HCMC promoting administrative reform, boosting public service performance

Ho Chi Minh City this year has strived to carry out its administrative reform and improve the investment environment in order to create breakthroughs in public services offered to citizens and businesses. However, the limited results achieved so far urge the city to focus more on improving public duties and working performance to contribute to the city’s growth.

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 Civil employees are processing administrative documents for residents in Binh Hung Hoa A Ward People’s Committee (Binh Tan District). (Photo: SGGP)

For over 3 years, residents of Milennium apartment building (sited at 132 Ben Van Don Street of District 4, HCMC) have contacted various state agencies for the issuance of their house ownership certificates. After buying apartments here, these people authorized the building investor to submit necessary documents for such a certificate at the HCMC Land Registration Office in October 2019. For the next two years, this Office repeatedly asked for instruction to finish the issuance procedure from the HCMC Department of Natural Resources and Environment, but was unsuccessful. Until now, no certificate has been delivered yet.

In 2022, HCMC has strived to address any possible problems related to house ownership certificate issuance and was able to deliver over 21,000 certificates to house purchases in accommodation development projects around the city. However, there are still cases like the ones in Milennium apartment building above and those obtaining apartments in resettling buildings such as the resettlement area of Hiep Phuoc Port (Nha Be District) or in Pham Van Hai Commune (Binh Chanh District).

Many businesses sited in HCMC also reported the tardiness in the progress of administrative procedures. Ho Thi Thu Uyen, Chairwoman of the Saigon Hi-tech Park Businesses Association, shared that the should-be ‘one station’ model in the planning adjustment approval process for this Park was reversed to the outdated ‘multiple-station’ one. It takes around 2 years even for a local adjustment of the planning, while the theoretical time should be 3-6 months.

She stressed that some enterprises encounter unacceptable challenges even to build service facilities like toilets or parking lots for their workers because the Management Board of Saigon Hi-tech Park need to ask for permission from related state agencies and local authorities.

Responding to inquiries on the tardiness in administrative procedures, Vice Chairman of HCMC People’s Committee Vo Van Hoan explained that all steps in current administrative procedures are regulated by the Central Government. The time to complete these steps is varied in different localities because of many factors. One of them is the verification of submitted documents, and another is the dissimilar workload of each civil official in each locality.

HCMC is trying to reduce the time to perform these administrative procedures as much as possible via the use of technologies. At the end of this October, it launched its ‘IT System to Complete Administrative Procedures’, which is an integration between its Public Service e-Portal and its Electronic One-Station Model. The system, when linked with the National Public Service e-Portal, can speed up the procedures a great deal.

The city has chosen the theme for next year as ‘Improving the Quality of Public Services, Accelerating Administrative Reform and Investment Environment Enhancement’. It will focus on addressing current administrative problems for businesses via flexible solutions depending on the real situation, as directed by Chairman of HCMC People’s Committee Phan Van Mai.

As 2023 is the year for the city to boost its overall growth despite the forecast challenging time for its economy, HCMC determines to boost its administrative reform so that it can better mobilize potential resources and promote the cooperation among city dwellers and the municipal authorities.

Chairman Mai insisted that once this reform has been successfully completed and public duties have been increased among civil employees, the city has a strong foundation for its sustainable growth.

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A resident is submitting necessary documents online at the Document ATM in District 6. (Photo: SGGP)

Deputy Head of the Legal Board under HCMC People’s Council Le Minh Duc praised the city’s determination in carrying out its administrative reform to better serve its residents. It has exploited IT applications for the digital transformation process. Hotline 1022 has done a good job to distribute residents’ feedbacks to corresponding state agencies.

However, dwellers in certain places are still unsatisfied with the local authorities due to the issuance of house ownership or land use certificate, construction permit. In addition, it is necessary for both the city leaders and businesses to be transparent and open when answering the public’s inquiries. Within 24 hours of receiving reports, notifications must be delivered to announce these reports are being processed.

Head of the Economy-Budget Board of HCMC People’s Council Le Truong Hai Hieu pointed out the low rate of administrative reform in HCMC in 2022. He proposed that the city should concentrate on perfecting and publishing administrative procedures from local to city levels for the public to easily monitor. The integration of databases among state agencies and districts, Thu Duc City, as well as HCMC People’s Committee should be smoother for more effective exploitation.

Head of the HCMC Institute for Economy and Management Tran Quang Thang stressed on the importance of investment environment improvements in urban economic growth. HCMC should continuously enhance its attractiveness and prestige to welcome an increasing number of potential investors. Moreover, the city must address the problem of traffic connection. Lastly, it is not wise for the city to depend too much on international corporations. Instead, it should increase its activeness and innovation while forming close cooperation between the community and the authorities.