Professionals and experts need to help HCM City resolve its problems like traffic congestion, flooding, unsafe food and poor healthcare services, city leaders said at a meeting with them on Tuesday.
Prof Dr Nguyễn Ngọc Giao, chairman of the HCM City Union of Science and Technology Association, said, “The most two urgent tasks for the city are sustainable development and attracting intellectual resources to develop the city.”
He said many “intellectuals” are disappointed with the shrinking social welfare benefits, falling morality of many government workers and severe environmental pollution caused by foreign companies.
“We have 60,000 intellectual members and many of them have studied the problems of the city. I suggest the city’s leaders should meet them often to listen to their suggestions.”
Assoc Prof Dr Đỗ Thị Hồng Tươi, a lecturer at the HCM City University of Medicine and Pharmacy, hoped the city’s leaders would use young experts, especially those who have graduated abroad, since many of those returning do not know how to apply what they have studied and what they would get for their contributions.
“Young intellectuals would like to contribute many new ideas to the city’s development.”
Assoc Prof Dr Hồ Thanh Phong, head of the Việt Nam National University HCM City – International University, wondered how to attract overseas Vietnamese experts to come and contribute.
“We have had a number of meetings to consider this but the problem has not been solved yet. I think the salary policy is the biggest hurdle. We need to properly reward experts and scientists for them to focus on research.”
Assoc Prof Võ Văn Sen, president of the Việt Nam National University HCM City – University of Social Science and Humanity, said HCM City is home to a million “intellectuals,” yet the contribution of science and technology to GDP remains very low and the city only spent around VNĐ 500 billion (around US$23 million) in the last five years on research.
“If the city does not change the current mechanism and pay more attention to research, HCM City would lose its competitive advantage.”
The city should hire foreign experts with high salaries only for specific projects and not for general research, he said.
Assoc Prof Dr Lê Kế Lâm, chairman of the Marine Economy and Science Technology Association, suggested that the city should develop its maritime economy.
HCM City may have only 27km of coast in Cần Giờ District, but it should give priority to marine transport and shipbuilding, he said.
Dr Dương Anh Đức, deputy director of the Việt Nam National University HCM City, said there are 67 universities, colleges and educational institutes in HCM City. Research centres have been established at many of the universities and institutes, he said.
Nguyễn Thành Phong, chairman of the city People’s Committee, said: “Besides capital and human resources, the city will also focus on increasing the application of science and technology to improve the quality and speed of economic growth.
“The city is trying to become a smart city with focus on healthcare, transport and social welfare. We warmly welcome all contributions to the project from intellectuals.”
Party Secretary Đinh La Thăng said: “The city’s achievements have been possible due to contributions from intellectuals, and the city’s leaders would like to hear and apply all suggestions for development from intellectuals.
“The city will improve policies to encourage scientific research and boost the role of intellectuals, increase State spending on science and technology, simplify administrative procedures and honour outstanding works and ideas.”