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High hopes for Phu Quoc's future

Update: September, 17/2013 - 08:20
A special mechanism and policies are needed to turn Phu Quoc into a special administrative - economic zone, a conference held in the island heard yesterday.— Photo dantri

HCM CITY (VNS)— A special mechanism and policies are needed to turn Phu Quoc into a special administrative - economic zone, a conference held in the island heard yesterday.

Deputy PM Vu Van Ninh, in his opening speech, said PM Nguyen Tan Dung has ordered the Steering Board for the Southwest Region, Kien Giang Province authorities, and other related agencies to carry out a project to establish the Phu Quoc Special Administrative - Economic Zone.

It is aimed at developing and fully utilising the island's massive potential Ninh, who is also head of the steering board, said.

Phu Quoc has a mild climate and natural diversity, which is ideal for the development of marine economic sectors, especially eco-tourism. It could also be a crucial international trade gateway, he said.

He called on participating scientists and other experts to consider every possibility of turning Phu Quoc into a special economic zone.

As long as in 2004 the Government approved a master plan for the development of Phu Quoc for the period until 2010.

The island has achieved significant socio-economic development in the time since, with its GDP growing by 22 per cent annually and the number of visitors tripling.

Its poverty rate fell from 14 per cent in 2004 to 1.86 per cent last year.

The master plan created favourable conditions for development, and will help establish a dynamic administrative model that allows the creation of a special mechanism and incentives for investment in infrastructure, education, and tourism.

Under the plan, Phu Quoc will have administration of Special Economic Zone and ward levels.

It also contains special mechanisms and policies for human resource development, immigration, investment, and land management in the new economic zone.

It also suggests that Phu Quoc can maintain 100 per cent of tax payment (on the island) for its infrastructure development.

Economist and lawmaker Tran Du Lich said a special mechanism governing land use and property ownership should be added to the plan.

Lich made it clear that the Phu Quoc special zone's administration must have the authority to issue normative legal documents and over public finances and organisational and human apparatuses.

Dr Le Xuan Ba, director of the Central Institute of Economic Management, said Phu Quoc has great potential in tourism, so the government and local administration should strive to diversify tourism products to attract visitors and have policies to attract investment.

Nguyen Van Thanh, Director of the Institute of Development Strategies, said it is necessary to allow Phu Quoc to have casino-related business along with other tourist attractions to attract more visitors.

Regarding about Phu Quoc's future governmental organisation Dr Nguyen Minh Phuong from from the Ministry of Home Affairs' Institute of State Organisation Studies said " It is necessary to realise a pilot administrative leadership regime at Phu Quoc to increase the responsibility of leaders, thus helping timely settle problems arising in the locality."

Ninh concurred with the experts on the need to build a special administrative-economic zone for Phu Quoc to enable it to develop strongly, especially in security- and defence-related areas.

But the plan should clearly identify the main products, services, and industries to develop in Phu Quoc to make full use of its competitive advantages.

He stressed the need to review and adopt special policies that can create a stronger impetus than those in the master plan.

Ninh urged planners to continue reviewing long-term plans and tweak projects that were licensed but are no longer workable to reduce possible later wastage. —VNS


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