A design rendering of the Nghi Son Thermal Power Plant. Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has kicked off construction of the 600MW plant in the central province of Thanh Hoa. — VNA/VNS Photo Duong Giang
Thanh HOa — Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung ordered the construction of a 600 MW thermal-power plant in the central province of Thanh Hoa on Saturday.
Eighty-five per cent of the VND22.26 trillion (roughly US$1.15 billion) Nghi Son 1 project will come from Japanese official development assistance with the rest contributed by Electricity of Viet Nam (EVN).
Once fully operational as scheduled by 2014, the two-turbine power plant will generate 3.6 billion kWh annually.
Its first turbine is due to enter service in the fourth quarter of 2013 and the second in the second quarter of 2014.
Addressing the ground-breaking ceremony in the presence of Japanese Ambassador Mitsuo Sakaba, Dung announced the subsequent construction of the Nghi Son 2 thermal-power plant with a capacity doubling to 1,200 MW following the completion of the first plant.
The two projects would play an important role in meeting Nghi Son Economic Zone's demand for electricity, especially to service a planned oil refinery and production of cement and steel, he said.
This would contribute to the economic development in Thanh Hoa Province and the northern central region as a whole, the Government leader emphasised.
He expressed his gratitude to Japan for its official development assistance over the past years which, he said, had made a practical contribution to Viet Nam's socio-economic development and was anticipated to continue in the future.
Dung also inspected the construction sites of the Nghi Son oil refinery and the Nghi Son seaport.
Later in the day, the Government leader held a working session with authorities of Thanh Hoa Province, focusing on local socio-economic development and solutions to outstanding problems.
He recognised the once poverty-stricken province's comprehensive achievement to record a GDP growth rate of 12.3 per cent in the first half of the year, almost double the national average.
It was noteworthy that the province's industry had managed to grow by 18.9 per cent year on year, with the poverty rate dropping 1.2 per cent as compared to the beginning of the year, Dung said with satisfaction.
He however pointed out problems that Thanh Hoa should address, citing high pollution in the coastal residential quarters and high poverty rates, especially the large gap between the rich and the poor, and poor human resource development.
He therefore asked the province to better tap its advantages in abundant land and human resources in an effort to sustain steady development and make a huge leap in the next five years.
In this regard, the Government leader called on Thanh Hoa officials to embark on developing a five-year development master-plan that put into full use over 400,000ha of forests and over 240,000ha of arable land along with the development of the processing industry.
He also suggested that the province develop measures to efficiently tap its mineral potential, develop its rich human resources and invest in infrastructure and the hospitality industry for ensure sustainable development and poverty reduction.
He reminded Thanh Hoa to focus on poverty alleviation through job creation schemes.
The Government leader pledged to support the province's plan in building a hi-tech park and infrastructure investment in the Nghi Son Economic Zone.
Call for investment
During his trip to neighbouring Ha Tinh Province yesterday, Dung said it needed to invest more in building infrastructure in the Vung Ang Economic Zone and to create favourable conditions in the zone for businesses in the steel, electricity, oil refinery and petrochemical industries.
The Prime Minister was reviewing the province's socio-economic performance this year and development directions for the 2011-15 period.
Dung urged the province to tap advantages of the Vung Ang deep-water seaport, step up investment promotion and cut red tape to attract more investors to the economic zone.
Ha Tinh Province must take advantage of its 6,000sq km area, 100,000ha of farm land, 250,000ha of forests and population of almost 1.3 million, he said.
It also needed to speed up the application of scientific and technological advances to cow breeding and rubber growing.
Dung asked provincial leaders to upgrade and build more health care and education facilities, develop human resources, ensure social security and reduce traffic accidents.
He praised the province's socio-economic achievements over the past five years, referring to its annual average economic growth rate of 9.6 per cent and preliminary successes in developing industrial and economic zones and seaports.
During the first six months of the year, the province had made positive progress in socio-economic tasks and increased its tax revenue by nearly 37 per cent year-on-year.
However, Ha Tinh had a low per capita income, which stands at VND11 million (US$577) a year – equivalent to half of the nation's average – a high rate of poor households and its socio-economic infrastructure had failed to meet its development requirements.
During his visit, Dung inspected construction of resettlement areas and the tempo of major projects in the Vung Ang economic zone, including the Vung Ang 1 thermoelectric power plant and the Son Duong steel complex and seaport. The economic zone has so far attracted more than 90 projects with a combined registered capital of almost VND200 trillion ($10.5 billion) .
The government leader also visited monuments dedicated to late Party general secretaries Ha Huy Tap and Tran Phu, and the Dong Loc T-junction relic site. — VNS