The HCMC government has withdrawn the licenses and ‘in principal’ approvals of 536 long-delayed real estate projects occupying a combined area of more than 5,390 hectares since Resolution No.16/2012/NQ of the HCMC People’s Council took effect two years ago.
HCMC vice chairman Nguyen Huu Tin clarified that those urban development projects have had licenses revoked and decisions for land allocation invalidated as they have progressed at a snail’s pace.
The updated number of canceled projects is much higher than the figure the city announced last month. In June, the city said it had revoked the licenses of 209 foot-dragging property projects covering more than 2,300 hectares as found in inspections the city had carried out since early last year.
At a press conference held late last month, Vo Van Luan, office manager of the HCMC People’s Committee, said the city would continue conducting inspections into property projects and those investors unable to carry out their projects on schedule would face the same fate.
Figures released by the HCMC People’s Committee last month showed there were 1,386 housing projects covering more than 11,770 hectares in the city. Completed developments accounted for only 13% and 15% of the projects that are under construction. Up to 61.6% of the property projects have been suspended and the rest have had their licenses or ‘in principle’ approval canceled.
The city has completed a master zoning plan of 1/2000 scale to serve as a legal basis for urban management and development in this economic hub of Vietnam. And in the coming time, the HCMC government will continue inspecting around 100 projects already allocated to investors with signs of slow progress.
Delayed projects have not been reviewed in HCMC but also in other localities in Vietnam. Nguyen Minh Quang, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, told the “Citizens Ask, Ministers Answer” program aired on Vietnam Television (VTV) last Sunday that around 20,000 hectares of many foot-dragging projects have been taken back.
However, Quang said the withdrawn acreage remains modest compared to the area allocated to the projects whose progress has been much slower than pledged by the investors. This means the area needs to be taken back is huge.
Quang said the revised 2013 Land Law allows the investors to postpone their projects for a maximum of 24 months but they must pay fees for land use and land lease for that duration in accordance with exisiting regulations. After two years, the investors will have the land given to their projects withdrawn if they are unable to put the land into use.
Construction engineer Nguyen Duc Dat told the Daily that a 24-month period of delay is not reasonable if it is applied to projects of different sizes and purposes. Therefore, the ministry should reconsider it and issue guidelines for project implementation.
ODA disbursements slow in HCMC
Disbursements of the official development assistance (ODA) loans in HCMC have been very slow due to delays in implementation of the projects using this capital source, and a number of donors have complained about this.
HCMC vice chairman Nguyen Huu Tin mentioned the situation at the opening day of the 14th session of the HCMC People’s Council on Tuesday.
Tin said that the city has more than 10 ODA projects with total registered capital of nearly US$6 billion, including the East-West Highway and other some major projects related to water resource improvement, the second phase of Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe catchment improvement and subway developments.
Tin said finance for some projects is available but implementation process, site clearance and compensation are great concerns. For instance, Metro Line No. 1 stretching from Ben Thanh Market in downtown HCMC to Suoi Tien Park in District 9 is scheduled to come into service in 2017 but the site clearance has not been completed.
Tin said the city government will speed up disbursements in the coming time to make full use of ODA loans and support HCMC’s economic growth.