|As of the end of last month, the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta had called for investment in 139 major projects in the region, with a total investment of VND410 trillion (US$19.45 billion) and $1.9 billion.—File Photo
HCM CITY (VNS)— As of the end of last month, the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta had called for investment in 139 major projects in the region, with a total investment of VND410 trillion (US$19.45 billion) and $1.9 billion.
The announcement came at a press briefing on the 2013 Mekong Delta Economic Cooperation Forum (Vinh Long MDEC 2013) in HCM City yesterday by the Steering Committee for the Southwest Region, the Steering Committee for the MDEC Vinh Long 2013 and the Vinh Long provincial People's Committee.
The seventh annual forum will be organised in Vinh Long Province from November 21-24.
This year's forum with the theme "Mekong Delta towards a Green Economy" aims to seek initiatives and policy suggestions to improve cooperation among 12 regional provinces and Can Tho City. It will be submitted to the Prime Minister for consideration.
The event also intends to strengthen the connectivity between the region and other localities across the nation as well as international organisations, and enhance the region's socio-economic development.
The forum includes a series of events, including the 2013 Conference on Investment Promotion and Social Welfare for the Mekong Delta region and the 2013 Mekong Delta Business Forum.
Speaking at the conference, Bui Ngoc Suong, deputy head of the Steering Board for the Southwest Region, said so far 18 projects with an investment of VND3.294 trillion ($156.23 million) and $61.2 million in the region had been granted investment certificates.
As of the end of last month, commercial banks and businesses have committed to sponsoring nearly VND600 billion ($28.46 million) for the Mekong Delta under the social welfare programme for the region, Suong said.
With this support, Can Tho City, Hau Giang and Bac Lieu provinces, among others, have started construction of kindergartens, elementary schools and many roads in rural areas for a total cost of more than VND100 billion ($4.74 million), he added.
Dao Minh Tu, deputy governor of the State Bank of Viet Nam, said the Mekong Delta was still facing many challenges in food security, production and access to preferential loans, adding that the central bank would continue to ask commercial banks to join in the Mekong Delta social welfare.
To conclude the conference, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh said the Mekong Delta had an important role and strategic position in the country's socio-economic development.
Ninh, who is also the chairman of the Steering Committee of Southwest Region, said the region needed to enhance links among the provinces and city and apply scientific and technical advances to production.
"Investment, trade and tourism must be promoted based on each province's or city's strengths and the common interests of the entire Mekong Delta region," he said.
Ninh asked concerned ministries and agencies to propose appropriate policies to assist the region in taking advantage of its potential.
Ninh also urged the promotion of social welfare programmes, saying they were also critically important to the region. — VNS