Constantly Increasing Investment Attraction

3:39:23 PM | 10/17/2019

Binh Phuoc province now has 13 industrial parks and Hoa Lu Border Gate Economic Zone approved for establishment by the Prime Minister. These investment destinations have attracted hundreds of projects and made Binh Phuoc a “bright recipient” of investment capital and an ideal destination for investors. This success is partly resulted from the dynamism, creativity and tireless efforts of the Binh Phuoc Economic and Industrial Zones Authority. On this topic, Vietnam Business Forum Magazine has an interview with Mr. Nguyen Minh Chien, Director of the Binh Phuoc Economic and Industrial Zones Authority. Hoang Lam reports.

To be more attractive to investors, how has the Binh Phuoc Economic and Industrial Zones Authority focused on investing to complete the infrastructure system of industrial zones and the Border Gate Economic Zone, and reforming administrative procedures?

Investors, especially FDI investors, pay great attention to existing infrastructure systems in industrial zones and economic zones before they make investment decisions. Being aware of this, we often urge industrial zone infrastructure investors to comply with the registered investment schedule, periodically check their projects and ensure the perfect construction of roads, landscapes and wastewater treatment systems. We support building trunk roads and drainage ditches in industrial zones to help infrastructure investors and secondary investors feel secure when investing in industrial parks.

For Hoa Lu Border Gate Economic Zone, given limited local budget, we utilize central support to construct checkpoints and guiding roads, inner roads among commercial - service - industrial zones, earth roads and drainage canals among other facilities. To date, a total of about VND170 billion has been disbursed. In the coming time, we will attract three more industrial zone infrastructure investors in the economic zone to provide manufacturing premises for secondary tenants. We also worked with water suppliers, drainage companies, power companies and telecommunication service providers to assist businesses to access their services when they need.

As for administrative procedure reform, the Binh Phuoc Economic and Industrial Zones Authority pays particular attention to this main task. Up to now, we have applied the single-window mechanism to this effect and enterprises do not have to go to different places and spend a lot of time dealing with this work. We also receive and handle administrative procedures provided by other agencies according to the interagency mechanism and deliver results to investors if they request. Notably, we have reduced the settlement time to a minimum and most administrative procedures are resolved one third earlier than the regulated time. Especially, appraising and approving environmental impact assessment reports takes only 10 days (compared to the allowed 50 days). In addition, we also regularly review to reduce unnecessary or inappropriate procedures.

How has the Binh Phuoc Economic and Industrial Zones Authority endeavored to better carry out the province’s investment attraction policies?

First of all, we focus on improving the investment environment. On the one hand, we advise on developing investment incentive policies with the best benefits given to investors; urge investors and mobilize additional investment resources for building infrastructure in economic and industrial zones; and select capable infrastructure investors. Besides, we have trained a contingent of professional employees to support them and radically change their service attitude to increase their satisfaction. For that reason, we have an open investment environment. Through annual surveys on business satisfaction, we have found no dissatisfaction about the Binh Phuoc Economic and Industrial Zones Authority.

On the other hand, we also focus on attracting new investors. We built a website and a hotline to exchange information with investors when they come to explore local investment opportunities. We take advantage of domestic and foreign promotion opportunities, together with central and local investment promotion delegations and enterprises to entice investors. Furthermore, we are also supported by many organizations and individuals such as VCCI, commercial counselors in some countries, and especially businesses that have invested effectively in local industrial parks and economic zones.

What are policy difficulties and obstacles that the Binh Phuoc Economic and Industrial Zones Authority confronts when it performs State management of industrial and economic zone development? Do you have any suggestions and recommendations to deal with them?

During the course of operation, we have encountered certain difficulties, including policy hurdles, particularly authorization mechanism, which is changeable upon changes of governing laws. Meanwhile, as an agency directly affiliated to the Provincial People’s Committee and not considered a professional agency, if we are not fully authorized under Government Decree 82/2018/ND-CP, it is difficult for us to operate the single-window mechanism and we will face inconsistent regulations on industrial and economic zone management. Most recently, Decree 40/2019/ND-CP on amendments and supplements to a number of articles of the detailed decrees and directives on implementation of the Law on Environmental Protection, effective from July 1, 2019, abolishes provisions of authorization to the Economic Zone Management Board, which is now only for professional agencies. This will cause us a lot of difficulties in managing the business climate in industrial zones and tenants themselves are not satisfied because they cannot handle their administrative procedures according to the single-window mechanism. In this regard, we recommend that the Government and ministries need to unify mandate tasks through legal documents or upgrade the power of managers of economic and zones into law for consistent application.

Binh Phuoc currently has four industrial parks with an occupancy rate of over 90% and four industrial parks with an occupancy rate of more than 80%. They attracted 234 projects with a total investment of US$1,793.16 million and VND6,160.49 billion (US$267 million), including 163 FDI projects (119 projects in operation). They hire 55,200 workers.

Hoa Lu Border Gate Economic Zone currently has 73 tenants licensed by the Provincial People’s Committee. They register to hire a total area of 2,196.41 ha, of which three investors hire 1,129 ha. 32 companies are operating in the economic zone, mainly engaged in import, export and warehousing.

Another difficulty we want to mention is the regulation on additional planning of industrial zones. Clause 1, Article 5 of Decree 82/2018/ND-CP of the Government, dated May 22, 2018, stipulates “In case of addition new industrial zone plans, the total industrial land area of industrial parks established in centrally governed provinces and cities leased to registered/licensed investors must reach at least 60%.”

Currently, the province has four industrial parks with an occupancy rate of more than 90% and four others with an occupancy rate of over 80%. However, as Becamex - Binh Phuoc Industrial Park has a large planning area (2,450 ha) in operation, the average occupancy rate of the whole province decreases significantly (to 28.9%). So, we have difficulty in establishing new industrial zones to attract investment.

In this regard, we recommend that the Government consider and amend Clause 1, Article 5 above as follows: New industrial zones are added when 80% of industrial zones have an occupancy rate of at least 60%. Then, we will have the opportunity to expand industrial zones to woo new investors to the province.

Thank you very much!