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Vietnam PM Supports Plan to Give Saigon More Policy Autonomy

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has agreed to a proposal which would give Saigon more leeway to set policies separate from the central government, though details of the plan remain vague.

VnExpress reports that Phuc met with city leaders on Wednesday to discuss the topic of Saigon's autonomy when it comes to creating policies. He also announced his support for setting up "exclusive policies" for the metropolis.

This would allow municipal officials to make decisions that are currently carried out by ministries or agencies from the central government. However, it is unclear exactly which fields these decisions will fall under.

The news source shares that Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue said at the meeting: "There must be special policies for the city or its growth will slow."

Saigon's economy is booming, but it also faces major challenges from inadequate infrastructure, frequent flooding and worsening pollution and air quality.

Given these difficulties, three months ago, the city Party chief, Nguyen Thien Nhan, asked for policies which would "increase the city's control and responsibility" over its direction.

City leaders also want to retain a greater portion of income created by Saigon for spending on local needs. Last year the central government's budget proposal for 2016-2020 included a decrease in the income share which Saigon gets to keep from 23% to 17%. The rest of its income is sent to Hanoi.

The city pushed back hard, and municipal authorities actually asked for this figure to be raised to 33%, but under current regulations the National Assembly determines the rate every five years, VnExpress explains.

Saigon is easily the country's biggest money machine. It raked in VND306 trillion (US$13.48 billion) last year, up 12% from the previous year.

Related Articles:

- Central Government Asks for Higher Share of Saigon's Income Under New Budget

- Saigon to Be 2nd Fastest-Growing City Economy in Asia by 2021

- Saigon's Metro Construction May Be Delayed Due to Financial Setbacks

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