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HCMC woos investors for canal-side home relocation project

Hung Le
Friday,  Feb 2,2018,13:07 (GMT+7)
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HCMC woos investors for canal-side home relocation project

Hung Le

HCMC vice chairman Tran Vinh Tuyen (L) talks with investors and guests participating in a conference to call for private investment in a canal-side home relocation project - PHOTO: HUNG LE

HCMC – The HCMC government has said it needs VND23.24 trillion (US$1.02 billion) for a large-scale project to relocate more than 20,000 makeshift homes along the city’s canals.

At a conference held in the city on February 1 to call for investors to get involved in the project as part of a program to revitalize the urban landscape, Tran Trong Tuan, director of the HCMC Department of Construction, said the city has relocated some 36,000 households along canals over the past 20 years. There remain 21,850 slums and makeshift houses that need to be cleared to deal with environmental pollution and flooding which affect local people’s health.

Of the total shanty canal-side homes, 11,400 homes are located in District 8, more than 2,500 in Binh Thanh District, 2,060 in District 7 and nearly 1,800 in District 4.

The program to revitalize the city’s landscape as one of seven key projects in the city will use VND2.5 trillion from the city budget, said Su Ngoc Anh, director of the HCMC Department of Planning and Investment. Due to the city’s tight budget, local and foreign investments will help promote sustainable development for the city’s economy, he added.

Under prevailing regulations, there are three ways to mobilize private capital including putting up for auction land which has been already cleared, inviting tenders for projects whose land clearance procedures have not been implemented, and implementing projects under public-private partnership (PPP) format.

Nguyen Dang Truong, head of the Bidding Management Department under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, told the conference that it is a big challenge to relocate 20,000-plus homes along canals in three years as the city has managed to remove 36,000 similar houses over the past two decades. However, investment conditions are becoming more favorable for investors, especially with the PPP model.

It is not difficult to seek investors for the project but the support of municipal agencies is of crucial importance, Truong noted.

HCMC vice chairman Tran Vinh Tuyen said the city has to cope with traffic congestion, flooding, environmental pollution and climate change despite its status as an economic hub of the country. He expected the program to rehabilitate the urban landscape in the 2016-2020 period would help stabilize the lives of residents along canals.

To obtain the foresaid targets, the city will have to take appropriate measures in a timely manner to serve local residents’ demand and city development, Tuyen said, adding the policy to call for private investment is meant to ease the burden on the city’s budget.

The city government has assigned relevant departments and agencies to issue preferential mechanisms and policies to lure investors to carry out the project under the PPP format.

At the conference, the city also sought comments from leaders of departments and agencies, experts and scientists on the project.

Nguyen Thien Nhan, secretary of the city’s Party Committee, reiterated the city’s efforts to implement the canal-side home relocation project and put floods and traffic congestion under control. He advised relevant agencies to learn from experiences of Japan and South Korea to successfully conduct the project.

An objective of the program to revitalize HCMC between 2016 and 2020 is to make the most of rivers and canals in the city to develop waterway tourism. The program will be implemented under multiple investment models such as PPP, build-transfer (BT) and investment in exchange for land, among others.

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