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January 16, 2019 10:51 PM
05/15/2006 09:59
Modern cities require suitable system of urban administration
Dr Nguyen Minh Hoa, director of the Community and Urban Development Research Centre, spoke to Lao Dong (Labour) newspaper about the process of building a modern urban administration.

Is it too early to mention the concept “modern urban administration” in Vietnam?

No, it isn’t.
Many countries in South-east Asia have been building modern urban administrations since 1980s. They have notched up many good achievements.

In Vietnam, 20 years of urbanization has shown that the management style of villages is not suitable to modern cities.

Each country has different political regimes, social conditions and traditional cultures. However, we must respect and follow international standard, principles and criteria to develop our urban regions. This is in keeping with the market economy.

How do we begin to build a true urban administration?

We must start with thought. We must systematically rethink the situation. This must be revolutionary thinking.

We must accept new ways of doing things and discard old ways which are not suitable any more. We must do this even if it reduces some agencies’ power.

The State as well as urban administration must protect, assist and create conditions for all subjects to develop.

What is your vision of a modern urban administration?

This is a strong vehicle of authority. However, it is not cumbersome. It is clean, clear, effective and democratic. Staff in this machinery is professional.

The most important position in this machinery is that of mayor. This person must have real power. He or she must have skills as well as wisdom. He or she will be responsible to the people.

Chairman of cities’ People’s Committee is a position which doesn’t hold enough power. He or she is just a small element in a collective leadership mechanism.

China has had mayors since 1991. The mayor is selected by the people through the direct democratic regime. People vote for deserved candidates after listening to their four – or five-year-period plans.

After selecting the major, people will evaluate his or her performance every six months or once a year. The mayor will work with a consultancy council of good scientists in all fields.

The city councils is an agency which will be responsible for adopting policies suggested by the major, for example on budget and tax matters.

Can you clarify the concept of decentralization?

Decentralisation is an important element of modern management, where you have management in territories instead of collective management. The power of lower management levels will be increased.

For example, HCM City will have the right to self-determine its development. Until recently, projects over US$1 million needed the decision of related ministries, after which it had to be approved by the Prime Minister.

HCM City needs a suitable regime to take advantage of all the city’s strength. The city also has to give more power to lower management levels.

The city’s leadership system will play the management role. This system must create conditions for the private sector to do business.

HCM City recently tried to establish different management levels in some fields. What do you think about this?

The management mechanism is cumbersome. We can refer to the two-level administration model, including city level and ward level, used in the Philippines. Or we can refer to the two-level administration model, including city level and district level, followed in Indonesia.

The important thing is that we have not had skilled staff to meet the demands of the urbanization process.

We must consider management as a career. Staff, including the mayor and deputy mayor, must be carefully trained before selection. Civil servants must be professional and must get good wages. Managers must use information technology and keep contact through the Internet. The number of meetings must be reduced. There is an urgent demand for transforming to professional urban administration from subsidized administration. We also must promulgate an urban law. We have been without an urban law for too long now.

Vietnam News dated 11 May 2006


Modern cities require suitable system of urban administrationIs it too early to mention the concept “modern urban administration” in Vietnam? No, it isn’t. Many countries in South-east Asia have been building modern urban administrations since 1980s. They have notched up many good achievements. In Vietnam, 20
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