After more than 10 years of carrying out Resolution 45-NQ/TW of the Politburo and 15 years of becoming a centrally run city (2004 - 2019), Can Tho has attained many impressive achievements in most fields, especially investment attraction. Mr. Nguyen Van Hong, Director of the Can Tho City Department of Planning and Investment, said that, resolved to be an ideal destination for investors, the city has paid special attention to administrative procedure reform, and created the best conditions for businesses and investors. Hoang Lam reports.
Could you please briefly introduce the vibrant investment picture of Can Tho City?
In the past years, Can Tho has been strongly supported by the central government for infrastructure investment. Many important projects have been launched and put into operation such as Can Tho International Airport, Can Tho Bridge, Vi Thanh - Can Tho Road, Bon Tong Mot Ngan Road, National Highway 91B, Nam Song Hau National Highway, O Mon Thermal Power Center, O Mon Thermal Power Plant (with Turbine No. 1 and Turbine No. 2 with an individual capacity of 330MW having gone into operation), blueprint Ho Chi Minh City - Can Tho Highway (phase 2), and Cai Cui Port. Besides, commercial and service infrastructure, industrial infrastructure, and urban infrastructure have been quickly developed to create motive forces for stronger local socioeconomic development.
Determined to improve the business and investment environment, municipal and local authorities have gradually made Can Tho a remarkable recipient of investment capital. By the end of February 2019, the city had 447 valid projects with a total investment capital of VND96,779.5 billion, including 83 FDI projects with VND15,693 billion and 364 domestic investment projects with VND81,086.5 billion. The city has also actively mobilized official development assistance (ODA) urban and transport infrastructure development and given priority to using non-refundable ODA to support poverty reduction and social development.
Can Tho City is now home to 7,749 enterprises, accounting for about 26% of enterprises in the Mekong River Delta. On average, an enterprise registered to invest VND5.47 billion. 67.12% of suspended companies managed to resume operations while 14% of business households are eligible to be upgraded to enterprises. 30.8% of enterprises registered to increase by VND15 billion each. Local enterprises and projects have contributed significantly to promoting economic growth, improving industrial production capacity and creating interactive impacts of local advantages and investment capital flows.
Especially, in 2016 - 2018, in addition to attracting domestic powerful economic groups like Vingroup, FPT, FLC, Vinamilk, T&T and TMS, Can Tho also attracted 76 FDI projects from South Korea, China, Singapore, Thailand and other countries, thus helping develop friendly relations between the city with many countries, territories and partners in the world.
In the past time, how has the city performed its commitments on administrative reform, business and investment environment improvement and support to enterprises and investors?
Can Tho City constantly strives to improve the business environment and improve competitiveness in order to attract investors. Through investment promotion conferences and high-level national and international conferences, Can Tho has promoted its image as an ideal land for domestic and international investors.
Besides, the city's Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) has significantly improved. In 2018, it ranked 11th among 63 provinces and cities nationwide and fifth out of 13 Mekong Delta provinces, recognized to have good administration and a friendly business and investment environment by the business community. The city has also directed its affiliated bodies to strictly deploy the single-window mechanism to reduce the time required for handling procedures for people and businesses, reduced the time and costs spent by citizens and businesses for administrative paperwork and most notably the time of establishment registration and business registration change from 5 days to 3 working days and the time of corporate dissolution procedures from 7 days to 5 days. The process of handing over investment policy decisions is also shortened by the Department of Planning and Investment from 35 days to 20 days and the time of issuing an investment certificate is completed in 2-3 working days, compared with 5 working days. The city planning has brought in practical, transparent investment attraction outcomes. The time for granting construction permits is shortened from 30 working days to 16, and granting C/O to less than 4 hours for airborne exports and no more than 8 working hours for exports by other means.
With central support, the Can Tho People's Council issued Resolution 07/2018/QD-UBND dated December 7, 2018 on investment support, in which investment projects in the city can be supported up to VND15 billion, a big leap in investment attraction of the city. Believing that “the success of businesses and investors is the success of the city", the Chairman of the Can Tho People's Committee issued Directive 07/CT-UBND dated May 16, 2018 on strong actions and solutions for better PCI in 2018, assigned provincial agencies and districts to strictly implement 13 contents and tasks in response to Directive 13/CT-TTg dated June 10, 2015 of the Prime Minister on strengthening the responsibility of heads of state administrative agencies at all levels in administrative reform, and regarded administrative procedure reform as a key and regular political task. The city has enhanced online dialogue and exchanges; received and responded to opinions and recommendations from people, businesses and investors on administrative procedures in such fields as natural resources and environment, business investment, tax, customs, social insurance, construction permits and access to electricity. The Chairman of the City People's Committee established a hotline and, at the same time, asked heads of municipal agencies and chairpersons of District People's Committees to arrange Monday meetings with businesses and investors to learn about their issues to promptly introduce solutions to issues they faced. Twice a year, the Chairman of the City People's Committee hosts meetings with the business community in order to grasp their thoughts and proposals, as well as quickly solve hardships faced by local businesses.
Could you please describe the city’s investment attraction and business development orientation in the coming time?
Can Tho City is entering a new strategic period with the goal to basically become a modernized industrial city by 2020. Therefore, its investment attraction and business development activities in the coming period need to strictly adhere to predefined orientations. Firstly, it is important to create a strong shift from number to quality of domestic and foreign investment. Accordingly, the city will focus on high-quality, high-tech, environmentally friendly projects that are consistent with the city’s economic restructuring orientation. Secondly, the city will pay special attention to courting large-scale and highly competitive projects capable of joining global value chains run by transnational corporations, thus helping the city build and develop supporting industries. Thirdly, it will attract foreign investment by sector, field and partner to unlock local advantages to increase their investment performance and meet the city’s overall interests. Fourthly, it will gradually shift foreign investment attraction from utilizing cheap labor costs to competing with high quality resources. Fifthly, the city will further advance administrative reforms, and issue SME and startup development policies
In order to successfully realize these objectives of attracting and utilizing foreign investment in line with the above orientation, it is extremely important for Can Tho City to make innovative, effective and practical solutions. In addition to introducing general solutions such as macroeconomic stability and domestic market expansion to create market size advantages, focusing on tackling “bottlenecks” in infrastructure and human resources and developing SMEs and innovative startups, the city will also carry out many consistent solutions. First of all, it will create a transparent and clear investment and business environment to make the city more attractive and competitive. The city will fundamentally improve investment promotion methods, focusing on target sectors, fields, regions and partners. Additionally, the city will focus on improving its overall business management by changing the application of post-incentive and post-audit, along with reporting, statistics, supervision and inspection. Can Tho will further enhance its administration, boosted by administrative reforms, shorter time and less expense for administrative procedures by citizens and businesses; and resolutely fight against corruption and waste to form a favorable socioeconomic environment and attract more investment capital from domestic and foreign enterprises.
Thank you very much!