Administrative issues need addressing for more effective use of public assets

Public non-business units, as regulated, must submit a project plan to the chairman of a provincial/city People’s Committee for an approval to use public assets for trading, leasing, entering a joint venture, co-providing basic or essential services to the community for the sake of financial autonomy. In reality, however, problems in administrative procedures have prevented Public non-business units from effectively using public assets.

District 6 Children’s House is one of the two public non-business units in the district that have their public assets use projects approved for business purposes.

Statistics from the Ho Chi Minh City Confederation of Labor reveal that among 22 public non-business units with the demand on public assets for business or leasing purposes, only the project of HCMC Labor Culture House is considered valid while all others still encounter certain administrative problems. The HCMC Department of Culture and Sports still have 18 projects for public assets use waiting for approval.

Similarly, 72 public non-business units in Binh Tan District of HCMC have prepared projects to use public assets, for example to organize canteens or parking lots, but failed to receive an approval. District 6 has only greenlighted two out of 39 projects to use public assets of public non-business units to submit to the city.

Many of the current 1,888 public non-business units in HCMC have a strong demand to use public assets to serve various needs of citizens in the fields of healthcare, education, sports, recreation.

According to the Public Assets Use and Management Law 2017 and Decree No.151 by the Government, any public non-business units wishing to use public assets for business or leasing must use form No.2/TSC-DA to prepare a project. Most projects so far have been refused because they have not met all requirements of this form, and are in need of more detailed instructions.

Head of the Finance and Planning Office of District 6 Doan Quang Luan commented that it is such a challenge to fulfill all requirements of the form since they relate to various fields and agencies. In particular, the requirement of financial obligation to the State needs certifications from the tax unit for tax payment, the natural resources and environment unit for land rent, the planning unit for land use and planning, the science-technology unit for brand value, or the construction unit for repairing, renovating activities. Due to such complexity, District 6 has formed consultation teams to support public non-business units in preparing necessary documents.

It is stated by law that any projects not yet approved cannot run. However, this assessment process takes such a long time that public non-business units suggest it is better to temporarily allow them to exploit public assets at their current state to avoid financial waste.

Head of the Finance Office in HCMC Confederation of Labor Cao Xuan Duong informed that two-thirds of the public non-business units under the Confederation’s management need frequent budget allocation to maintain their regular operations as they cannot freely lease their properties due to administrative problems.

Chairwoman of District 6 People’s Committee proposed that public non-business units be allowed to lease public assets at their current state for a short term of around 1 year, as long as these public assets are exploited in accordance with the financial autonomy plan of public non-business units. District 6 also suggested not to issue land rent to essential activities like canteens or parking lots; alternatively, there should be a road map and suitable land rent rate.

Cu Chi District also proposed that the HCMC Department of Finance allow public non-business units in the district to continue using public properties for lease, along with detailed instructions on how to handle the land rents from leased properties not in accordance with regulations in public non-business units right now.

Vice Chairwoman of HCMC People’s Committee Phan Thi Thang stated that since the number of public non-business units in HCMC is quite large, the assessment for each public assets use project takes a long time, which becomes a burden to the city. Besides submitting a report for the Finance Ministry to address the issue, the city proposed that legal regulations should be reviewed and amended to better suit the reality.

In the meantime, it is recommended that the Ministries of Finance, Home Affairs allow the Chairman of HCMC People’s Committee to authorize leaders of related professional agencies as well as chairmen of district People’s Committee to approve public non-business units to use public assets for business or leasing within their power, according to the Law on Organization of Local Government.

The use of public assets for canteens or parking lots should be under the management of heads of public non-business units in order to directly support their regular operations.

National Assembly delegate Van Thi Bach Tuyet also suggested HCMC People’s Committee to provide more aid to public non-business units to complete necessary documents for their public assets use projects. These projects should be then quickly reviewed and approved to avoid waste and to maintain a stable income for public non-business units to improve their services to the public.

She also proposed that the National Assembly and the Government consider amendments for the Public Assets Use and Management Law 2017. Particularly, the organization of a canteen or parking lot should be properly aided with suitable policies and instructions, as they are such essential activities.

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