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Long An strives for green growth

Update: April, 17/2013 - 10:12
A corner of Hung Vuong Street in the Mekong Delta's Long An Province. The province will become an environmentally-friendly industrial province under its master plan for economic and social development until 2020. — VNA/VNS Photo Pham Do

LONG AN (VNS)— As the gateway to the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta and a major paddy producer in the region, Long An Province targets to become an environmentally-friendly industrial province.

The target was revealed by Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh yesterday at a conference held to announce the province's master plan for economic and social development until 2020.

He urged leaders of the province to deploy "specific solutions" to mobilise local and international resources to realise the plan's goals.

The deputy prime minister said Long An should give priority to projects that strengthen its strategic role as a gateway to the Mekong Delta, connecting the region with the Southern Focal Economic Zone.

Recognizing that the province has much untapped potential, local authourities should create the best investment environment possible and provide favourable conditions to attract more investors to the province, he said.

"The province needs to have five-year plans as well as annual plans to better realise the master zoning plan for the locality approved by the government. Investments into hi-tech sector must be given priority," Ninh said.

According to the master plan, Long An will develop its 4,500sq.km area into three main parts, aiming at environmentally-friendly development.

The province, which has a population of 1.4 million, aims to develop the industrial sector sustainably and support other sectors including agriculture and services.

The first area will focus on tourism, agriculture and developing the border economy. The second area will be an ecological area, which protects the first area from development impacts while the third area will be used for industrial and urban development.

Ambitious plan

The province has set itself the stiff target of achieving an average Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth by at least 13 percent between 2012 and 2020. Last year, the province's GDP growth was reported at 10.5 percent.

According to the master plan, the province's annual per-capita GDP is expected to reach US$2,400 in 2015 and $3,800 in 2020. The GDP per capita will be $8,000 in 2030, rising from the current $1,800.

According to the master plan, the province's industrial sector is expected to reach a growth rate of more than 14 percent by 2015 and maintain it for the following five years. The service sector is expected to achieve a growth rate of 17 percent by 2020.

Do Huu Lam, chairman of the province's People's Committee, reiterated that province has a lot of untapped potential and enjoys a strategic position, connecting Viet Nam's biggest economic centre with the Mekong Delta region.

He said besides road and river systems that can create better links between the Delta and HCM City, the province has more than 30 industrial parks and 5,000ha of clear land which is ready to receive investment.

However, in order to realise its growth targets, Long An has estimated an investment need of VND400 trillion ($19 billion) between 2011 and 2020.

While striving to meet its ambitious industrial development target, the province also plans to continue developing paddy cultivation, contributing to the nation's food security target, Lam said.

Delta leader

With its strategic position and untapped potential, Long An has a great opportunity to attract foreign direct investment and transform itself into a "typical" industrial province by 2020, officials said.

Long An leads the delta in attracting FDI, standing 11th in the country last year. At the end of 2012, it had 461 foreign investment projects worth $3 billion. Japan is the biggest investor in the province.

The conference heard that since early this year, 12 projects have been registered in the province, mostly in major economic centers like the districts of Duc Hoa, Ben Luc, Can Duoc and Can Giuoc and Tan An City.

Lam said that the province has achieved success in attracting investment capital and developing the industrial sector to make it a development engine contributing to economic restructuring.

Exports by FDI enterprises have increased rapidly year on year and made up an increasing percentage of the province's total export earnings, he said. Exports by the FDI sector rose from just $150 million in 2000 to $1.97 billion in 2011.

To become an industrialised province by 2020, Long An will attempt to improve its investment environment to better attract FDI projects focused on new technology, industries and sectors that will not pollute the environment, he said.

It will reform its administrative procedures related to investment, land, construction, taxation and customs and strengthen local authorities' managerial capacity, resolve problems faced by individuals and businesses and increase its competitiveness index, he added. —VNS


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