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Slow public investment disbursements spark concerns

By Le Hoang

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HCMC – HCMC’s public investment disbursement rate between January and July has raised concerns as it was a mere 26%, much lower than the country’s 34.4%.

Speaking at a meeting on the city’s socio-economic performance in January-July held yesterday, August 4, Chairman of the HCMC People’s Committee Phan Van Mai bemoaned the extremely low disbursement rate of public investment in the year to the end of July.

The city currently has 100 projects that have yet to disburse capital and 12 projects that have reported a disbursement rate of less than 10%. Four projects with an investment scale of less than VND200 billion have disbursed 10%.

Lower-than-expected public investment disbursements will certainly affect the city’s socio-economic development, said Mai.

He said Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh had urged the city to accelerate the disbursement of public investment.

Tran Quang Lam, director of the HCMC Department of Transport, said the key road, water supply and drainage, and environmental improvement projects were moving slowly due mainly to slow site clearance.

Meanwhile, PPP projects have been put on hold as a result of inspections and audits, according to Lam.

“It is necessary to focus on improving the investment environment by removing hurdles and working closely with investors, as well as developing a framework to deal with ongoing projects and encourage new ones,” said Lam.

He said the coordination between the departments and agencies remained haphazard.

Bui Ta Hoang Vu, director of the HCMC Department of Industry and Trade, emphasized the need to heighten the responsibilities of departments to get work done. “We normally have to reach other departments for feedback on a project but this process takes a lot of time,” said Vu.

Vu noted the process from approval to execution could take many months.

Moreover, the departments pointed out that the appraisal of compensation rates were one of the major impediments to public investment disbursements.

He asked departments and localities to review and adjust the approval process, focusing on accelerating publicly funded projects.

Previously, during the central Government’s regular meeting in July, Mai acknowledged HCMC’s shortcomings in disbursing public investment.

Accordingly, the Government assigned targets for public investment to HCMC each year, and the city allocated capital based on its ability.

Mai said the city will focus on using budgets to make capital allocations in accordance with the Government’s goal, and will thereafter address extending the medium-term ceiling as reported to the Government.

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