Attracting Investment in the Mekong River Delta

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By Nguyen Huyen My

May 9 – In recent years, the Mekong River Delta (MRD) has gradually developed in all aspects, but to speed up investment attraction, the implementation of new infrastructure projects needs to be accelerated.

Mr. Nguyen Phong Quang, permanent deputy head of the Southwest Steering Committee, recently said that during the last 10 years, the MRD has seen comprehensive development, creating positive evolutions in many aspects. Infrastructure, especially in transportation and irrigation, has gained important developments from a low starting point, changing the entire appearance of the MRD.

Along with transportation, human resources in the region also have significantly improved. The entire area has newly established, expanded and upgraded a number of universities, colleges, secondary vocational schools and training schools. The agriculture sector has mobilized more than VND4.6 trillion to build flood control works, completed 35 medium and large irrigation works in which there are 12 works supplying 2,000 hectares of agricultural land, 20 flood control works in Long Xuyen and Dong Thap Muoi.

However, despite this progress, infrastructure still remains the largest factor limiting the development of the MRD region. Although advances in transportation have been made, the sector is still weak. More work is needed to upgrade the coastal corridors as well as some major waterways and maritime lines. Local irrigation and works to cope with climate change also need to see more investment.

Besides, the quality of human resources including skilled labor for enterprises, leading experts for research, and regional management, is limited. There should be some specific mechanisms and policies for the area, such as mechanisms to mobilize social resources to invest in transportation, irrigation, health care and education.

Sharing the same idea with Quang, Chairman of the Bank for Investment and Development in Vietnam Mr. Tran Bac Ha said that transportation and technical infrastructure in regions such as the power centers of Long Phu, Song Hau and Kien Luong need to be expedited. He also mentioned that the international airport in Can Tho, Phu Quoc should be up and running as soon as possible.

Ha also added that the MRD region has advantages in agricultural production. Therefore, attracting investment into the processing sector requires the local areas to set up large-scale material areas. He also revealed that within this year, the Bank for Investment and Development in Vietnam shall implement a credit program to support exports of from the agricultural and fishery sectors in the MRD worth US$100 million with interest rates lower than 2 percent compared to normal lending.

Deputy Prime Minister and Head of the Southwest Steering Committee, Mr. Vu Van Ninh requested the local areas to recognize their potential strength in order to have a suitable development plan. The deputy prime minister strongly expressed that the government shall have plans to invest in the infrastructure development of the MRD towards modernization and to construct appropriate specific policies to attract investment in the whole region. He said that the local authorities also need to actively link towards harmony interests, do not null out each other; further promoting the reform of administrative procedures, creating an open investment environment for increased investment in the future

At the recent Investment Promotion in MRD Conference, the provinces have called for investment in 178 key projects with a total calling capital of more than VND171,000 billion and US$1.5 billion. The provinces also awarded investment certificates for 10 projects with total registered capital of VND4,695 billion.

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