A view of HCM City’s downtown area. (Source: VNA)
 
HCM City (VNA) – Ho Chi Minh City authorities have asked the Government to allow the city to make its own decisions on major Group A investment projects funded by the city budget.

Products under Group A include those developed in areas that have special national relics and projects of special importance to national defence and security.

Speaking during a recent online meeting with Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Nguyen Thanh Phong, Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee, said four projects using such funds are new general hospitals in Thu Duc, Cu Chi and Hoc Mon districts and a project to dredge the Ba Lon Canal in Binh Chanh district.

“To implement the National Assembly’s Resolution No. 54 on piloting social policies for HCM City, the city has asked for approval to make its own decisions on certain major projects to ensure progress of the projects,” Phong said.

He also mentioned the need for official development assistance (ODA) allocated from the Government this year.

Under the Law on Public Investment, which took effect early this year, the city is only allowed to disburse its annual ODA funds according to plans that must be approved by the Ministry of Planning and Investment and the PM.

“This does not meet demand and greatly affects the progress of the city’s key projects, especially the construction of the metro line No. 1 (Ben Thanh – Suoi Tien) and the metro line No. 2 (Ben Thanh – Tham Luong),” he said.

The city’s ODA demand as of the end of last year was more than 9 trillion VND (389 million USD) but the central government approved only 2.9 trillion VND, he added.

“The city has also proposed the PM consider advancing ODA capital from the central government’s budget to ensure progress of key projects,” he stated, adding that HCM City should also be allowed to disburse annual ODA funds according to foreign donors’ funding schedules, as stipulated in Article 76 of the Law on Public Investment.

In the first half of this year, the city’s GDP reached over 585 trillion VND, up 7.66 percent over the same period last year, he said.

The service, agricultural and industrial sectors achieved positive growth, he added.

Speaking at the meeting, PM Phuc said that HCM City, with a population of 13 million, continues to be a leading city in the country, especially in budget collection despite its many challenges.

He said the Government will try to seek more resources and speed up procedures at the central level to ensure implementation of unfinished projects in the city.

“The Government is working with the Ministry of Finance and the Minitry of Planning and Investment,” PM Phuc said. “It will also work with the Standing Committee of the National Assembly, especially the Finance and Budget Committee, to deal with this additional source of funds.”

Under the NA’s Resolution No. 54, special policies would enhance HCM City’s resources, thus fostering its development.

The policies devolve power to the city to make decisions on issues that are currently made by the PM, including those on land administration, investment and finance-budget.-VNA