VIETNAM’S deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung asked the Ministry of Construction to pay attention to the development of social housing projects and homes for low-income earners while enhancing urban management and creating favourable conditions for construction businesses.

Dung was speaking at a conference on Friday to review results achieved by the ministry last year and raise orientations for this year.

Dung said that the market demand for social housing projects remained high while supply was limited, stressing that the ministry needed breakthrough policies to boost social housing development.

The management on urban development, industrial and economic zones must also be enhanced to ensure the appropriateness to the urban housing development programme, Dung said.

In addition, the ministry should focus on coordinating with relevant ministries and agencies to develop solutions for treating ash released by thermo power and fertiliser plants into building materials, Dung said, adding that it was important for environmental protection.

Minister of Construction Pham Hong Ha said that the huge volume of ash released from thermo power and fertiliser production was posing threats to the environment.

Ha said that in January, three ministries, including those of industry and trade, construction and natural resources and environment would meet to develop solutions to promote the use of ash in producing building materials.

Ha also said the Ministry of Construction would develop an action plan to implement the Government’s resolutions about socio-economic development targets and improving the business environment and national competitiveness.

According to Deputy Minister of Construction Le Quang Hung, the sector had a good year last year.

The ministry’s report pointed out that the production value of the construction sector grew 9.2 per cent last year, meeting the target set for the full year and contributing significantly to socio-economic development.

Hung said the ministry last year also focused on administrative reforms to create favourable conditions for construction businesses with 41.3 per cent of administrative procedures eliminated and 47.3 per cent simplified out of 215 business prerequisites.

The ministry also completed three law compilation projects last year, including the Law on Architecture, the Law on Urban Development and Management and project of amending the laws on construction, housing, real estate business and urban planning.

He said Vietnam ranked 20th out of 190 economies by the score of dealing with construction permits by the World Bank’s report on the ease of doing business.

The real estate and building material markets had seen stable development, Hung said.

The ministry’s report said that housing prices did not see considerable fluctuations last year compared to 2017.

Real estate inventories totalled 22.8 trillion dong ($980.4 billion) as of December 20, a drop of 82.24 per cent against the peak recorded in the first quarter of 2013.

A total of 58 million sqm of housing area was completed last year. Some 5,800 homes for low-income earners were completed with a total area of 290,000sqm. Average housing area per person now reached 24sqm.

The building material market met domestic demand while the focus was also placed on developing new, environmentally-friendly materials, the report said, adding that 55 out of 63 provinces and cities have already developed plans to eliminate baked bricks and use unbaked bricks. As of November, unbaked bricks were estimated at eight billion units, accounted for 30 per cent of the total brick output.

Hung said construction management was also enhanced nationwide with planning of 58 out of 63 provinces and cities approved to ensure sustainable urban development. There were 828 urban areas throughout the country, statistics showed.

The ministry’s appraisal of construction investment also helped cut costs by 2.6 per cent, equivalent to $1.6 billion, according to the ministry’s report. VIET NAM NEWS/ANN