|Gia Ngia Town of Dak Nong Province.— File Photo
DAK NONG (VNS)— The Central Highlands province of Dak Nong has not backed its investment attraction policies with commensurate action, experts say.
They put stress on the need to deliver on infrastructure development and a well trained workforce.
Provincial officials agree with the assessment and say shortcomings will be addressed even as Dak Nong makes its latest push to attract more investment so that it better exploit the potential it has to develop its agriculture, industries and tourism.
In the ten years since it was established, the province has attracted 207 projects, most of them in the forestry, industrial and construction sectors.
Bien Van Minh, Director of the provincial Department of Industry and Trade, told the Sai Gon Giai Phong (Liberated Sai Gon) newspaper that the projects that have become operational have helped Dak Nong boost production, contributed significantly to the provincial budget and created jobs in many localities.
The projects have also contributed a lot to developing the agriculture sector, he said.
The paper also quoted Do Ngoc Duyen, head of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, as saying they have started to develop hi-tech agriculture, cultivating many new plants with high income such as Japanese sweet potato, Da Lat daisy, lily, durian and orange with no pips.
Provincial officials have pledged that they would continue to make all efforts, including simplifying administrative procedures and creating other necessary conditions to attract more investment, mainly into agriculture, industry, tourism and infrastructure.
In particular, the province is calling for investment into hi-tech agriculture in Gia Nghia Town and the districts of Dak Mil and Tuy Duc. Priority will be given to projects in food processing, mineral process-ing and support industries, officials told the paper.
They said the province will also pay attention to developing resorts projects, and upgrading transport infrastructure facilities and industrial complexes.
Experts and senior officials have advised the province it needs to remove current shortcomings in order to attract more investment.
The provincial Department of Industry and Trade noted that although the province has recorded many achievements in attracting investment, the project size has been very small, on average.
The average investment for each project was about VND90 billion (US$4.2 million), it said.
Department officials feel that not having big investors with deep pockets has seen 40 per cent of approved projects temporarily suspended or cancelled. But, apart from capital shortage, investors have also faced other obstacles, mainly the slow pace of land clearance.
A study by the HCM City Economic and Law University found that the real support provided by the province to investors was not good enough.
Policies were good, but they were not matched by real action, the study found.
It said poor transport conditions and low-quality human resources also discouraged prospective investors.
Le Van Quang, Deputy Director of the Dak Nong's Department of Planning and Investment, said the province has attracted investment based on its potential.
For instance, it has not paid enough attention to developing local markets and infrastructure, he said.
The province needs to remove these shortcomings, focusing especially on improving its infrastructure, training its work force and promoting trade, he said. — VNS