Van Phong Economic Zone: New Impetus for Khanh Hoa to Accelerate Development

9:53:20 AM | 7/6/2021

No longer a "sleeping beauty", after 15 years of construction and development (April 25, 2006 - April 25, 2021), Van Phong Economic Zone has fully transformed to become a new driving force for Khanh Hoa to accelerate development. Vietnam Business Forum’s reporter has an interview with Mr. Hoang Dinh Phi, Director of the Van Phong Economic Zone Management Board, to learn more about its achievements and development strategy. Han Luong reports.

Could you please tell us about outstanding achievements Van Phong Economic Zone made in the 2015-2020 term?

After five years of implementing Resolution 08-NQ/TU, in 2016-2020, the economic zone licensed 42 projects (33 domestic projects and nine foreign-invested projects) and allowed 14 projects to add their capital base (10 domestic projects and four foreign-invested projects) with a total registered capital of VND66,045 billion, exceeding the target of VND50,000 billion. They dispersed VND18,274 billion, equal to 45.7% of the target of VND40,000 billion set by the Resolution. They paid VND20,950 billion to the State Budget, accounting for about 26.6% of the province’s budget revenue and created jobs for 6,251 workers (lower than the target of 10,000 - 12,000 workers).

Every year, the Management Board actively reviews and studies administrative procedures for further simplification. Specifically, in 2015-2020, the processing time was reduced for 31 administrative procedures (approximately 60% of the total administrative procedures managed by the board). It reformed administrative procedures towards the single-window mechanism to ensure favorable conditions for organizations and individuals. The agency gradually introduced information technology into operation and settlement of administrative procedures for investors and businesses. These efforts built trust in Van Phong Economic Zone among businesses and investors. Regarding satisfaction index, the Board was rated good in 2016 and in 2017 and excellent in 2018 - 2020.

Would you mind describing the solutions the Board adopted to overcome difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic?

The COVID-19 pandemic has adversely affected the Vietnamese economy and the whole world. It has also caused numerous challenges in operation and management. To overcome this obstacle, the Board proposed practical and proactive solutions.

Specifically, the Board supported and guided enterprises to implement administrative procedures for foreign workers; coordinate with the Department of Health to check and review contents relating to pandemic prevention for foreign workers before granting work permits to them; and coordinated with Immigration Bureau - Provincial Police and relevant agencies to carry out procedures to support foreigners who are investors, experts and business managers to enter Vietnam for business purposes. The Board implemented solutions to facilitate online filing through Khanh Hoa Online Public Administration Service Center, used online payment utilities for fees, charges and financial obligations; and used the service of submitting documents and receiving results by public postal service. The Board coordinated with relevant agencies, the State Bank of Vietnam - Khanh Hoa Branch to propose and implement business support solutions to overcome difficulties and restore business activities in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Board strengthened foreign investment promotion through media, email and seminars through diplomatic channels.

After the success of the Party Congress at all levels, did the Board also plan specific strategies for the new situation?

In Resolution 05-NQ/TU of the Khanh Hoa Provincial Party Committee on Van Phong Economic Zone development in 2021-2025, Van Phong Economic Zone will become a prioritized coastal general economic zone (under the direction of the Prime Minister’s Official Notice 271/TB-VPCP) that drives economic development of the province and the Central Coast. Bac Van Phong Area will become a modern marine economic center and create breakthroughs for the province and the region, while Nam Van Phong Area will become an industrial center with seaports, a hub of industrial parks and key industrial projects. Accordingly, in 2021-2025, the Board will strive to attract at least VND150 trillion of new investment capital and disburse at least VND75 trillion. Tenants in the economic zone will pay up to 30-40% of the province’s State budget revenue, account for 40% of the province’s industrial and construction value, and create stable jobs for about 10,000 workers.

Do you have any recommendations for policymaking to accelerate the quick, effective and sustainable development of Van Phong Economic Zone in the coming time?

As investors and businesses decide to invest in Van Phong Economic Zone, they will pay attention to four basic issues: Strict legal system and open policy mechanism; simple and transparent administrative procedures; support from all levels of government; and modern and synchronous infrastructure system.

Mr. Nguyen Nhat, Deputy Minister of Transport, said that the future of Van Phong Economic Zone is very "bright" and there must be a suitable governance model for it in addition to better improving the business investment climate. Therefore, when studying specific mechanisms and policies for Van Phong Economic Zone development, the Board determines that reforming administrative procedures is a major approach to find appropriate mechanisms and policies to facilitate investment attraction into Van Phong Economic Zone in particular and Khanh Hoa province in general. Accordingly, the Board will follow some specific solutions: Building a single-window mechanism where all administrative procedures are settled centrally in the spirit of Decree 82/2018/ND-CP. The Board has gradually streamlined administrative procedures within its jurisdiction to reduce the quantity, time and cost concerning this effect for tenants, especially administrative procedures relating to investment, production and business. The Board proposed that the province focus on solving human resources to meet requirements for quantity and quality of labor. Currently, the Board is working with a consulting unit to research mechanisms and policies on Van Phong Economic Zone development. Hopefully, these mechanisms will be approved to help Van Phong Economic Zone attract investors in the coming time.

Thank you very much!