Bac Lieu Ready to Catch Golden Opportunities from EVFTA and EVIPA

2:14:28 PM | 10/9/2020

In recent years, Bac Lieu has strongly emerged as a leading light in the Mekong Delta’s socioeconomic development and investment attraction with many effective projects that create motivation, foundation and ripple effects for the province to draw more investors. How will Bac Lieu province prepare to welcome investment opportunities brought by EVFTA and EVIPA together with the redirection of investment flows in the region? Our reporter has an interview with Mr. Duong Thanh Trung, Chairman of Bac Lieu Provincial People's Committee. Thanh Tung reports.

Could you please tell us about the province’s outstanding achievements in investment attraction?

Bac Lieu province’s investment attraction is diversified and renovated in forms and contents, with rising quality. In 2019, the province witnessed 10 projects disburse over VND2 trillion; licensed 16 new projects, including 13 domestic projects with VND2,145.3 billion of investment capital and three FDI projects with US$113.51 million.

Today, the province has gradually become a popular destination for domestic and foreign investors in the Mekong Delta, demonstrated by its successful meetings with businesses and investors in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, especially cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, FLC Group and Viet Uc Corporation to organize two events (Workshop on Bac Lieu and Workshop on Bac Lieu Shrimp - Vietnamese Flavor) in FLC Ha Long Resort Complex - Quang Ninh, which contribute to introducing and popularizing the image of Bac Lieu province, advertising its shrimp industry and promoting the brand of Bac Lieu shrimp to domestic and international communities.

Particularly in the first six months of 2020, despite being heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the province still achieved a growth of over 3%. The province licensed nine projects with a total registered capital of VND100 trillion - a record value of the province. These factors have greatly contributed to local economic growth. Specifically, Bac Lieu licensed nine projects (including eight domestic projects with VND4,279.94 billion and one FDI project with US$4 billion), an increase of VND2,331.01 billion of domestic investment value and US$3.89 billion of FDI value from a year earlier. These projects are involved in five economic pillars of the province such as wind power and high-tech agriculture. The Bac Lieu Natural Gas Power Plant (LNG) project in LNG Bac Lieu Thermal Power Center invested by Delta Offshore Energy Pte. Ltd with a registered investment value of US$4 billion is considered a driving force for the province. As for business development, in the first six months, Bac Lieu province has 215 newly established enterprises with a total registered capital of VND2,930 billion, an increase of 9.13% in number and 29.27% ​​in value from the same period of 2019. These results are expected to create a strong foundation and a broad ripple effect, helping the province to draw more FDI projects in Bac Lieu in the coming time.

What support and incentives do investors get when they come to the province?

Bac Lieu province is assigned to the list of investment priority specified in Annex II of the Governmental Decree 118/2015/ND-CP dated November 12, 2015. When investing in the province, investors will enjoy highest priorities and support in the regulatory framework. The service motto of the province is “right subject, enough policy, quick procedure".

In addition, with its solutions for a better business investment environment and the dedication of responsible public employees, investors will be offered consultation, support and quick resolution of administrative procedures, with the “convenient - fast and friendly” approach. Specially, the province “says No to informal charges,” “always stands by the side of investors and enterprises” and serves them with the principle “easy work for enterprises, hard work for the government.”

The shift of investment flows in the region is bringing a great opportunity for Vietnam. So, how has Bac Lieu province prepared to accommodate these flows?

The province has focused on improving infrastructure and socioeconomic development, and facilitating solutions to speed up infrastructure construction, especially key traffic works. Bac Lieu province has established and adjusted socioeconomic development plans, sectoral development plans, product development plans and construction plans to lay the foundation to lure investment flows into the province. It has applied appropriate mandatory policies and mechanisms to utilize resources effectively. The province has applied appropriate mechanisms to attract local resources for development; adjusted land rent rates flexibly for each period in order to increase budget revenue and attract investors. It has appropriate policies to maximize internal resources in each region in the province.

In addition, the province has proactively allocated resources for site clearance to create land funds for investors. In the near future, Bac Lieu province will focus on upgrading the infrastructure system in 100-ha Lang Tram Industrial Park to welcome investors, especially FDI investors to create a driving force for local socioeconomic development. It will train and develop human resources capable of applying advanced technologies to meet business needs, especially in fields where the province is calling for investment capital. It will continue to step up administrative reform, with focus placed on reducing the time for settling administrative procedures, building and completing foreign investment policies in line with its chosen development trends and approaches, and meeting advanced regional and international standards. At the same time, Bac Lieu will monitor and assess anti-corruption measures, thrift practices and waste prevention methods; and ensure stable social order, safety and a good investment environment to secure investors.

EVFTA officially took effect on August 1, 2020. To help local businesses to tap this pact, what practical actions and programs has Bac Lieu made?

EVFTA is a comprehensive, high-quality agreement. The pact will be a huge boost to exports of Vietnam in general and Bac Lieu province in particular, helping to diversify markets and export products, especially agricultural and aquatic products. In order to help local businesses to make good use of opportunities generated by EVFTA, the Party Committee and the government of Bac Lieu province have made specific steps to prepare for better investment and business environment; and mobilized investment resources for development.

Accordingly, the province has developed, issued and implemented investment promotion programs; effectively applied solutions to improve PCI scores and rankings.

Bac Lieu province has continued to accelerate administrative procedure reform, especially simplifying procedures concerning investment registration and business registration, with a focus on reducing the time for processing administrative procedures, and creating favorable conditions for businesses and investors to carry out their investment projects. At the same time, it has actively supported resolving difficulties for businesses and investors, and created motivation for them to implement projects as planned, particularly high-tech agriculture projects and wind-to-power projects.

Bac Lieu province has improved the performance of provincial and district public administrative service centers in order to create a favorable environment for investment attraction; applied information technology to operations and solved administrative procedures for citizens and businesses.

The province will also soon establish and operate a startup and investment promotion center under the Department of Planning and Investment in a bid to provide better support for startups and improve the quality and efficiency of investment attraction. It will further assist businesses to accelerate international cooperation and economic integration and maintain relationships with established partners. It will further expand trade promotion to increase output markets for local products; strengthen investment promotion and tourism promotion to introduce the local investment environment, potential and advantages to domestic and international investor communities, thereby attracting more and more investors to Bac Lieu.

Source: Vietnam Business Forum