Seminar talks prospects, challenges of Thu Duc city hinh anh 1Speakers at a seminar organised by the HCM City University of Law discuss the legal basis for the establishment of the proposed Thu Duc city (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) Ho Chi Minh City must ensure transparent governance before establishing a “new city within a city” from the proposed merger of three districts, experts said at a seminar in the city on December 9.

The National Assembly’s Standing Committee on the same day passed a resolution to establish new Thu Duc city, which would include three existing districts, namely 2, 9 and Thu Duc.

At the seminar organised by the HCM City University of Law, Associate Prof. Dr. Vu Van Nhiem, chairman of the university’s council, said the establishment of the tentatively named Thu Duc city must make clear what benefits it would bring to residents, enterprises and the city and central governments. 

The new Thu Duc administration must be simple and efficient, he said.

Although an urban administrative model is common in megacities around the world, there is “no legal basis” for it in Vietnam.

HCM City is the first centrally-run city in the country to implement an urban administrative model to bring into practice the “city within a city” model. 

Because the new city would be equivalent to a district-level unit under the current law, HCM City must ask the Government and the National Assembly to allow higher autonomy for “the new city”, he said.

Associate Prof. Dr. Do Minh Khoi, head of the university’s Faculty of Law and State Administration’s Department of State and Law Theory, said the proposal to establish Thu Duc city was “unprecedented” in the country and would require “extensive study”.

The establishment of the city would require amendments in urban planning and construction laws, he added.

HCM City is faced with problems related to pollution, traffic congestion, and lack of affordable housing, among others. The city must resolve these problems and ensure transparent governance, he said.

Le Minh Duc, deputy head of the Legal Department of the HCM City People’s Council, said the new city could face challenges such as social crimes and insecurity and other problems related to administrative papers for citizens. Land speculation causing a surge in land prices and illegal construction would also be critical issues.

He pointed out that the city’s current resources were still insufficient to build the “innovation district” in the city’s eastern part. “An appropriate roadmap is needed to ensure the establishment of this new city.” 

Huynh Khac Diep, Chief of the HCM City Party Committee’s Office, said the People’s Committee is writing a draft proposal on enhancing the power of the new city government and creating better conditions for it to develop strongly.

Lawmakers last month approved a resolution to eliminate People’s Councils at district and ward levels in the city. The newly passed resolution stipulates that administrative organisation at the municipal level would comprise a People’s Committee and People’s Council. However, there would only be People’s Committees at the district and ward levels.

The organisation of other administrative units in the city is subject to the Law on Local Government Organisation.

The resolution takes effect next year and the implementation of new urban administrative models in HCM City will begin from July 2021.

The eastern districts of 2, 9, and Thu Duc would be merged into one administrative unit.

To build the new city, HCM City authorities need to seek advice from foreign experts and investors, including technology, finance and real estate companies, experts have said. 

The city should study the experiences of major cities in other countries, including the Pudong area in Shanghai (China) and Gangnam in Seoul (the Republic of Korea), and propose policies for a creative ecosystem and improved competitiveness, they said. 

The city’s administration has established a steering committee led by Nguyen Thanh Phong, Chairman of the city People’s Committee, which will develop a master plan for the development of the new city.

The master plan includes strategies for a knowledge-based economy that promotes a highly skilled workforce.

The committee plans to develop a centralised urban database with data about land use, transportation, canals and other works in the three districts.

Experts have said the new Thu Duc city should be designed to attract more investment while promoting globalisation and maintaining local culture, appealing to a talented workforce from around the world. 

Thu Duc city would be spread over and be home to more than one million people./.