“From now until the end of the year, authorities of districts and departments in the city will have to reassess all projects” in accordance with the Law on Public Investment, which will come into force next January, Director of Department of Planning and Investment Thai Van Re was quoted by Saigon Times Daily as saying.

Re told a conference on building the social-economic development plan for 2016-2020 as well as the medium-term plan for public projects in the same period in Ho Chi Minh City on August 26. Public projects must be cost-effective, so heads of district governments, departments and project management units will be held responsible if they approve projects that lead to debts or shortage of funds for implementation, Re said. The city now has 1,096 public investment projects underway and 178 others that have been approved but have yet received finances, he said.

According to the department, capital for public investment projects in the 2016-2020 will be disbursed in order of priority. Capital will be first disbursed for projects due to be finished before the year’s end, then for those expected for completion next year, and counterpart capital for ODA (official development assistance) projects or projects using foreign preferential loans.

The city has planned to put aside 15 percent of total capital for public projects in the five-year period to deal with unexpected situations such as changes of prices, investment for urgent projects and other issues which may arise, in accordance with the Law on Public Investment.

HCM City Chairman Le Hoang Quan said the city welcomes the initiative to make five-year plans for public investment projects.

He took Hoang Hoa Tham Bridge crossing the Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe Canal for example, saying the project took 11 years to be finished. Investment approved for the project was 16 billion VND initially but then increased to 156 billion VND when work started on the bridge.

On August 5, 2014, the Government issued Directive 23/CT-TTg as guidelines for building medium-term plans for public investment projects, requiring localities across the country to evaluate their public investment results in the 2011-2015 period and set up the plan for the five-year period of 2016-2020.

According to the directive, localities and departments have to settle all debts arising from public investment projects by the end of this year and from next year, they have to strictly follow regulations of the Law on Public Investment and allow no more debt to arise.-VNA