Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has requested that efforts be made to streamline the country’s administrative procedures in construction-related fields.
The aim, he stressed, is to reach the average time it takes for such procedures to be done in ASEAN-4, which indicates the four most developed economies in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
Currently, ASEAN-4 includes Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines.
According to the premier’s directive, which was issued last week, the combined time to go through all construction-related procedures for a single application is to be shortened from 166 days as per current regulations to 120 days.
This includes the time it takes to review construction drawings and fire prevention plans, issue construction permits, approve the building’s access to utilities, and grant certificates of property ownership.
Relevant authorities are tasked with implementing information technology and administrative reforms to achieve this target.
Ministries are also asked to study and propose a revision of current laws concerning such procedures, according to the directive.
|A chart illustrating the current and expected days it takes to carry out different procedures related to construction in Vietnam. Graphic: Tuoi Tre|
Despite recent governance improvements in Vietnam following major policy reforms, residents and investors say they still face red tape when it comes to applying for construction permits and other related papers, a process that could take months to complete.
According to a World Bank report, it takes 82 days on average for a construction permit application to be processed and approved in Vietnam.
In reality, however, realty developers say they must wait at least twice as long to get their hands on the paper due to various complications along the way.
V., director of a real estate company based in Ho Chi Minh City, said it could take two years from the date an application is filed until when the project can actually break ground.
Officials always managed to find fault with an application, he said, forcing developers to correct their ‘mistakes’ and reapply from the start, which could be repeated two or three times.
“Of course there are occasions when the applicant is at fault, but most of the times it’s just unnecessary nitpicking on the officials’ part,” V. said.
Q., a Hanoi-based real estate developer, said those in the industry always have under their belt some ‘contacts’ within related government bodies to help speed up the process.
“They are familiar with the procedures and can easily ask for ‘favors’ from their colleagues, so it would be much quicker if they can take care of your application,” Q. said.