Attracting Green Investment for Sustainable Future

10:03:14 AM | 12/12/2023

Can Tho City aims to attract green, clean and sustainable investment to build and develop an ecological, civilized, modern city imbued with the identity of the Mekong Delta as per Resolution 59-NQ/TW of the Politburo. Our reporter has an interview with Mr. Le Thanh Tam, Director of the Department of Planning and Investment, Can Tho City, on this issue.

Mr. Le Thanh Tam  (top left), Director of Department of Planning and Investment of Can Tho City, signs a cooperation agreement with Daewon Cantavil Pte., Ltd, September 11, 2023

Could you please tell us about outstanding achievements in improving the business environment, attracting investment capital and developing businesses in Can Tho City in the past two decades?

Over the past 20 years, Can Tho has made proud achievements in investment attraction and business development. The capital of Nine Dragons land has become the destination of many large domestic projects such as Muong Thanh Can Tho 5-star Hotel Complex of the No. 1 private construction firm from Dien Bien province, Vincom Can Tho Center of Vingroup, O Mon III thermal power plant of Vietnam Electricity Group, and O Mon IV thermal power plant of Vietnam Electricity Group. Besides, Can Tho is home to Can Tho Heart and Stroke Hospital of Viet Cuong Health Investment Company Limited with a total registered investment capital of VND400 billion and FPT University Complex and FPT Software Park of FPT Corporation. Currently, the chapter of FPT University - Can Tho Branch has been put into operation on 5.175 ha and with a total investment capital of VND400 billion.

Can Tho is also a destination for many FDI projects, including Lotte Mart Can Tho with a total initial investment of US$31 million (later increased to US$63 million), US$160-million Vinh Thanh Industrial Park (Phase 1) of a Singaporean investor, wholly South Korea-invested US$172-million sports shoe factory, and especially US$1.3-billion O Mon II thermal power plant of a Vietnamese and Japanese joint venture, which was later raised to more than US$2 billion.

To achieve the above results, Can Tho focused on fully and effectively implementing tasks and solutions to improve the investment and business environment, enhance competitiveness, remove difficulties to boost production development, market stability, social security and welfare. Throughout 16 annual editions since 2006, the city's Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) experienced the lowest standing at No. 22 and the highest at No. 9 out of 63 provinces and cities.

Business development is optimistic. In the 2004 - 2023 period, as many as 22,445 new companies of all types of ownership registered for establishment with a total registered capital of VND153,012 billion, including 1,750 new companies with VND12,500 billion of registered investment capital in 2023, up 4.7 times in companies and nearly double in value over 2004. At present, 10,800 companies and more than 2,000 company branches and representative offices are in operation in the city.

From potential advantages clearly shaped when the Can Tho Planning for the 2021 - 2030 period, with a vision to 2050, was approved, what industries and fields will Can Tho strongly attract investment capital for? What about the scale and strategy of projects?

Pursuant to the resolution on Can Tho Planning for the 2021 - 2030 period, with a vision to 2050, Can Tho's investment attraction approach in the coming time includes:

Industry: Shifting to projects that enhance productivity, quality, efficient use and regeneration of environmentally friendly resources and energy and carry high knowledge content; prioritizing projects in important areas such as agricultural processing, renewable energy, pharmaceutical production, electronic equipment and component manufacturing; and developing stages that create high added value and use fewer human resources and natural resources.

Trade - service: Investing in key services such as trade, logistics, MICE tourism and eco-tourism. Priority is given to attracting large-scale, modern projects with strong ripple effects on other industries and fields. Special attention needs to be paid to logistics projects such as cold storage systems, distribution systems, logistics centers and seaports to solve important bottlenecks for Can Tho and the Mekong Delta.

Agriculture - forestry - fisheries: Prioritizing high-tech agricultural projects (plant and animal seed production techniques, post-harvest preservation), helping increase productivity and limit environmental impacts.

Urbanization and housing: Prioritizing urbanization and housing investment projects and investing in synchronous, modern infrastructure to speed up urbanization in business districts beside Ninh Kieu, including O Mon, Binh Thuy and Cai Rang.

The city always prioritizes and invites well-reputed domestic and foreign companies with strong financial capacity and rich experience to learn and invest in the locality. Regarding domestic partnership, the city encourages large, reputable domestic companies to actively research and propose projects. In particular, companies in Can Tho are encouraged to invest in projects in line with the city's orientation, actively cooperate with foreign partners in investment projects to enhance their capacity and competitiveness. Regarding foreign partnership, the city encourages and attracts globally branded investors with strong financial capacity, stable and long-term investment capabilities, strong connectivity and attraction to support projects. The city focuses on promoting investment cooperation with partners in South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan (China), India, the United States and Europe.

Can Tho is also a destination for many FDI projects

Can Tho is known to take the lead in attracting green investment. What is the solution for the city to realize its green investment attraction strategy now?

To realize its green investment strategy today, Can Tho City focuses on the following issues:

Selectively attracting investment projects. Environmental protection is always a top concern, an important criterion in investor selection. Focus is given to projects that improve productivity, effectively use and regenerate resources and energy, apply environmentally friendly production and have high knowledge content. The city never exchanges economic interests for social and environmental goodness.

Weighing impacts of projects on people, seeking solutions to address existing matters; strictly applying regulations on resettlement, site clearance, ensuring people's livelihoods.

Promoting and prioritizing investment projects with regional effects that serve as a driving force and leverage for socioeconomic development, thus attracting investment flows not only into Can Tho but also surrounding areas.

Effectively carrying out the sectoral development planning and orientation based on local potential and development needs; prioritizing eco-tourism development together with high-tech agriculture to utilize local advantages and protect the environment, helping develop other service industries.

Reviewing and supporting investors to overcome difficulties and speed up infrastructure development projects; calling for investment from socialized sources, especially urban drainage and wastewater treatment projects and regional connection projects.

Can Tho has carried out many plans and projects to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and fostered startup incubation and innovation. Could you tell us more about this issue and how to remove bottlenecks to make projects and plans more effective?

Innovative startups are very vibrant. Every year, more than 100 innovative startups register for establishment, with many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) being quite successful. Along with the explosion in number, SMEs have made an important contribution to economic restructuring and employment.

The Department of Planning and Investment has actively coordinated with relevant agencies to advise the City Party Committee to issue Program 24-CTr/TU dated December 31, 2021 on SME, startup and young entrepreneurship support in the 2021 - 2030 period; consulted the committee to launch Plan 75/KH-UBND dated April 5, 2022 on implementation of the program. Specific supports include access to finance, land rent support in industrial zones, accounting services, sectoral cooperation and value chain connection, and human resource training and quality improvement. The city also introduced the SME support program in digital transformation to 2025, with a vision to 2030, and legal support program for SMEs in Can Tho City to 2024.

In the coming time, the department will advise the City Party Committee and the City People's Committee to implement consistent solutions on SME development in the new context. Notably, the department will enhance institutions, policies, and legal systems on transparent, fair, and healthy business to further improve the business environment and provide best support for businesses; carry out governmental policies and mechanisms regarding reforming administrative procedures, streamlining business registration procedures and reducing “unofficial costs.”

Furthermore, the department will promote the role of society, socio-political organizations and socio-professional organizations in developing SMEs and raising social awareness of SME development.

Thank you very much!

Tran Trang (Vietnam Business Forum)