Land information more available: World Bank

(VOV)-The Mekong Delta city of Can Tho was ranked first in Vietnam for providing comprehensive, easily accessible land-related information through its website, the World Bank said in its Land Transparency Study which was released at a ceremony on December 12.

Central ThuaThien Hue province came second, Hanoi third and Ho Chi Minh City fourth. The Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang was at the bottom of the list. 

A group of experts from the World Bank and the Development and Policies Research Centre conducted the study between late 2013 and early 2014 in 63 provinces and cities throughout the country. 

Tran Thi Lan Huong, a co-author of the study said she and her colleagues analysed 63 provincial websites and visited provincial, district and commune government offices in 63 localities to ask for legally available land information. 

Offices should be able to provide land-related information on administrative procedures; land use plans; urban planning; compensation, support and resettlement; land allocation and leases; and land-related charges, fees and taxes, she said. 

Meanwhile, in terms of providing land-related information at government offices, central Thanh Hoa province ranked first, according to the study. HCM City ranked 41st, Hanoi was at 56th and Dien Bien at 63rd. 

The study found that reforms in recent decades have made information on land issues more publicly available, but in many cases public officials still failed to provide the information. 

Huong said that in some localities, staff at commune-level government offices did not know about their obligation to provide land-related information for people. 

The report pointed to problems in government staff’s attitude, capacity and leadership. Some officials simply refused requests or demanded letters of authorisation. At the commune level, officials were usually unavailable during working hours or said they lacked the requested information. 

Victoria Kwakwa, the country director for the World Bank in Vietnam, said enhancing transparency in land management is critical for more efficient and sustainable use of the country’s land resources. 

Nguyen Manh Hien, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, said strengthening inspections at all levels would help to improve the situation. 

Next year, the Government will issue a decree listing the land-related information government offices should be able to provide, he said.