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Hi-tech healthcare project on schedule

Update: November, 08/2009 - 00:00

Business Beat

(09-11-2009)

Hi-tech healthcare project on schedule

by Le Hung Vong

The nation’s first integrated hi-tech healthcare park being developed by Hoa Lam-Shangri La Healthcare Limited Liability Company in HCM City’s Binh Tan District is progressing smoothly, city authorities assure.

Deputy director of the city’s Department of Construction Nguyen Van Hiep says Hoa Lam-Shangri La has made efforts to ensure work remains on schedule despite the impact of the global economic crisis.

Hiep, also deputy head of a committee that includes representatives of the city’s planning and investment, construction and programming and architecture departments and which verified the progress, says Hoa Lam-Shangri La has paid all land taxes due for the project.

In a report sent to city authorities last week, deputy director of the Department of Planning and Investment, Nguyen Thi Hue Hoa said the global downturn has not caused any delay in the project. With assistance from the committee, the company can begin in December, she adds

The committee checked the progress last month after the media had reported delays.

The company’s general director, Lai Voon Hon, told journalists that since there was so much to do, his company would do the work step by step.

According to plans announced by the company at the ground-breaking ceremony in October 2008, the VND6.75 trillion (US$400.5 million) park will be built over nine years in five phases.

In the first phase in 2008-10, a 250-bed general hospital will be built; in 2010-12, work will focus on a research centre and a recreational complex for patients.

A 250-bed cardio-vascular hospital will be built in 2012-14, as will a 250-bed paediatric hospital in 2014-16 and a second 500-bed general hospital in 2016-18.

Hoa Lam-Shangri-La Healthcare is a 30:70 joint venture between Hoa Lam Services Co, Ltd and the Singapore-based Shangri-La Healthcare Investment Pte Ltd.

Golf or pineapples

Thousands of farmers in Tan Lap Commune in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Tien Giang will lose their land as well as livelihoods when 270 ha of pineapple farms are taken over to build a golf course.

Sai Gon Tiep Thi (Sai Gon Marketing) newspaper reports the land will be handed over to Genuwin D&C Tien Giang Co Ltd who will invest VND1.28 trillion (US$71 million) to build a resort and residential complex including a 36-hole golf course, amusement parks, villas and serviced apartments.

The announcement comes a year after provincial authorities converted 540ha of pineapple farms in the commune into Long Giang Industrial Park. With the compensation for the land not fully paid yet, the park has rendered 390 families with 1,400 members landless and jobless.

Tieu Van Nhut, a resident of the commune’s Hamlet No 4, points to the 540ha park and says though the land was taken over a year ago, no facilities have been built on it yet and it remains unused.

Dao Van Thanh, chairman of the commune People’s Committee, admits the two projects have left 500 families in the commune jobless.

More residents will become jobless in the near future when authorities acquire more land for a residential project by Hoang Cuong Co Ltd.

Nguyen Van Chau, a resident of Hamlet No 5, says a hectare yields 20 tonnes of pineapple a year and a profit of some VND25 million ($1,400) to farmers. "We received VND300 million for more than two hectares (taken for Long Giang IP project). Now the authorities want to take the plot of land on which my home is situated for the golf course project."

Thanh says Long Giang IP will provide 100,000 jobs but is unable to say with any assurance when the first factory would be built.

A few years ago, Tien Giang destroyed hundreds of hectares of protected forests to build industrial parks but has made no progress in building on them.

Taxes hit duty-free shops

The Moc Bai Border Economic Zone in Tay Ninh Province, which used to be popular among shoppers and investors due to its duty-free shops and residential projects, has seen a downturn after many of the duty-free shops were closed recently due to changes in tax laws.

Vo Hong Tam, manager of Nam Phat Trading Co which has shops and kiosks at the zone, says he once had 38 kiosks there but only 11 are now operational.

The number of workers has dropped from 100 to 22 and daily sales from VND100 million to VND20 million ($5,555 - $1,111)

Hoang Ba Phong, deputy director of Nam Hiep Thanh Investment and Construction Co, says when the zone was established in 2004, his company invested VND245 billion ($13.6 million) to build the Hiep Thanh Shopping Centre.

Things went smoothly in the first few years and sales increased year after year until July this year when a new tax policy for border economic zones was unveiled. Under the new law, Vietnamese can no longer buy VND500,000 worth goods daily – they can only buy that amount in a week.

As a result, many domestic travellers no longer go to Moc Bai, while foreign investors have called off negotiations on investments.

The numbers of stalls at the Hiep Thanh Shopping Centre has dropped from 140 to 40 while four other investors have said they will quit soon.

The zone reported sales of VND1.45 trillion ($81 million) last year, and VND776 billion ($43 million) in the first half of this year.

However, visitors and sales figures since July 1 are merely a tenth of the earlier numbers.

œThe lacklustre business is caused by the inconsistent policies on tax and investment," Sai Gon Tiep Thi quotes Phong as saying. — VNS

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