Vietnam National Master Plan: Clear Development Goals and Priorities in Focus

9:47:09 AM | 9/9/2022

The national master plan for the 2021-2030 period, with a vision to 2050, will direct regional zoning and linking of the national territory (including mainland, islands, archipelagos, sea and airspace) in a scientific way to create a synchronous development space; orient urban and rural system development, complete synchronous infrastructure construction, effectively use resources and protect the environment, and actively respond to climate change, and ensure national defense, security and effective international integration.

According to Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Tran Quoc Phuong, the national master plan will concretize the country's socioeconomic development strategy to arrange the national development space in a reasonable way based on the potential and strength of the country to promote rapid and sustainable socioeconomic development.

Six key development perspectives

Mr. Tran Hong Quang, Director of the Development Strategy Institute under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, said that the national master plan is built on six development perspectives: Organizing the unified national development space and addressing development divided by administrative boundaries; concentrating resources to form dynamic zones, economic corridors and growth poles in potential areas; developing toward sustainability, ensuring economical and efficient use of land and natural resources; organizing the development space in line with forming a synchronous infrastructure system; building an independent, self-reliant economy with deep international integration; and organizing national development space based on land and marine space development.

According to some specific planning targets, the country’s population will reach about 105 million by 2030 and about 115 million by 2050; the average annual GDP growth will be at about 7% in the 2021-2030 period and 6.5-7%/year in the 2031-2050 period; GDP per capita will climb to US$7,500 by 2030 and US$27,000-32,000 by 2050; and the urban population rate will be over 50% by 2030 and 70-80% by 2050.

Specific goals of the master plan to 2030 include forming some dynamic high-growing regions with synchronous and modern infrastructure and with great contributions to the budget revenue; establishing key economic corridors; creating some national and regional urban centers where all health, education, training and cultural criteria reach the average urban development level of ASEAN+4 countries; building a network of internationally connected smart cities of national and regional levels, and 3-5 cities with regionally and internationally recognized brand names. Cities play a leading role and create vibrant effects on the development of neighboring areas and rural areas.

Vietnam will basically form the national infrastructure framework, including North-South traffic axes (National Highway 1A, Eastern North-South Expressway, sections of Western North-South Expressway, and some sections of North-South High-Speed Railway), important East-West traffic axes, key economic corridors, international gateway seaports (Lach Huyen and Cai Mep - Thi Vai), and major international airports (Long Thanh and Noi Bai). The country will build a synchronous and modern digital infrastructure, essential for digital government, digital economy and digital society.

Balancing and prioritizing development goals

Dr. Vu Nang Dung from Vietnam Soil Science Association said, among Vietnam’s current development advantages and challenges, it is necessary to analyze the economy of coastal areas and islands more closely in the vision to 2050 and orient the vertical spatial development of the country comprised of coastal provinces that can develop the coastal economy, marine economy and aquaculture; deltas and low mountainous areas that produce food to ensure food security, grow key industrial crops and high-tech agricultural parks; and high mountainous areas suitable for forest protection, afforestation, water source protection and forestry development.

Madam Carolyn Turk, World Bank Country Director for Vietnam, said Vietnam needs to focus on considering important points in the process of finalizing the Master Plan. The first is balancing and prioritizing development goals. An effective spatial master plan should reflect the development vision of authorities for the future of the country. Therefore, the master plan must be based on clear methodologies, sound analyses and clear development goals and priorities.

The second is addressing inadequacies in implementation. To be successful, the master plan also needs to clearly articulate how spatial development goals are intended to be achieved. In other words, the master plan should not only be well-built, but also be feasible and effective. This is particularly important because financial resources are limited while the country's ambition to change spatial development requires tough decisions, prioritized capital and selected investment.

The Ministry of Planning and Investment was assigned by the Government to work with central and local agencies to work out the National Master Plan. Up to now, the draft Report on the National Master Plan in 2021 - 2030, with a vision to 2050, has been completed and is seeking wide feedback.

The third is ensuring that an appropriate institutional, legal and regulatory framework is in place to implement the plan. Given preferences for spatial development around certain dynamic zones and economic corridors, it is important to make necessary adjustments to existing frameworks, including laws, institutions, incentives and enforcement mechanisms. This will help strengthen vertical and horizontal coordination and regional investment between the central government and local government and among localities.

Moreover, according to Ms. Carolyn Turk, Vietnam needs to improve public investment, from selection to disbursement. Improving the investment process also means that authorities have an important tool to achieve the objectives of the master plan. In addition, authorities also need to decide how to address land acquisition problems by region in order to accelerate strategic and prioritized investments.

Quynh Chi (Vietnam Business Forum)