Saigon Investment spoke with Mr. Nguyen Thanh Phong, Chairman of the People's Committee of Ho Chi Minh City, on the development plan of Thu Duc City and the benefits that it will bring to the region.
JOURNALIST: - Sir, what were the important goals targeted by Ho Chi Minh City when proposing to establish a new Thu Duc City in its Eastern parts?
Mr. NGUYEN THANH PHONG: - In the last three decades, Ho Chi Minh City has made great efforts in maintaining its lead position as an economic hub of the country. Currently, Ho Chi Minh City accounts for about 9.4% of the population of Vietnam, and covers 0.6% of the total area of the country while contributing the most towards the GDP of Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh City attracts nearly 33% of all FDI projects coming into Vietnam, and contributes about 27% to the national budget. Ho Chi Minh City also has a GRDP per capita that has continuously increased over the years, reaching USD 6,395 in 2019, 1.25 times more than in 2015 and 2.4 times more than of the whole country.
However, despite showing impressive economic results, Ho Chi Minh City is constantly facing many new and formidable challenges. The current economic growth and the competitiveness of the business investment environment has decreased and the overall transport infrastructure is still quite inadequate. Along with this, there is a huge gap in living standards and some social problems such as an aging population that is greatly feeling hindered by the fast development of the city.
Hence, Ho Chi Minh City must constantly innovate and implement both breakthrough and synchronous solutions to develop and meets the needs of the people. In order to prepare for future growth and more modern development, Ho Chi Minh City must continue to contribute strongly to the country, as well as follow the traditions of the Party Committee, the Government and the People of Ho Chi Minh City.
The new modern Thu Duc City will cover an area of about 211 square kilometers and a population of almost 1,013,000 people. Thu Duc City is expected to become the nucleus for bringing about a vibrant economic development change within Ho Chi Minh City, and to the southern regions, with more value added chains, high technology, modern technical and social infrastructure based on international standards, more creation of new knowledge and new ideas, highly trained human resources, high quality products, superior scientific research, creative start-ups, and a hi-tech production and business platform. Closely followed after Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City is expected to contribute one third of GRDP, or about 7% of the country’s GDP.
- Sir, what difference will Thu Duc City bring?
- The establishment of Thu Duc City within Ho Chi Minh City is expected to bring about vibrant economic development in Ho Chi Minh City, based on the growth of three triangles of the economy. Firstly, it will be an International Financial Center, secondly it will offer the highest standards of education, and thirdly, it will be a robust center for science and technology.
These three factors will form a three cornered triangle that will help Ho Chi Minh City to develop faster and more sustainably, improve the quality of the lives of the people, strongly attract investment resources for the development of a key Economic Southern Zone, and also contribute to the growth momentum of neighboring provinces to develop simultaneously. From thereon, Ho Chi Minh City will be able to contribute significantly to the country as a whole, while simultaneously developing as a large modern regional city that can compete with any modern international city.
In order to maximize the advantages of these three growth factors, the investment, construction and development of eight proposed centers over this Eastern urban area of Ho Chi Minh City is being planned in such a way so as to create superior connectivity and a strong sustainable growth in the future. These eight proposed centers will be: (1) a financial center that will link with the new Thu Thiem urban area, (2) a Rach Chiec Sports and Health Center, (3) a high-tech production and creative center, with high-tech zones and industrial parks, and also export processing zones, (4) a center for high level education, training, and scientific and technological research, which all will also include the National University of Ho Chi Minh City, Fulbright University, Nong Lam University and some neighboring suburban universities, (5) the largest creative startup center in Vietnam, (6) a center for eco-technology in Tam Da and Long Phuoc areas, (7) a traffic hub connecting the Southeastern parts and Cat Lai International Port, (8) development of the Truong Tho Port Urban Area.
In order to strengthen the functioning of all these centers, a unified, synchronous, modern and efficient state administrative apparatus needs to be put into effect. An urban government with full authority could allow a high level of speedy interaction amongst the three merging districts of Ho Chi Minh City and could effectively manage and operate all future planning and implementation.
Cat Lai Port is a modern container port in District 2, HCMC. Photo: Hoang Hung
- Sir, does Ho Chi Minh City have steps and plans to implement policies for pre-approval in the establishment of Thu Duc City?
- Ho Chi Minh City has proposed the establishment of Thu Duc City under the administration of Ho Chi Minh City as a model "City within the City". On a legal basis, this model is very suitable and was specified in the 2013 Constitution and Law by the Local Government Organization in 2015. In Clause 2, Article 2 of this Law the administrative units of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam will include districts, urban districts, towns, provincial cities, and city areas under central authority.
Therefore, Ho Chi Minh City has a legal and practical basis to develop the project, at the same time, it will research, consult experts, work with people from all walks of life, coordinate with central agencies, including the Ministry of Home Affairs and related agencies. The City will pay attention to planning details, mobilize resources, and report to competent authorities throughout the project. In particular, Ho Chi Minh City will take people's opinion on naming the new administrative unit. Currently, the name Thu Duc City is being used temporarily because of the administrative boundaries of Thu Duc District in Ho Chi Minh City.
In addition, Ho Chi Minh City will develop plans and roadmaps for implementing major tasks such as propaganda, and creating a consensus among the people on the establishment of Thu Duc City. A workable local government apparatus for Thu Duc City will be established and the People's Committee of Ho Chi Minh City will try to decentralize authority for the governance of Thu Duc City. At the same time, there will be a strong emphasis on calling for more investment, planning of infrastructure, and construction of eight key functional centers.
Thu Duc City will be an institutional breakthrough, so Ho Chi Minh City will implement solutions to elevate international standard universities, develop new university zones, and implement policies to create maximum conditions for research, training and international integration. Ho Chi Minh City will establish a policy mechanism to manage and attract investments for Thu Duc City and implement effective policies to create strong links with businesses and the startup community.
The contingent of cadres and civil servants, especially for key positions in Thu Duc City, will need to maintain ethical qualities and aspirations so as to contribute their best to the development of Thu Duc City, and to a larger extent to Ho Chi Minh City.
-Mr. Nguyen Thanh Phong, Chairman, People's Committee of Ho Chi Minh City.