In 2016 - 2020, overcoming numerous difficulties and challenges, Dung Quat Economic Zone and Quang Ngai Industrial Zones reaffirmed their driving role in the economy and created a launchpad to attract investors, develop business, create jobs for local workers and increase budget revenue. Mr. Dam Minh Le, Deputy Director of the Management Board of Dung Quat Economic Zone and Quang Ngai Industrial Zones, said these achievements will create a solid foundation for industrial zones and economic zones to magnetize investment flows from other countries in the world and approach FDI firms seeking new investment markets after the epidemic. Cong Luan reports.
Could you please tell us about outstanding results of development and investment attraction in Quang Ngai province-based economic and industrial zones in 2016-2020?
2016-2020 witnessed groundbreaking and outstanding development of Dung Quat Economic Zone and Quang Ngai Industrial Zones, which drew 167 out of 355 projects (accounting for about 47% of projects in economic and industrial zones) and US$6.6 billion out of US$14.43 billion (accounting for 45.7%).
The province granted 33 out of 58 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects (accounting for 60% of projects in economic and industrial zones) with US$85 billion out of US$1.87 billion (45%). Licensed projects are deployed very quickly, resulting in many projects coming into operation a year. Some key projects are driving forces for local socioeconomic development, including Hoa Phat Dung Quat iron and steel complex, Hoa Phat Dung Quat container terminal and FDI projects in VSIP Quang Ngai Industrial Park.
Beside investment attraction, the implementation of licensed projects is also considered an important criterion to gauge the success of Dung Quat Economic Zone and Quang Ngai Industrial Zones. Since 2017, the disbursed fund exceeded US$1 billion. Up to now, Dung Quat Economic Zone and Quang Ngai Industrial Zones are seeing 218 projects invested by 169 companies in operation and employing 26,700 out of 52,400 workers (accounting for 50% of total workers in the locality).
With the efforts of the Management Board and infrastructure investors, how dramatically has the technical infrastructure system in economic and industrial zones in the province changed over the past time?
To date, the main traffic system inside Dung Quat Economic Zone has been invested synchronously. The domestic and international transport system has also been invested to facilitate travel and freight transportation. Quang Ngai - Da Nang Expressway was put into operation in September 2018.
Besides, Chu Lai Airport in the north of Dung Quat Economic Zone has also increased daily flights to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Especially, Chu Lai Airport is planned to become an international airport by 2025 and a major transshipment and freight center of Vietnam, expected to create a golden opportunity for Quang Nam and Quang Ngai provinces to draw more FDI flows in the world.
Dung Quat deep-water port currently comprises three general ports and five specialized ports in operation, capable of receiving ships of 50,000-70,000 tons. Hoa Phat terminal, planned to accommodate ships of 200,000 tons, has a container wharf deployed at a total investment cost of US$160 million.
While completing the transport infrastructure network, in the 2016-2020 period, the Management Board of Dung Quat Economic Zone and Quang Ngai Industrial Zones managed to attract investors to invest in industrial park infrastructure in Dung Quat Economic Zone, including Dung Quat Industrial and Urban Area invested by Hoang Thinh Dat Joint Stock Company, Binh Hoa - Binh Phuoc Industrial Park invested by a South Korean investor and Pho Phong Industrial Park.
Infrastructure investment in Dung Quat Economic Zone and Quang Ngai Industrial Zones has helped provide traffic infrastructure and social infrastructure to attract investors and enterprises in addition to solving emerging and pressing issues relating to people’s livelihoods.
Knowing that infrastructure must be built before the advent of investors, the province will continue to mobilize resources for synchronous infrastructure investment in Dung Quat Economic Zone, especially from infrastructure investors and operators; allocate prioritized State funding for synchronous infrastructure development; and focus on social infrastructure investment.
Beside these advantages, has the Management Board confronted any obstacles in administration? Do you have any suggestions and recommendations to authorities at all levels to remove such impediments?
Policy shortcomings are common "bottlenecks" of many provinces in the country today, especially those relating to land. Despite great potential and advantages to entice investment flows, Dung Quat Economic Zone and Quang Ngai Industrial Zones have not been sufficiently invested to capitalize on these strengths.
Specifically, the transport infrastructure that connects economic and industrial zones with other localities in Quang Ngai and other provinces is still very weak. The transport system has not yet met development needs and created a driving force to promote industrial development. National Highway 1A running through Tinh Phong and VSIP industrial parks is too narrow, always overloaded and unsafe. The coastal road has not been open for many years, even the section linking Dung Quat Economic Zone and Quang Ngai City, resulting in untapped tourism and urbanization. The expressway has been open to traffic for two years, but the section linked to Dung Quat Industrial Park has not been completed. Investment resources for infrastructure of Dung Quat Economic Zone have also been greatly reduced. The traffic connectivity to the Central Coast and Central Highlands has not been properly invested for many years.
Additionally, the delayed implementation of dynamic projects such as expanded Dung Quat oil refinery and gas power plant has greatly affected the investment and development of Dung Quat Economic Zone and Quang Ngai Industrial Zones. These obstacles have slowed down the development of Dung Quat Economic Zone in particular and Quang Ngai province in general in recent years. Hopefully, provincial leaders and the Government should give solutions to these in the near future.
In order to catch the investment wave from countries and territories around the world and approach FDI enterprises seeking new investment markets after the epidemic, what key solutions will the Management Board implement in the coming time?
To make Dung Quat Economic Zone an attractive destination for investors and affirm its driving role in promoting economic development in the central key region, this is a major strategic approach that needs the attention and direction of the Government and Quang Ngai province and the effort of leaders and employees of the Management Board.
In the coming time, the province will revise the master plan for Dung Quat Economic Zone to 2035, with a vision to 2050; arouse its potential strengths of strategic location, traffic connectivity, policies and human resources; and complete a convenient transportation system, especially routes to the Central Highlands. It is necessary to soon deploy the Quang Ngai - Kon Tum route - an important link to the sea for localities in southern Laos, northern Cambodia and northeastern Thailand, thus promoting the development of the East - West Economic Corridor.
At the same time, the province will focus on infrastructure investment and effectively operate Dung Quat deep-water seaport. When Hoa Phat Iron and Steel Production Complex comes into operation, Dung Quat Port will be active as a result. So, it is necessary to soon establish a container port with a deep-water port to serve sea freight transport, reduce costs and increase competitiveness and operation for tenants in Dung Quat. At the same time, Quang Ngai province will invest to complete traffic routes linked with Da Nang - Quang Ngai Highway, especially the Dung Quat - My Khe coastal route, which is important to develop tourism.
The Management Board will continue supporting large and dynamic projects that are deployed smoothly and effectively because these projects are magnetic to parts vendors. Especially, it will closely coordinate with infrastructure business investors in infrastructure promotion and troubleshooting in a timely manner to enable tenants to work effectively.
By Cong Luan, Vietnam Business Forum