Ho Chi Minh City is facing numerous difficulties as the population is rising sharply.
Congestion in HCM City
The population has grown from three million after 1975 to 8.4 million. Another three million people from other provinces are studying and working in HCM City. As of now, the city has 7.6 million motorbikes, 700,000 cars and about one million other vehicles from other provinces. About 1,000 new motorbikes are registered each month.
According to the Department of Transport, the city’s 37.7 million square metres of road aren’t capable of supporting this number of vehicles, let alone maintain a decent traffic flow.
Party Secretary of HCM City Nguyen Thien Nhan also said that one of the most challenges is the lack of transport infrastructure. Every city needs 10 kilometres of road per square kilometre, however, HCM City only has 1.98km road per square kilometre. It will take 167 years to meet this standard at the current rate of construction.
Rapid population growth not only causes congestion but also unplanned urbanisation. As rivers and rice fields are filled up for high-rises, the city’s natural drainage has been affected and flooding is becoming more common.
In order to deal with all problems, the city needs VND850trn (USD37.45bn) for 2016-2020 periods, however, its budget can only afford 20-30% of the required investment.
However, National Assembly’s Resolution 54 which allows HCM City authorities to make decisions on issues that are currently within the authority of the prime minister, takes effect on January 15 and offers greater financial autonomy and tax raising powers.
“Even with public-private-partnership or ODA projects, the city still needs capital,” said HCM City Chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong.
After the resolution takes effect, the city will be able to provide better wages for experts and raise earnings for workers. However, there are opinions that more people would flock to the city and put more pressure on the infrastructure if better conditions are offered.
Deputy Le Thi Lien Minh from Tan Phong Ward said, “It would be a disaster if the number of people living in HCM City increases to 15 million. How can this problem be solved?”
Nguyen Thien Nhan said they couldn’t ban people from migrating to the city so they would need smart management plan. First, they need to improve incomes of the farmers as agriculture is still an important economic pillar in many areas. HCM City can become a provider of high-quality plant seeds, animal breeds and equipment to the Mekong Delta and Central Highlands. If the agriculture in other provinces improves and average incomes increase then pressure on HCM City will be reduced.
Secondly, HCM City aims to develop hi-tech and service industries which need trained and skilled employees. This will help reduce the number of unskilled workers that want to migrate to the city to find jobs.