Can Tho: Red Carpet Rolled out to Welcome Investors

4:58:45 PM | 4/12/2013

As the heart of the Mekong River Delta, Can Tho is always a top interest for domestic and foreign investors, thus the city's investment attraction results are very impressive. Mr Nguyen Van Hong, Director of the Department of Planning and Investment of Can Tho City, has given an exclusive interview to Vietnam Business Forum on the city's investment attraction. Hoang Ngoc reports.
Could you please briefly introduce Can Tho City's investment attraction in recent years?
From 2004 to June 2013, the city effectively applied solutions to attract investment resources for all sectors from various sources. Particularly, non-State funds in total social investment capital accounted for an increasing proportion, with respective percentages of 49.76 per cent, 55.72 per cent and 59.34 per cent from 2010 to 2013.
In the past 10 years, Can Tho City granted business registration certificates to 8,956 companies with a combined registered capital of VND34.66 trillion (US$1.7 billion). At present, the city has 12,854 businesses with an aggregate registered capital of VND37,275 billion, including 53 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects registering with US$809 million. As of June 2013, the city had 57 valid FDI projects with total registered investment capital of US$879.9 million, of which 28.6 per cent has been disbursed.
Industrial parks are currently housing 134 investment projects with a total registered capital of US$1,755 million in the 10-year period. To date, industrial zones in the city have 204 valid projects capitalised at US$1,843 million, of which US$807.3 million has been disbursed, accounting for 43.8 per cent of the total registered capital.
The city has also granted investment certificates to many real estate, trade, tourism and service projects and allowed many investment forms including BT (build - transfer), BOT (build - operate transfer) and BTO (build - transfer - operate).
As the heart of the Mekong Delta, could you tell us about Can Tho City's overwhelming advantages in investment attraction, particularly compared with regional localities?
Can Tho City now holds a central role in the Mekong Delta and serves as the land and air traffic hub of the region. The city has an important position in economy, culture, society, science, technology, education-training, services, tourism, commerce and other aspects of the whole region. The city now has a population of 1.21 million and per capita income of US$2,563. In 2012, the city welcomed 1.18 million tourists, with tourism spending growing. This is a potential market for investors. Besides, human resources, infrastructure and administrative institutions are decisive advantages for the city in investment attraction.
Investment in technical infrastructure and other facilities has enhanced connectivity. Many large-scale projects have been put into use, including Can Tho International Airport, Cai Cui Seaport and its logistics bases, National Road 1A, Can Tho Bridge, National Road 91B and Bon Tong - Mot Ngan traffic route. Besides, with its geographical location in the Mekong Delta, Can Tho City favourably connects with other localities in the region and beyond to become an important domestic and international land, airway and waterway transportation hub. Together with its scientific, technological, health and education strengths, cultural and sporting centres, financial, banking and insurance systems, the city is becoming a key service centre of the region.
In addition, the city's guidelines, policies and administrative institutional systems have been completed to shape a more conducive legal environment to draw domestic and foreign investment capital.
What solutions will the city take to enhance local competitiveness and attract more investment capital?
The city has issued many important policies to promote growth since 2004. Can Tho has given a lot of incentives to investors of industrial infrastructure, high technology industries, agro-fishery processing, trade, services, logistics and tourism, among others.
The city also established a business monitoring and support committee with the main tasks of monitoring and supervising production and business activities of enterprises and supporting enterprises to deal with problems. Besides, the city has constantly raised the quality and effectiveness of investment promotion activities, effectively implemented solutions to lure all sources of investment with appropriate forms.
The city's objectives are to build an open, favourable investment environment for Vietnamese and foreign businesses and investors, and improve provincial competitiveness index (PCI) ranking, targeted to be included in the group of very good localities. Therefore, Can Tho has focused on raising the awareness and responsibility of local officials, accelerated administrative procedure reform, improved the quality and diversity of public services and the publicity and transparency of information to better support enterprises, and endeavoured to make changes in land access and land-use stability for organisations, individuals and businesses.
Knowing that human resources is a key factor to enhanced competitiveness, the city has drawn up and implemented detailed plans for its human resource development programme in the 2011-2015 period to meet present and future demand. The city is giving priority to training human resources for high-tech industries.
In addition to general State investment policies, does Can Tho City have its own investment policies and mechanisms to increase the confidence of investors doing business here?
According to the guidance statement by Comrade Tran Thanh Man, Secretary of Can Tho City Party Committee, Can Tho's investment policies must ensure that "Investors do not go on cotton or step on spiky nails."
Currently, in addition to statutory mechanisms and policies of the State, the city is drastically applying and building mechanisms and policies to improve the investment environment, focusing on such aspects as investment possession and guarantee, investment-attracting fields and directions, financial preferences, investment approval and management, technology transfer, environmental protection, labour relations and dispute settlement.
Currently, the Can Tho City socioeconomic development master plan from now till 2020, with a vision to 2030, was approved by the Prime Minister, with 87 key projects on which the city needs to focus its investment towards 2020 to lay the foundation for drawing more investment in capital in the next phase.