Vietnam orders local governments to stop building extravagant offices for themselves

By Anh Vu, Thanh Nien News

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 A graphic image of Khanh Hoa Province's administrative building with a projected cost of $191.62 million
Vietnam has ordered local governments to suspend all of their plans for new offices before all costs and expenses are reviewed carefully. 
The Ministry of Construction will look into all the projects and any shortcomings will be reported and fixed to prevent wasteful spending, Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai told legislators at a meeting on Tuesday.
Local governments have been building new headquarters which supposedly bring together all public services as part of the central government's administrative reform efforts, Hai said.
However, in the past few years, some new government hubs that cost tens of millions of dollars to build have been criticized as extravagant.
The issue resurfaced early this month when the central province of Khanh Hoa and the northern city of Hai Phong announced their plans for new administrative buildings with estimated cost of VND4.3 trillion ($191.62 million) and VND10 trillion ($445.63 million), respectively.
Responding to public outcry, Hai Phong People's Committee then organized a press conference, saying that the estimated cost is meant for a new urban area, "a small part" of which will be the administrative building. Under the city's plan, 70 percent of the cost will come from the state budget.
About 15 administrative buildings are being planned or being built around Vietnam, mostly in the range of VND1-5 trillion ($44.56-222.82 million), according to a survey from the Vietnam Association of Architects.

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