Dak Nong Province: Potentials & Investment Opportunities

3:37:08 PM | 24/11/2009

At the investment promotion conference into Central Highlands held September 5, a director said “you must cross lots of hills and slopes to meet “Dak Nong’s beautiful women”. Making the comparison, the director means that apart from its beauty, Dak Nong still has numerous difficulties. Which difficulties is the central highlands province facing and how do they deal with them? To answer the questions, we have interviewed Mr Nguyen Thanh Son, Director of the province’s Department of Planning and Investment.
Dak Nong was compared to a woman in the south of the Central Highlands. What is your opinion about Dak Nong’s beauty?
This is a manner of speech! Dak Nong is the southern gateway of the Central Highlands with a convenient transport system including Highway 14, which links to Ho Chi Minh City and Highway 28, which connects the province to provinces of Lam Dong and Binh Thuan. Gia Nghia town is considered the second Da Lat of Vietnam. With 380,000 hectares of forest, waterfalls, lakes, natural conservation areas, traditional festivals, the culture of gongs, Dak Nong has almost all the criteria of a tourism locality.      
Regarding agriculture, Dak Nong province has potentials of coffee, rubber, pepper, cashew with a combined area of more than 122,000 hectares, over 3,200 hectares of fruit trees and 47,000 hectares of food crops. The province, thus, is able to provide sufficient materials for the processing industry.   

Dak Nong’s strengths are hydropower and minerals. In term of hydropower, the province has planned many huge plants with a total capacity of more than 1,500 MW. Regarding minerals, the province is rich in bauxite with an estimated reserve of 5.4 billion tons, meeting adequately the industry for tens of years. On schedule, the bauxite exploitation project will be put into operation in 2010 with an output of one million tons per year. In parallel with exploiting bauxite, the province also focuses on investing and developing the transport system, trade and services.   
However, Dak Nong suffers from poverty, which is reflected in the weakness of infrastructure and workforce. What strategies has the provincial authority outlined to deal with the difficulties?
Dak Nong province has been set up for only six years (2004-2009), so we must start with a blank slate. Even the township of Gia Nghia today is built on the model of old Gia Nghia town, which was one of the poorest districts of the old Dak Lak province. This proves how poor Dak Nong is!
For the development orientation in the future, Dak Nong People’s Committee will authorize ways to further boost the attraction of investments into industry and tourism. In detail, the province is planning for the Tam Thang industrial zone, Nhan Co industrial complex, Dak Ha small industrial complex, and the Dak Perr border economic zone. For tourism, the province aims to develop the Draysap-Trinh Nu-Gia Long tourism site, Nam Nung ecological-cultural-historical tourism site, Lieng Nung ecological tourism site. In addition, the development of infrastructure at the Gia Nghia urban area is an important task.

About the development of the workforce, some of the province’s vocational training centres have become operational including the Phuong Nam technical and vocational training school in Dak Rlap, which trains more than 6,000 high quality laborers annually. This is a necessity to contribute to the province’s investment promotion work.
Dak Nong province is striving to call for investments into industry, tourism, and infrastructure fields. Do you think it needs a stimulus to do this? 
I want to review what the province has gained recently. Between 2004 and early 2009, Dak Nong attracted 250 domestic projects with total registered capital of nearly VND31 billion. In terms of foreign-invested projects by late 2008, the province lured seven projects valued at US$27.76 million. These are still modest figures but the province’s potentials are available to investors.
However, to lure investors, Dak Nong province’s people need a change in their mindset and we are striving to do it. Firstly, the provincial people’s committee is continuing to supplement and complete policies involved in investment attraction, making a “one door” mechanism. The project 30 of the Provincial People’s Committee plays an important role in the reform of administrative procedures. The Provincial Party Committee has issued a decision to set up the steering board for raising capability and expanding investment cooperation in order to facilitate the provincial standing committee of the party as well as the Provincial People’s Committee in raising the capability and expanding investment cooperation in the whole province. 
The province also pays attention to advertising potentials and strengths, announcing the list of projects in need of investment and expanding regional coordination particularly with Ho Chi Minh City.   
How can you assess the effectiveness of investment projects that are trying to set up in the province?
About the effectiveness of investment projects coming to Dak Nong, I can summarize into three points as follows: Firstly, the sum of capitals has increased remarkably, contributing to the province’s socio-economic development process. Secondly, the province’s potentials and strengths have been exploited and used effectively, helping boost the conversion of economic structure and workforce towards industrialisation and modernisation. Investors also focus on the fields of trade and service, contributing to raise the province’s competitiveness as well as capability to lure investment.      
We understand that difficulties facing the pioneers are huge. They are lovers of the “Dak Nong beautiful woman”. The provincial authority will strive further to settle any problems. Some localities spread out a red carpet to welcome investors in order to create a driving force to boost their economic growth. Lots of them have succeeded and I believe Dak Nong will also achieve its goals.  
Phuong Thuy