Chairman of Ho Chi Minh City's People's Committee, has talked to the English-language newspaper Vietnam News about the city's socio-economic development in the past four decades and its targets for the future.

*Can you describe HCM City's socio-economic and cultural achievements since April 30, 1975?

In the past four decades HCM City has undergone significant development in every area. The scale of the city's economy has grown by several times, infrastructure has developed hugely compared with decades ago, and city residents' living conditions (in spiritual and material terms) have been uplifted.

The city overcame an extremely harsh and difficult period in the first decade (1975-1985) after its liberation, but was able to sustain production even as the country was threatened by a border war.

Thirty years later, after the sixth National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam was organised in 1986, HCM City continued to sustain its economic development and share its practical experience in renovating administrative mechanisms with the Party and Government.

The Communist Party's policy in switching to a socialist-oriented market economy from a centrally planned economy has helped stimulate production and unleash the economy. The various components of the economy continued to develop. The private economy and the foreign direct investment sector have been developing speedily and become an important channel for investments, contributing greatly to the city's economic development.

The relationship between HCM City and other countries has been broadening. Vietnam's WTO membership and the city administration's efforts have helped the city integrate deeply with the world. With global integration, the spiritual and material living conditions of the city's people have improved along with the speedy development of infrastructure by the city administration.

HCM City's role as an economic driving force of the country has been confirmed in recent years as it contributes much to the nation's economy. In 2014, the city accounted for 20 percent of the country's GDP. The city also contributed 30 percent of the Government's revenues and exports. The city's average income was 5,131 USD in 2014. It is expected that the city's per capita income will be 5,826 USD at the end of this year.

*Can you tell us more about the city's development plan for 2020? What are the main targets the city has to achieve in the period?

Based on the city's socio-economic achievements in the 40 years since the liberation of the southern region, the city has some important general and specific targets for the period between 2020 and 2025.

With regard to the general targets, HCM City will become a civilised, modern city with its role as a special urban area that will be in the vanguard of industrialisation and modernisation and contribute to socio-economic development of the southern region and the country as a whole. It will also be an economic, financial, trade, and science and technology hub of the country and Southeast Asia.

By 2020, HCM City is expected to become a centre of culture and sport and a place training high-quality human resources for the southern region and the country, contributing to sustainable economic development together with environmental protection and security.

As for the specific targets, the HCM City government expects annual economic growth of between 9.5 and 10 percent between 2016 and 2020. And the city's annual growth rate between 2021 and 2025 is expected to be 8.5 to 9 percent.

The city's population should be 8.3 million in 2015, 9.2 million in 2020 and 10 million in 2025, excluding non-residents and migrants.

The unemployment rate will be limited to below 4 percent of the population from 2020. And the city plans to have no households living below the poverty line of 16 million VND (769 USD).

The city will focus on breakthroughs in infrastructure development, strengthening the quality and effectiveness of urban zoning and urban management. Activities related to external relations in every field, including politics, economy, culture, will be strengthened as will those for preventing negative occurrences during the integration period.

To achieve the targets, there is a requirement to utilise the entire resources of the city's political system, for leaders and officials to make efforts and be creative, and to get the support of the people.-VNA