|Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc gives a speech at the conference in Sóc Trăng on June 19. — VNA/VNS Photo|
HCM City – The Mekong Delta province of Sóc Trăng received pledges for investments worth nearly VNĐ123 trillion (US$5.4 billion) in 47 projects at an investment conference on Tuesday with a focus on renewable energy, high-tech agriculture and tourism services.
“I’m delighted to witness the huge investment of $5.4 billion, which will soon come to the province,” Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc told the conference.
He expressed the belief that in the coming decade Sóc Trăng would expand its economy to achieve middle-income status.
“We should have strong belief to act aggressively to make Sóc Trăng move forward.”
He suggested three development trends for the province: high-tech agriculture adapted to climate change, clean seafood production and processing targeting high-class markets and eco-tourism linked with clean and smart agricultural models.
With respect to tourism he pointed to the cultural advantages the province has in terms of language, religion, beliefs, cuisine, and festivals.
“Sóc Trăng Province must develop a new belief and inspiration for its residents and the national and international business community.”
He instructed local authorities to pay attention to human resources and education, saying they hold the key to sustainable development.
“We must stop thinking on the basis of borders. It is necessary to have inter-regional thinking to take advantage of all available resources.”
He called for creating a co-operation model between farmers, authorities, investors, banks, scientists, and distributors, and for the province to develop value chains and quality standards for agricultural products.
“Let us work together with national and international distributors, like supermarkets, to promote sales and increase the value of high-tech agricultural products.”
He said the province must also improve its business environment to become more attractive to local and foreign investors.
“Authorities and industries must work together to cope with climate change.”
He called on local authorities to create the most favourable conditions for investors, balance the need for investors’ profits with social welfare and not offer too many incentives to investors while depriving locals of benefits brought by development.
“I would like all investors and enterprises to actively undertake corporate social responsibility. Incentives should be paid back by contributing to society.”
Sóc Trăng in Khmer means “Treasure Land”, and he expressed the belief that in future the province would be a place where investors find their treasure.
Participants were updated on Sóc Trăng’s investment incentives, other investment-related information and the list of projects seeking investment.
New place for investors
Since 2016 investment in Sóc Trăng has grown thanks to administrative reform by the local government. It has set up a taskforce to resolve all difficulties faced by investors.
The province has winds averaging speeds of 6-6.2 metres per second, which offer enormous potential for generating wind power.
Like most other places in the tropical country, its solar power potential is also huge.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade has approved 22 locations for wind power development in the province with 35,740 hectares, where plants can be put up with a total capacity of 1,470MW.
Sóc Trăng also boasts great agricultural potential thanks to its fertile soil and excellent climate.
Agriculture, with many key items, contributes significantly to the local economy.
Its rice output last year topped 2.11 million tonnes, with speciality varieties accounting for almost half.
It has more than 74,000 hectares of aquaculture lands, 50,000 hectares of have been set aside for brackish-water shrimp breeding, mostly along the coast.
Its fisheries exports were worth $570 million last year.
Livestock farming has been growing strongly, with a dairy cow-breeding programme in 2013-2020 proving efficient and expanding to many districts and towns. There are 9,720 cows which provide 2,880 tonnes of milk a year.
Sóc Trăng also has strengths in the maritime economy with ports and shipping services being major segments.
It has in place a master plan to develop its coastal economy through 2020 with a vision to 2030.
The province is seeking the Government’s approval to build a deep-water port and hopes to involve investors with deep pockets in the project.
It plans to prioritise connectivity between its ports, urban areas, industrial parks, and tourism sites along the Hậu River, while developing sectors like aquaculture, beach tourism and energy.
With aquaculture being a major pillar of its economy, the province plans to pilot an irrigation model for specialised shrimp farming in Trần Đề District and Vĩnh Châu town.
To develop tourism, the province has joined hands with Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province to operate a speedboat to Côn Đảo Island.
It has sought investment in many eco-tourism sites like Hồ Bể in Vĩnh Châu Disrict and Mỏ Ó in Trần Đề District.
The investment conference was attended by Party and State leaders, officials from ministries, localities, international organisations, foreign diplomatic agencies in Việt Nam, trade and investment promotion organisations, finance and credit institutions, economic associations and groups, and local and foreign companies. -- VNS