HCM City (VNA) – Administration of public lands should be tightened to increase Ho Chi Minh City’s revenues, a city People’s Council meeting heard recently.

“There are too many agencies managing public lands and this leads to poor management,” Nguyen Toan Thang, director of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment, said.

He said the city should have only one agency, which would be fully responsible for the management and commercialisation of public lands.

“This will prevent the situation, which has been occurring for a very long time, of huge public buildings and lands being wasted and causing a great loss to the city.”

Many agencies occupy large lands paying a nominal lease or nothing, and in most cases they leave the lands unused or sublet it at much higher rates than they pay, he said.

“Many businesses place their own interest above the common interest. Despite their ineffective use of land, they insist on keeping it at their disposal.”

Encroachment of public land, related disputes and illegal sales of public lands to private individuals are rife even as many build-transfer (BT) projects stall due to lack of lands to be handed over to contractors as payment for their work, he said.

Vo Cong Luc, director of the HCM City Land Fund Development Centre, said: “These situations mean it is difficult for the city to take back lands or even pay large sums as compensation.”

To resolve the problem, the Government recently instructed all localities to stop transfer of public lands and focus on reviewing their wasteful use.

In HCM City, as of the end of last year authorities had planned to retrieve 213 hectares of land from public firms and agencies and auction them, but have managed only 204ha.

It has under its control 960 plots of land.

A Department of Finance official said public agencies found wasting lands would be dispossessed and the lands would be handed over to the HCM City Land Fund Development Centre.

The city would work with central agencies to review their land holdings in HCM City, and take over management in case of poor management, he said. - VNA