Ca Mau Playing the Role of Trade Gateway with ASEAN Countries

5:23:41 PM | 5/12/2013

In recent years, Ca Mau province's economy always maintains high growth, with annual GDP growth of over 10 per cent. The economic structure is shifting in the expected pattern, characterised by an increasing proportion of industry and services. The economic competitiveness, quality and efficiency is significantly improved. On the road ahead, Ca Mau province strives to promote its internal forces on the one hand and determines to expand external economic ties and attract FDI capital to speed up the process of industrialisation and modernisation on the other, aiming to make Ca Mau a relatively developed province in the country. To learn about the socioeconomic development situation of Ca Mau province, Vietnam Business Forum interviewed Mr Pham Thanh Tuoi, Chairman of Ca Mau Provincial People’s Committee. Thanh Lam reports.
Could you please introduce the potentials, positions and conditions for socioeconomic development of Ca Mau province?
Ca Mau province has a coastline of 254 kilometres belonging to the coastal economic corridor of the Southwest seawater region. Situating in the centre of Southeast Asia, in the Gulf of Thailand, Ca Mau province has enormous gas reserves, estimated at 170 billion cubic metres - the input for developing many gas-fuelled industries like LPG, electricity, fertiliser and metallurgy, and some other industries using low pressure gas. Also, the province is one of the electricity and fertiliser production centres of the nation (accounting for over 10 per cent of the country's electricity output). In the province, two power plants of 1,500 MW belonging to the gas - power - fertiliser production complex have connected with the national grid, supplying 9-10 billion kWh of electricity a year. The complex also has a fertiliser plant with an annual output capacity of 800,000 tonnes, which has gone into commercial production.
Furthermore, Ca Mau province holds enormous potential and advantages for aquaculture development, ranking first in the country in aquaculture area. It also has rich potential and resources for eco-tourism and marine tourism development (particularly Mui Ca Mau Biosphere Reserve, Ramsar Sites, and near-shore island clusters). The province belongs to the Mekong Delta key economic region and has 11,000-ha Nam Can Economic Zone approved for establishment in October 2010. Moreover, Ca Mau links to Mekong Delta provinces and Ho Chi Minh City with three forms of transportation: roadway, airway and waterway. As a result, the province's trade exchange with these localities is quite favourable.
With the abovementioned potentials and advantages, Ca Mau province has many opportunities and favourable conditions to accelerate socioeconomic development.
Together with Can Tho City, An Giang and Kien Giang provinces, Ca Mau province will play a key role in the southern Hau River development axis and the Mekong Delta. So, how will the province change and strive to assert its position?
Since it became an important player of the Mekong Delta key economic zone in April 2009, the province has achieved positive results in socioeconomic development. Annual GDP growth is relatively high at over 10 per cent. The economic structure has been rapidly shifting towards a desired paradigm, with the proportion of industry, construction and services accounting for 62 per cent of total economic value. Exports in 2012 reached US$910 million.
Infrastructure system is built according to the investment plan of the region and the province. Many investors have arrived in the province to explore investment opportunities. However, infrastructure and human resource are two major obstacles to tapping local potentials and advantages. To overcome these obstacles, Ca Mau province will build infrastructure according to plan, ensuring synchrony and connectivity. Infrastructure will be an important driving force to speed up and sustain socioeconomic growth. At the same time, the province will implement human resource development planning towards 2020, thus providing guidance for enrolling and training human resources to meet local development conditions.
Ca Mau will effectively tap local potentials and advantages and speed up industrialisation and modernisation of some key sectors, maintain high economic growth, mobilise all social resources to build and develop socioeconomic infrastructure, and give priority to the development of urban infrastructure, transportation cooperation, irrigation, economic zones and industrial zones. In addition, the province will accelerate the application of science, technology and technique, especially biotechnology and clean technology, to production. The province will focus on comprehensive commercialised agricultural development and enhance productivity, quality and efficiency and sustainability.
As the southernmost part of the country, traffic connections remain rather difficult. How has Ca Mau province improved infrastructure to better tap its potential?
In recent years, the Government has increased investment for key projects in the Mekong Delta region like airports, seaports, bridges and roads to facilitate trade between Ca Mau with Mekong Delta provinces and other near provinces.
Arterial roads like Ca Mau - Phung Hiep and National Road 1A (Ca Mau - Nam Can section) were already completed and opened to traffic. Ho Chi Minh Road (Ca Mau section) and Nam Can - Dat Mui Road are under construction. Currently, the Ministry of Transport already started construction on Nam Can Bridge spanning the Cua Lon River. This is a key item on the Ho Chi Minh Road and plays a particularly important role in socioeconomic development of Ca Mau province. Specially, the first phase of the southern coastal corridor route linking Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand, including 52 km in Ca Mau province, is also under construction. Once these works are completed, they will awaken new potentials; create a new advantage for Ca Mau province and a new face of socioeconomic development in the coming years. Then, Ca Mau will not only be a province in the Mekong Delta key economic zone, but also a trade gateway with ASEAN countries.
For its part, Ca Mau is actively making investment and construction plans for industrial zones like Khanh An Industrial Park, Hoa Trung Industrial Park, Song Doc Industrial Complex and small industrial complexes in some districts. The 11,000-ha Nam Can Economic Zone, which was approved by the Government, will create an important ripple effect and socioeconomic development motivation for the whole region. Administrative procedures, business environment and provincial competitiveness index (PCI) are also constantly improving. But, amid limited State budgets, we will mobilise all possible investment resources by applying various investment modes like BOT (build - operate - transfer), BT (build - transfer) and PPP (public private partnership); and actively draw ODA-funded projects and mobilise residents to contribute labour to build rural roads.
To grasp opportunities in the process of international economic integration, does Ca Mau have any plans to facilitate local socioeconomic development and gradually raise its status in the Mekong Delta region in particular and in the country in general?
From now till 2015, Ca Mau province will maintain its high economic growth, enhance development efficiency and sustainability, mobilise all social resources to speed up socioeconomic development, build up the countryside and become a province of average development level in the country.
To achieve its objectives, Ca Mau will give priority to developing a modern, sustainable, efficient, highly productive and high quality agriculture sector. The province will build infrastructure for Nam Can Economic Zone and industrial zones to draw investment capital. It will also rapidly develop the services industry and prioritise the development of such sectors as trade, tourism, banking, transportation and insurance. It will mobilise all possible investment resources for infrastructure system construction to strengthen synchronisation and interconnectivity to meet economic development requirements. It will focus on new countryside construction, improve the material and spiritual life of the people in rural areas, develop cultural and social aspects, focus on human resources training and speed up public administration reform.