HCM City needs to improve business climate: experts

March 23, 2022 - 17:42

The southern metropolis HCM City needs to develop policy mechanisms and legal frameworks and improve its business climate, infrastructure and human resources to recover the economy, experts say.


More than 100 leading experts, businesses and officials from various ministries attend a conference on economic recovery on Tuesday in HCM City.  Photo courtesy of HCMC Press Centre

HCM CITY — The southern metropolis HCM City needs to develop policy mechanisms and legal frameworks and improve its business climate, infrastructure and human resources to recover the economy, experts say.

Speaking at a conference on Tuesday, Johnathan Hạnh Nguyễn, chairman of Imex Pan Pacific Co. Ltd., said: “To attract strategic investors, the city needs to have breakthrough incentives and internationally competitive policies.” 

Johnathan Hạnh Nguyễn, an overseas Vietnamese businessman, said the city needed to improve its competitiveness to ensure a favourable business environment for enterprises, encouraging start-ups and innovation.

It needs to invest in significant projects such as building an international financial centre, high-end duty-free shops and shopping malls in the city centre.

He recommended the city develop AI education programmes and build a logistics warehouse in Thủ Đức City.

Experts said a global financial centre would help the city increase its budget revenue by 8 – 10 per cent.

Nguyễn Thị Phương Thảo, CEO of Vietjet Air and general director of Sovico Holdings, said the city should become an international tourist destination to receive 15 million visitors this year, including 3.5 - 4 million international tourists.

In addition, it should develop the stock market to compete with major markets globally, she added.

 “It also needs to accelerate digital transformation to build a digital economy,” she said.

Nguyễn Thanh Bình, general director of Gemadept Group, said it was paramount for the city to invest in infrastructure, especially at seaports. It should also develop a distribution centre of high-quality consumer goods worldwide based on a modern retail system. 

Park Hyun Bae, general director of KCTC Vietnam, recommended the city expand cargo ports, including the Cát Lái port (in Thủ Đức) and Hiệp Phước port in Nhà Bè District, and improve warehouse, port and logistics services.

“The volume of goods cleared through Cát Lái Port increases by 30 per cent every year, but the port, which was built in 2007, fails to meet the capacity,” he said.

Boris Cohen, general director of MSC, a global container shipping company, said it was vital to improve the seaport infrastructure to develop an international cargo service hub in Việt Nam. 

“The city should plan to build a new transhipment port in Cần Giờ District by 2030,” he said.

Other conference participants said the city was lagging behind other major cities in the region regarding living quality, competitiveness and urban planning.

Its infrastructure is ageing while its human resources have failed to meet development needs, and many of its major infrastructure works are progressing too slowly. 

Other city issues include traffic congestion, air pollution, flooding and robberies and burglaries. 

Nguyễn Văn Nên, secretary of the city's Party Committee, said businesses played a significant role in the city’s socio-economic development, pledging the city would continue to create the most favourable conditions.

Phan Văn Mãi, chairman of the People’s Committee, said the city would consider all expert opinions.

“The city will set up a working group working directly with the investors and businesses,” he said.

The city has set an economic growth target of 6 to 6.5 per cent for this year.

It will speed up digital transformation and adoption of information technology at all levels of Government, improve the investment climate and enforce pandemic control measures as part of its economic recovery plan.

The city has unveiled a socio-economic programme that envisages achieving recovery by 2025 and development three years later. 

The city contributes more than VNĐ368 trillion to the Government’s coffers, or 25-27 per cent of the total, according to Mãi.

Last year, despite the impact caused by the largest pandemic outbreak, the city’s revenues marginally exceeded the year’s target to reach VNĐ381.53 trillion ($16.81 billion).

It attracted FDI worth more than $7.23 billion last year, up 38.48 per cent year-on-year.

In the first two months of this year, its tax revenues were worth VNĐ89 trillion, or 23 per cent of the year’s target. The VNĐ2.2 trillion it collects in a day equals the amount some provinces receive in a year.

Exports were worth $9 billion in the first two months, up 12.5 per cent year-on-year. — VNS