Viet Nam News
by Bồ Xuân Hiệp
CẦN THƠ — Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc said on August 10 that Cần Thơ City has the potential to become the Mekong Delta’s IT hub and centre for high-tech logistics and agriculture.
Cần Thơ City “dares to think and dares to do”, he said, adding that the city regularly meets with businesses to resolve their problems.
Speaking at an investment conference in the city, Phúc urged local authorities to expand the city’s international airport to reach a capacity of more than 5 million passengers and 5,000 tonnes of cargo a year, and build an aviation logistics centre.
The city should continue to improve its business environment to attract more investors, and take serious measures to adapt to climate change as well, he said.
The most favourable conditions for investors should be created, but profits need to be balanced with the public’s welfare, he said.
Phúc also noted that investors and businesses must undertake corporate social responsibility. “Special incentives should be paid back by contributing to society,” he said.
Minister of Industry and Trade Trần Tuấn Anh said the city should build an international port big enough to receive large vessels so the number of vessels transporting goods via HCM City or Vũng Tàu could be reduced.
Achim Fock, World Bank’s acting country director for Việt Nam, said that the city had become a leading exporter in the Mekong Delta region, especially of agricultural produce, which has resulted in rising per capita incomes and greatly improved people’s living standards.
“Investment in both public infrastructure and private business is growing rapidly. Budget revenue is quite high, making Cần Thơ a net contributor to the State budget,” he said.
Physical infrastructure has been strengthened with key projects, including the Cái-Cui seaport with a logistics centre, Ô Môn thermal power plant, National Highway 1A, Cần Thơ Bridge, and National Highway 91B, among others, he said.
With its growing economy and strategic location in the heart of the Mekong Delta region, the city has become an attractive destination for those seeking better opportunities.
However, since more people have moved to the city, urban areas are under growing pressure to provide basic infrastructure, services and jobs.
When not well managed, the urbanisation process can lead to sprawl, congestion, and uneven and inefficient service provision, he said.
As the country’s food basket, the Mekong Delta region produces 57 per cent of the country’s rice, of which 90 per cent is for export, and 70 per cent of aquatic products, with 65 per cent for export.
“However, while predominantly export oriented, the region has only 5 per cent of the total committed FDI stock in the country,” he noted.
The World Bank has been providing financial and technical support in infrastructure and agricultural development projects in the region.
“Our total investment in transport for the region to date amounts to about US$1 billion, covering inland waterways, ports improvement, logistics and flood protection,” he said.
“We have also provided technical assistance of $3 million to develop a containerised inland waterway corridor linking the eastern region of HCM City to Cái Mép-Thị Vải,” he added.
Fock said the World Bank would work with Việt Nam to strengthen cross-border transport between the Mekong Delta and Cambodia.
“To become a services centre, Cần Thơ should create a more productive, better paid and higher quality workforce by building skills through bold reforms to the education and training system, providing information to fit the right workers into the right jobs, and offering auxiliary services to facilitate labour participation and mobility,” he said.
Cần Thơ will also need to attract more foreign and domestic private sources for investment in infrastructure, high-quality education and medical services, green industries, tourism, high-tech agriculture and modernisation of the agri-food value chains, he added.
Cần Thơ City called for VNĐ124 trillion (US$5.4 billion) investment to finance 54 projects at the conference. These include 21 real estate projects, nine tourism projects, nine hi-tech agriculture projects, eight transport projects, four logistics projects, and two health projects, among others.
Last year, Cần Thơ attracted 77 foreign direct investment projects worth $656 million. For the past six years, the city has been among the top performers in the country’s provincial competitiveness index ranking.
At the conference, local authorities granted investment licenses to 10 investors. Cooperation agreements were also signed between the city and representatives of major groups in the country and abroad with a total investment of nearly VNĐ85 trillion.
Some 500 local and international delegates and representatives from ministries and sectors across the country attended the event. — VNS