Deputy PM: Planning key for Mekong Delta’s fast and sustainable development

November 05, 2021 - 07:00

The highest priority is to develop a modern and comprehensive infrastructure system, according to Deputy Prime Minister (PM) in a meeting with the Mekong Delta Coordinating Council for the 2021-2025 period on Wednesday.

Deputy Prime Minister Lê Văn Thành in a meeting with the Mekong Delta Coordinating Council on Wednesday. — VNA/VNS Photo Minh Đức

HÀ NỘI – The highest priority is to develop a modern and comprehensive infrastructure system in the Mekong Delta region, said Deputy Prime Minister Lê Văn Thành in a meeting with the Mekong Delta Coordinating Council for the 2021-2025 period on Wednesday. 

The discussion is part of the process to complete the Mekong Delta Planning for the 2021-2030 period with a vision to 2050 - one of the six regional plans of the country. 

One of the biggest obstacles to the region is transport infrastructure, reported the Secretary of Long An Provincial Party Committee Nguyễn Văn Được, and thus investment for inter-provincial transport must be made a priority. 

Sharing the same opinion, Tiền Giang Provincial People’s Committee Secretary Nguyễn Văn Vĩnh agreed that industrial and services clusters must be linked and central hubs must be developed. 

Localities in the Mekong Delta have created multiple initiatives to form connections, however, these initial plans remain small and scattered, said Secretary of Cần Thơ City's Party Committee Lê Quang Mạnh. 

The regional plan thus will develop a framework and a joint coordination centre. A master plan integrating both the industries and 13 Mekong Delta provinces and cities will end the situation where each locality works individually.  

As part of a region heavily affected by climate change and saline intrusion, local leaders proposed to invest in the construction of freshwater reservoirs. The funding should not only come from the State budget but also social sources. 

Localities also proposed to mobilise loans for the Mekong Delta’s development, with 90 per cent ODA (official development assistance) capital coming from the Government. 

Addressing concerns from the local leaders, Minister of Transport Nguyễn Văn Thể said special priority has been given to several transport projects, including highways and national routes, alongside maritime and aviation. “If done well, by 2025 we will have 300km of highways in the region, which shows the Government’s commitment on this matter,” said the minister.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is also developing plans with each province to build major, quality agricultural production areas for domestic consumption and export, alongside other freshwater reservoir projects.

“Transport infrastructure plays an incredibly important role in the region’s development,” Deputy PM Lê Văn Thành concluded the meeting. “If we want to develop the Mekong Delta, the number one priority for localities is the development of transport infrastructure. This will help enhance connections and utilise the strengths of the regions.”

The development space in the region needs to be connected to industrial centres. The focus should be placed on developing marine space and marine economic development, with the infrastructure system of coastal routes, seaports, and the logistics system, as seven out of 13 localities in the region are coastal provinces.

The Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) needs to coordinate closely with ministries, departments, and research experts, said the Deputy PM, while the investment process must be prepared and implemented as fast as possible. 

Affirming that water resources are the core characteristic of the Mekong Delta region, Deputy PM Lê Văn Thành required comprehensive management of these resources based on the evaluation of their impact and capacity, while ensuring sustainable development.

The MPI will speed up the process to complete the reports and documents to submit to the Council in November, with approval expected to be granted in December. — VNS