The Ministry of Planning and Investment will issue directions on tightening controls over golf course projects this month, a VnExpress newswire report said Friday.
It quoted Minister Bui Quang Vinh as saying that the directions will ask related agencies to review and remove courses that were not built in accordance with zoning plans.
Those who allowed golf projects that have used rice and crop land, or protective forest land will be punished, Vinh said in an online talk with the public.
He said there is nothing wrong with the golf course business because it can create jobs and attract tourists, but it is "unacceptable" that production and protective forest lands are used to build golf courses.
"The ministry also does not allow investors to use lands assigned for golf projects to build villas," he added.
Only localities with tourism potential are licensed to build golf courses, and the courses are only permitted on deserted and sandy lands, Vinh said.
He said license applications have been submitted for 28 golf course projects.
Although it has been assessed that these do not not use rice farms, the government has yet to include them into zoning plans, he said, adding that they will wait for further directions before making final decisions on granting licenses.
Under the directions, the ministry will assign a delegation to review a project before the Prime Minister considers licensing it, he added.
Earlier, the ministry's inspections revealed that of all 90 licensed projects, only 21 were exclusive golf courses, while the others were combined with real-estate projects, VnExpress said.
There are 24 golf courses currently operating in Vietnam.