Thursday, October 19 2017

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Poor planning hinders central region growth: gov’t

Update: September, 26/2017 - 06:00
Lý Sơn Island in Quảng Ngãi Province is a tourist and investment attraction in eco-tour projects. — VNS Photo Công Thành
Viet Nam News

ĐÀ NẴNG - The Government is concerned about the poor coordination and infrastructure undermining the major potential of Việt Nam’s 11 central provinces for the country’s economic growth, Deputy Prime Minister Vương Đình Huệ told 500 business people and officials at the 2nd Central Coastal Economic Forum in Đà Nẵng yesterday.

“Many efforts have been recorded by the regional co-ordination management board since the first forum was held in 2014. However, poor connection of strategic traffic roads, including the National Highway, Coastal Highway, Hồ Chí Minh Trail and north-south railway, have prevented the region from fast growth,” Huệ said. Favourable connection of roads, airports, sea ports and economic and industrial zones will create more power for the region in the coming decades, he added.

He suggested the forum discuss how to build an effective mechanism for co-operation among the provinces to boost their advantages in marine economy and tourism, saying the region could contribute as much as 70 per cent to the country’s economic growth.

The head of the Việt Nam Institute of Economics, Trần Đình Thiên, said the development of the coastal central region has not reached its target since the regional co-ordination management board was established six years ago.

“More than 40 industrial zones (IZs) and six economic zones (EZs) were built in the region, but income per capita in the region is not much higher than the country’s average income,” Thiên said. “A lack of international-standard centres for sports, shopping, trade, night recreation and finance has hindered the region from becoming an attractive destination for international tourists.”

Too many ports

Thiên also pointed to the lack of coordination among provinces as a major hindrance to economic growth. Thừa Thiên-Huế Province had developed the Chân Mây-Lăng Cô deep-sea port in the region, he said, but neighbouring Đà Nẵng plans to build its own Liên Chiểu Port as a key logistics centre just 20km away.

“Each province plans to build its own deep sea port, international airports or industrial zones, while no connections are planned to share the advantages of infrastructure investment,” he explained.

The coastal central region has six airports, 13 seaports, six coastal economic zones, a high-tech park and 14 national roads. 

Thiên suggested the region should be restructured, based on the advantage of each province. “We can arrange several provinces with the same advantages (sea ports, airports and economic zones) in a sub-zone,” he suggested.

The head of the central region’s Development Consultancy Council, Trần Du Lịch, said the region has tremendous potential for marine economy development ship-building, fisheries, logistics, coastal economic zones, and island and sea tourism.

Dr. Huỳnh Thế Du from Fulbright University Việt Nam said many provinces offer free land rent to attract investors, but investors are never punished for failing to move forward with promised projects or for long delaysHe also suggested the region needs only one deep-sea port.

A quick survey presented by economist Võ Tri Thành at the forum showed that nearly 80 per cent of particpants agreed that poor connections and underdeveloped links among provinces in the region are major barriers to growth.

The central coastal region had an average growth of 8.4 per cent, earning revenues of US$5.8 billion last year.  — VNS

Chu Lai Port in Quảng Nam Province has launched the first international sea route connecting Quảng Nam and Incheon, Korea. — VNS Photo Công Thành
Deputy Prime Minister Vương Đình Huệ speaks at the 2nd Central Coastal Economic Forum with the participation of 500 deputies from 11 provinces. — VNS Photo Nga Sơn

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