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Economic zones to try harder

Update: April, 10/2012 - 10:25

 

Goods for import and export are loaded and unloaded at Cat Lai Port in HCM City. Developing key economic zones sustainably is expected to take the country to the level of other industrialised nations. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Vu
CAN THO CITY — Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai has called on the nation's key economic zones (KEZs) to become a driving force in sustainable development and take Viet Nam to the level of other industrialised nations.

He made the call while addressing a conference held last Saturday in Can Tho City to review socio-economic development of KEZs nation-wide and make plans for this year and the years to come.

Hai lauded the achievements of the KEZs in the 2006-2010 period but stressed much more remains to be done.

Between now and 2015, KEZs need to better deploy all their strengths to develop in a sustainable and environmentally – friendly manner, he said.

The deputy PM mentioned some targets that he said KEZs should strive for in the coming time.

The average per-capita income at KEZs should reach US$3000 per year, 1.5 per cent higher than the national level, he said. Their import-export turnover should increase by between 14 and 14.5 per cent annually, and contributions to the State Budget should account for 90 per cent of the total, he added.

To realise these goals, ministries, branches and localities need to work together to restructure investment in ways that reduces the use of State budget resources and mobilises more capital from the society at large, he said. He urged relevant ministries and branches to complete soon an overall development plan for KEZs that responds to the needs of new situations.

The deputy PM also outlined other tasks and solutions for the zones, saying they needed to develop high-tech industries and high-quality services in information technology, and focus on production of new materials.

The country now has four KEZs: the Northern Economic Zone, Central Economic Zone, Southern Economic Zone and the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta Economic Zone.

These zones have many big clusters of ports like Hai Phong, Cai Lan, Da Nang, Thi Vai-Cai Mep, Cat Lai and Hiep Phuoc, and international airports like Noi Bai, Da Nang, Tan Son Nhat and Can Tho.

In the 2006-2010 period, the KEZs achieved an annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate of 10.8 per cent, with average per-capita income of VND34.6 million (US$1,662), significantly higher than the national figures, the conference heard.

The total import and export value of KEZs during the same five-year period was US$602 billion, of which US$280 billion came from exports, accounting for 89 per cent of the country's total.

They attracted 12,478 foreign-invested projects worth US$162 billion, accounting for 91.32 per cent of the country's total, the conference heard.

The KEZs also contributed 88.6 per cent of State Budget revenues during the 2006-2010 period.

Speakers at the conference also highlighted several limitations that have been seen in KEZs development over the past several years.

They said due attention has not been paid to improving competitiveness and the use of land and labour was still ineffective.

While there have been improvements in physical infrastructure, these have not happened in a synchronous manner, limiting growth potential.

The KEZs have also failed to come up with innovative products in the knowledge-based economy, some speakers pointed out.

Others said environment pollution in the KEZs has worsened in recent years.

Deputy PM Hai said all the problems at the KEZs need to be addressed urgently to ensure sustainable development of KEZs in particular and the country in general. — VNS

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