Millions earmarked for Vietnamese development
HANOI - The Vietnamese government has earmarked VND300 billion (US$20 million) for surveying and planning works in 650 urban centers. The funds will be spent on infrastructure, mainly in residential, trade and technical areas. Road networks, water and drainage, electricity and other public utilities will get priority.
The state budget will contribute some 60 percent of the funds, with the remainder kicked in by other capital sources. The country's four major cities, Hanoi, Ho Chih Minh City, Hai Phong and Da Nang, will form the backbone of the plan but development in provincial capitals will also be monitored closely.
The government wants to see 80 percent of the urban population have access to clean water by 2005. Residents in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City will have between 120-150 liters daily per capita, while those in provincial capitals and district towns will have 80-100 liters. The country's combined daily capacity of clean water supply will rise to 6.65 million cubic meters over that time-frame. By 2010, 100 percent of urban residents should enjoy access to clean water. Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City will provide residents with 180-200 liters per day, while provincial capitals and district towns get 100-120 liters. The government also wants to see waste water treatment and drainage systems upgraded or put in place in all urban centers by 2020.
The development plan will ensure lighting systems along main sections of national and provincial roads at night. The safe and orderly construction of real estate will be the responsibility of the state and the people.
The government will keep a tight rein on the property market, to ensure people can trade and exchange their properties. It will establish a back-up fund to help low-income earners repair their houses or build new ones. Students at universities, colleges and vocational training schools will get more dormitories.
But more work is needed to ensure the government target of eight square meters per head of living space by 2005, 10 square meters per head by 2010, and 12 square meters by 2020. It is imperative that both low-income and affluent people are catered to with a variety of housing designs and construction.
Urban development, however, remains a complex issue for authorities. The country is still grappling with poor technical infrastructure, a lack of funds and an imbalance between economic and population growth rates. Authorities assert that unless a comprehensive urbanization policy is drawn up, the country will not be able to achieve its goals of sustainable economic growth and environmental protection. It will also encounter difficulties narrowing the gap between rich and poor and generating jobs for its citizens.
For these reasons, due attention must be paid to the construction of comprehensive urban infrastructure between now and 2020. This will help guarantee sustainable socio-economic growth based on the enhancement of ecological and environmental protection. The urban master plan must set down strict guidelines for housing repair and construction. It must stipulate the use of high technology and advanced management techniques to ensure the nation's cultural and architectural values are preserved.
Urban development will only be properly carried out when investment capital comes from a variety of sources, both domestic and international.
source: Asia Times Online, July 13, 2001