Southern Bac Lieu Province Strives to Attract Investment

3:21:21 PM | 26/11/2010

The attraction of investments into Bac Lieu province has been limited and not well-matched with the locality’s potential. Aware of the situation, the provincial authority has actively promoted reform and raised awareness, along with the responsibility of leaders, in parallel with building a transparent and attractive investment environment. The province’s efforts have started showing results.
Boosting Promotion and Assistance to Enterprises
Le Minh Chien, director of the Bac Lieu Centre of Trade and Investment Promotion, said the province has increased its efforts to attract investment. During the past three years, many investors arrived in Bac Lieu to seek opportunities. In the first ten months of 2010, the province drew 39 investment projects, including 33 by domestic investors, totalling VND1.29 trillion and three foreign-invested ones worth US$12.6 million. A series of investment projects by big economic groups such as the Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PVN), Vietnam Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex) and LilamaLand are underway in Bac Lieu, expected to bring great changes. In September, 2010, the Bac Lieu People’s Committee signed an investment deal with the Foreign Trade Development and Investment Corporation of Ho Chi Minh City (FDC) to build a coastal resort site and upgrade the Bac Lieu aviary.
Vo Van Dung, Bac Lieu chairman, said over the past years, the attraction of investment to the province was limited and far short of its potential. However, the situation has improved significantly in recent years, particularly with the government policy supplementing the national plan with sea port investment projects, Ganh Hao economic zone, Bac Lieu thermo power centre with 3,600MW capacity, a wind power plant, and Bac Lieu-Hau Giang-Ha Tien highway. Some big projects such as Ganh Hao economic zone, sea port, power centre, embankments along Bac Lieu River and transport and tourism projects have received support from the provincial people’s committee to be implemented as soon as possible. In addition, construction has been sped up at administrative centres at districts, and residential areas and new urban areas, as well as decoration of urban areas.  
According to Dung, in order to increase the effectiveness of attracting investments, Bac Lieu has focused on boosting financial and banking activities, assisting enterprises to easily access capital sources. The province has also enhanced trade and investment promotion, seek particularly for markets to export agro-forestry-fishery products, as well as supporting local enterprises to register and build trademarks. The province has also strived to create a convenient legal environment for both domestic and foreign businesses in accordance with the policy “Difficult issues for the provincial authority, and easy ones for enterprises.”   
Bac Lieu has also listed projects to call for investment and new priority policies; organized investment promotion conferences in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, and planned to hold similar conferences in some foreign countries. The provincial people’s committee has signed cooperative agreements with other localities like Ho Chi Minh City and Can Tho, and with big economic groups, opening more opportunities for Bac Lieu to implement core economic projects and boost the province’s socio-economic development. 
Efforts to Narrow the Gap
According to Mayor Vo Van Dung, Bac Lieu is still a poor province with a low baseline, particularly its location outside major economic zones and far from regional and national economic centres. Thus, attracting investment is difficult.
To overcome these challenges, apart from applying government programs for some important projects and issuing its own policies to boost development, the provincial authority has been striving to improve its ability to serve organizations and enterprises operating in the province, particularly with administrative reform. The province is renewing its administrative procedures in line with the one door mechanism in a bid to shorten delays for enterprises. Bac Lieu also pays attention to the fields of finance and banking credit, to help enterprises easily access capital to expand their business. Raising enterprise competitiveness is also among major tasks, through supporting trademark development to publish product quality.   
In the upcoming time, to boost further the attraction of both domestic and foreign investments, Bac Lieu will improve land use and construction project planning, help enterprises to choose business fields suitable for their financial situation and capability. The province will publicize its land rent policy, to ensure equality and transparency.
Bac Lieu is speeding up the infrastructure construction process in Tra Kha industrial zone, ensuring flats as required by investors; and boosting the implementation of Lang Tram, Ganh Hao, Ninh Quoi and Vinh Hau industrial zones. Through these industrial zones, the province expects to attract investments and help districts reduce poverty. The provincial authority will support private enterprises investing in the locality with land, capital, technology and market issues. 
Director of the provincial centre for trade and investment promotion Le Minh Chien said Bac Lieu is currently applying the highest priority framework for investors. The centre is advising the provincial peoples’ committee to adjust regulations in light of the real situation, to increase investment attraction in the coming time.
With these specific measures, the provincial authority hopes investment attraction will succeed, helping Bac Lieu integrate with the country’s socio-economic development and narrow the development gap with other provinces in the Mekong Delta region and the whole country.
Thien Hoa