Ho Chi Minh City Thrives, Progresses, Prospers

Being adaptable, capturing and seizing opportunities from Resolution 98 to bring Ho Chi Minh City back on track of sustainable development, deserving its role as a leading city.


On the eve of the Lunar New Year – 2024, Member of the Party Central Committee, Deputy Secretary of the Municipal Party Committee, Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Phan Van Mai had a conversation, sharing about a challenging year of 2023 and the determination to overcome difficulties with ambitious plans to accelerate in 2024.

Not giving in to difficulties

Reporter: Sir, looking back on a difficult and challenging year of 2023, what impressed you the most?

Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Phan Van Mai: Ho Chi Minh City has just experienced a year with immense challenges, caused by numerous external difficulties and internal limitations and obstacles. The economic growth rate of 0.7% in the first quarter exceeded the expectations of many. Although there were concerns, the city remained calm, identified and focused on addressing the issues.

Together with the leadership and guidance of the central authorities and the determination to overcome difficulties of the political system, the people, and the business community, the city gradually overcame difficulties, achieved the goal of prevention and recovery of growth. If the first quarter grew by only 0.7%, the second quarter increased to 5.87%, the third quarter continued to reach a high growth rate of 6.71%, and the fourth quarter made a breakthrough with a growth rate of 9.62%, resulting in a 5.81% annual growth rate. This demonstrates the effectiveness of the city’s leadership, guidance, and administration.

In addition, many long-standing outstanding cases and projects have been resolved, resources have been mobilized. The city has established new platforms and motivations for development through the implementation of Resolution 98/2023/QH15 of the National Assembly, which pilots some specific mechanisms and policies for the development of Ho Chi Minh City.

While these results did not meet the targets and expectations set by the city for 2023, I highly appreciate them. On behalf of the city’s leadership, I sincerely thank the community spirit, responsibility, active and effective contributions of the people, businesses; the efforts of the sectors and levels that have contributed to the results in 2023.

However, there are still many things that you are not satisfied with in 2023?

– The city’s leadership and I have looked straight into and clearly seen many unachieved goals in 2023, when 8 out of 21 economic and social component targets were not met. For example, the disbursement of public investment capital. By the end of the disbursement period in late January 2024, it is expected to reach only 72%.

This work was implemented and carried out by the city from the beginning of 2023 with specific plans and schedules. The issues and solutions were thoroughly analyzed and discussed. However, the results still did not meet the target of 95%. Furthermore, the coordination between sectors and levels was not synchronized and effective enough. This is an issue that the city’s leadership must directly face, not avoid, in order to provide effective guidance and administration in 2024.

As for the target of achieving a growth rate of 7.5%-8% in 2024, is it too challenging for the city?

– According to forecasts, the global economy is not very optimistic, and the domestic economy continues to be adversely affected by external factors and internal flaws, limitations, and existing problems. Our city is also facing potential growth decline.

It can be said that the target of achieving a growth rate of 7.5%-8% is very high and challenging but it does not mean it cannot be achieved. Resolution of the 11th Party Congress of Ho Chi Minh City set a target of an average annual growth rate of the gross regional domestic product (GRDP) of 8% in the 2021-2025 term. If we do not take into account the year 2021, which was affected by the pandemic – an unforeseeable factor, in 2024 and 2025, the city must achieve a growth rate over 8%. The higher level is the Resolution 24/2022 and Resolution 31/2022 of the Politburo, which both define that the city’s annual growth rate must be 8% or more. Therefore, the city sets high goals both to strive, challenge itself and to demonstrate its aspirations for growth.

To achieve this, Ho Chi Minh City will not be complacent but will proactively keep abreast of the situation and implement tasks from the beginning of the year; flexibly respond to global and domestic developments; promptly update and supplement solutions during the implementation process to ensure the achievement of the target and the task of speeding up towards the destination – 2024. Breakthrough solutions will be implemented, together with the maximum utilization of the “weapons” from the specific mechanisms and policies of Resolution 98.

Undoubtedly, public investment capital – the catalyst, will be vigorously implemented by Ho Chi Minh City, right?

– To achieve the growth target for 2024 of 7.5%-8%, which is 1.2-1.3 times higher than in 2023, promoting public investment, enhancing attraction, and supporting private investment are key tasks that the city’s entire system must resolutely and effectively implement.

In 2024, the amount of public investment capital that the city needs to disburse is over VND 79 trillion, which is more than VND 10 trillion higher than last year. This is a considerable amount, posing a difficult challenge that the city needs to solve.

To achieve effective progress in the disbursement of public investment capital, the Ho Chi Minh City government has organized a conference to assess the results in 2023, thereby assigning specific tasks in 2024 to each individual, unit, and investor. The city’s government has also reviewed the cooperation process between departments, sectors, and localities, clearly defining their responsibilities and monitoring progress; handling the responsibilities of individuals, organizations, especially those in leadership positions. Discipline will continue to be tightened in this issue. In parallel, further decentralizing, empowering Thu Duc City and districts with the highest proactive spirit for localities, thereby promoting the responsibilities of the leaders.

The city will continue to focus on removing long-standing problems and projects to promote social investment. This is a task that the city has actively carried out in 2023 and has achieved certain results.

In addition to promoting investment-driven growth, Ho Chi Minh City will also vigorously implement the remaining two growth drivers: domestic consumption and export. The city will implement policies to stimulate domestic consumption through stimulus programs, promotions, tourism, and diversification of export markets.

Foreign visitors visiting Ho Chi Minh City Photo: Hoang Trieu

In addition, the city will focus on boosting the new growth engine – Thu Duc City, especially when the city has Resolution 98, sir?

– On January 1, 2021, Thu Duc City was established with the expectation of contributing to 1/3 of the total regional gross domestic product (GRDP) of Ho Chi Minh City, equivalent to 7% of the total domestic product (GDP) of the whole country.

After more than 3 years since its establishment, Thu Duc City has not developed as expected due to the lack of accompanying mechanisms, and the authority of the Chairman of the Thu Duc City People’s Committee is no different from a district chairman. The organizational structure machinery is not much different from an administrative unit at the district level. Being the first “city within a city” model under the direct authority of the Central Government, Thu Duc City faces difficulties in strategizing, planning, and long-term development.

Through reviewing regulations and mechanisms that can be decentralized to Thu Duc City, the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee has also done so. However, it is not enough for Thu Duc City to stand out.

Therefore, when Resolution 98 was passed by the National Assembly, took effect from August 1, 2023, it is expected to open a new chapter for the development of Ho Chi Minh City in general and Thu Duc City in particular. The Resolution has created a legal framework with the value of a “law” for Thu Duc City to enhance its dynamism, creativity in management, development, and especially in mobilizing resources. Thu Duc City has been empowered to organize its machinery, with mechanisms in the field of construction, planning adjustment, and investment budget allocation…

I believe that if the mechanisms from Resolution 98 are well implemented, Thu Duc City will truly develop, make a breakthrough, and contribute to Ho Chi Minh City as expected.

Photo: Hoang Trieu

“Weapon” – Resolution 98

Resolution 98 is an opportunity for breakthroughs, how will Ho Chi Minh City seize this opportunity in 2024 – the year of accelerating towards the goals of the 2020-2025 term?

– The fact that Ho Chi Minh City has Resolution 98 is only the initial success. The true success of the city lies in the effective implementation of the new resolution. The amount of work to implement Resolution 98 is enormous; there are many difficult tasks that require the highest efforts and determination of the entire political system, the city’s leadership, and administration to transform the mechanisms and policies of Resolution 98 into “weapons” for development.

Understanding this, when Resolution 98 was endorsed by the National Assembly delegates, the city’s political system “activated” each part of the plan as planned. The city’s preparation did not stop at making action plans, drafting resolutions but also focused on building a team, fostering the mindset for each responsible officer to implement Resolution 98.

After nearly 6 months of implementation, with the spirit and willingness to work day and night of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Council and People’s Committee, 25 resolutions to realize specific mechanisms and policies have been issued and put into effect such as poverty reduction, infrastructure investment projects in the form of BOT and BT have also been launched, attracting investment through PPP in the fields of culture, sports, healthcare, and education, establishing the Thu Duc City apparatus, establishing the Department of Food Safety…

The focus of the city in 2024 is to continue to closely coordinate with central agencies and ministries to quickly develop a system of guidelines for implementing Resolution 98, ensuring the earliest completion of the government’s legal framework so that the specific mechanisms and policies of Resolution 98 can be fully applied in practice.

In parallel, continuing to submit to the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Council draft resolutions on other mechanisms and specific policies of Resolution 98. Especially focusing on implementing effectively the resolutions approved by the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Council. These tasks not only restructure the city’s urban development but also create a large amount of resources and capital for investment and development.

In addition, during the implementation process, Resolution 98 allows Ho Chi Minh City to study and propose new mechanisms to competent authorities to exploit and fully utilize its potentials and advantages. Therefore, Ho Chi Minh City must seize this opportunity and take advantage of Resolution 98 to bring the city back to the path of development as the leading city in the country, creating a foundation for the city to achieve the two-digit growth rate of GRDP after 2025, which is the main and largest goal.

To do this, the city’s officials and civil servants are the key, decisive factors, right?

– As I shared above, the city has prepared its team, built the mindset for each officer responsible for implementing Resolution 98 since the proposal of specific mechanisms and policies. Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee Nguyen Van Nen also emphasized: “Ho Chi Minh City will implement Resolution 98 with an offensive spirit, without room for hesitant people, those who do not want to work”. Not only Resolution 98, but that spirit is the common spirit of Ho Chi Minh City in performing assigned tasks.

Recently, a series of income and housing policies have been issued by Ho Chi Minh City to create a foundation for continued “attracting talents, treating talents”, attracting, retaining, and employing talents. Typical examples are the increase in income for experts and scientists up to VND 100 million/month and preferential treatment to recruit civil servants from outstanding graduates (supporting 2-4 times the basic salary of the region).

Most importantly, Ho Chi Minh City is completing the Project “Building an efficient and effective civil service of Ho Chi Minh City in the period of 2024-2030”, which proposes new policies to build a team of officials, civil servants, and employees with ethics, talent, and dedication to the city; focusing on creating conditions for career development, creating work motivation, and encouraging and promoting innovation, creativity, daring to think, and daring to do among the team. At the same time, the city has a mechanism to protect dynamic and creative officials for the common interest under the spirit of Conclusion 14/2021 of the Politburo.

A new spring is coming, bringing new opportunities, sir, do you have any messages for the officials and people of Ho Chi Minh City?

– The workload in 2024 is huge, but I have confidence in the determination of the entire political system, the unity of the people, the business community, and the city to overcome difficulties and challenges to achieve the set goals.

The people and officials of Ho Chi Minh City have a tradition of being dynamic, creative, daring to think, daring to do, daring to take responsibility, and courageously facing difficulties. This has been evidenced throughout the city’s history of over 320 years of formation and development, especially during the renovation period and the COVID-19 pandemic. These good traditions will continue to be greatly promoted in the coming time to realize the aspirations to rise and be worthy of the city “for the country, together with the country”.

On the eve of the new year – Lunar New Year 2024, on behalf of the city’s leadership, I would like to send my sincere wishes for good health, success, and happiness to the people, officials, soldiers, and overseas Vietnamese.

Thank you, Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee.

Strongly digital transformation

Ho Chi Minh City has identified its theme for 2024 as “Resolute implementation of effective digital transformation and Resolution 98/2023/QH15 of the National Assembly”.

In addition to Resolution 98, Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Phan Van Mai said that the city will vigorously implement digital transformation to achieve clearer results in 2024. Digital transformation is compulsory. The city will establish a Digital Transformation Center and deploy a unified mobile application for communication between the people and the authorities; operate a unified land management system and construction permit across the city.

In addition, the International Financial Center, the Can Gio International Transit Port, and the mobilization of resources to build the urban railway system are three specific tasks that Ho Chi Minh City is trying to have guidelines from the Politburo, legal frameworks in 2024 to serve as a basis for implementation in the following years.

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