CAN THO — Can Tho hosted an online dialogue on the Government website yesterday to review the implementation of the Politburo's Resolution 21 on socio-economic development and security defence of the Mekong Delta River in the last 10 years.
|People trade farm produce at Nga Nam Floating Market in the southern province of Soc Trang. — VNA/VNS Photo Duy Khuong
Bui Ngoc Suong, Deputy Head of the Southwest Steering Committee, said that infrastructure construction and improvement were the most important achievements of the past ten years.
Capital investment focused on traffic, irrigation, education and training, health care and social security. The regional growth reached about 12 per cent with the GDP increasing 3.5 times and per capita income increasing 2.5 times annually.
In terms of agriculture, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat said the State invested more than VND15 trillion (US$720 million) to complete 73 canal and dam construction projects to increase water supply and prevent salt intrusion in the Mekong Delta region.
Thus, rice production has increased by more six million tonnes and fruit production by one million tonnes. In particular, aquaculture production soared by 2.5 times. This is remarkable growth of the region, he said.
In terms of education and training, Minister of Education and Training Pham Vu Luan said the Government allocated VND2.6 trillion ($124 million) to school building to replace temporary classes between 2008-10.
Currently, there were 12 universities and 27 colleges. All 13 cities and provinces completed primary education universalisation in 2008.
Speaking at the dialogue, Vice Minister of Transport Ngo Thinh Duc said the Mekong Delta finished the construction of bridges on Highway No1 and upgraded 27,000 km of road with the total investment of VND75 trillion ($3.6 billion).
Water transport, which was an advantage in the region, had greatly been improved, and Cai Cui Port was under construction, he said.
Can Tho Airport was also completed to receive large aircraft.
Chairman of Can Tho City People's Committee Nguyen Thanh Son agreed on infrastructure achievements, adding that the Omon thermal power centre was put into operation.
Son said the city growth increased 14.3 per cent each year, with per capita income reaching about VND50 million ($2,400) in 2011. The investment in human resource training greatly impacted the city development, he noted.
In a discussion of further development, representatives said the city should promote regional links. A series of bridges were built to connect the area divided by the Tien and Hau rivers ten years ago. Can Tho, An Giang, Kien Giang and Ca Mau were among key economic zones of the region.
To reduce public investment, they strongly suggested the Government promulgate policies for specific areas of the region to help it mobilise financial resources such as ODA, Public-Private-Partnership to create a breakthrough in development.
Replying to a reader's question on a regional link, Suong said this was not a new concept, but the importance was how to implement it.
Suong suggested that the scheme of regional links, investment links and links on capital investment allocation should be carried out for socio-economic development.
Other participants agreed, adding the local planning must include its potential advantages. For example, Hau Giang Province, apart from the region's common agricultural products such as rice and fish, was well-known for Thac Lac fish and Cau Duc Pineapple. These two products should be promoted to further develop the province. An Giang Province, for its part, should take advantage of its strong transborder service and trade sector with its total retail and service revenue heading the region.
Human resource training should also be linked, they said. Currently, there were two models: a link between education and training facilities and local businesses to provide human resources, and link between institutions.
Son said separate provincial development programmes by local leaders showed many shortcomings, including the massive building of sugar and cement plants. To achieve regional links, local leaders must change their thinking and vision to promote local advantages and regional sustainable development.
Phat agreed, saying it was necessary to promote the advantages and strengths of the region and each locality. Compared to other countries in the world, the Mekong River Delta is one of the focus areas for leading rice cultivation. The catfish farming was very productive and this region had many delicious fruits compared to other locations throughout the country. These advantages should be the focus.
In terms of agricultural development, he said, science and technology transfer should be carried out to further increase the production of rice, aquaculture and tropical fruits. Participants agreed that in the next 10 years, connections between HCM City, the Southwest region and the regional Phu Quoc Airport must be completed.
A report of the Southwest Steering Committee sent to the Politburo showed that the region targets an increase in growth of two digits in the period of 2011-15. The growth rate of the 2011-15 would be 11-12 per cent, and 12-13 per cent in the period of 2016-20 with the economy properly restructured and per capita income reaching VND50 million ($2,400) by 2020. — VNS