Projects sitting with axe poised to fall on lifespans

The fate of two Taiwanese-backed projects in northern Thai Nguyen may hang in the air during 2011.

The local Investment Promotion Centre said a $4.5 million farm produce processing project in Du town invested by Taiwanese investors I Mei Foods and Tai Pax Investment Co., Ltd would likely have its investment certificate revoked if the investors did not make any progress of the project.

Taiwan’s Li Ze Infrastructure Development Company Ltd’s $5 million, 48 hectare Trung Thanh Industrial Park is facing the same fate.

A representative from the Thai Nguyen Department of Planning and Investment’s External Economic Division told VIR that the 4ha, 40-year farm produce processing project had almost stopped operations since 2006 “due to shortages of distribution outlets for its products”.

“We have many times urged these investors to boost the project’s production or shift their products, but they said that they could not find a better solution for this project. However they do not want to return the land site to the province,” the representative said.

This project’s investment certificate was granted in 1995 and revised in 1996, 1999 and 2001. Over $1.12 million had been disbursed for the project, the representative said. This project produces 5,000-10,000 tonnes of high-quality tea per year and some other farm produce.

Meanwhile, the Li Ze Infrastructure Development Company Ltd committed in May, 2008 to disburse VND12 billion ($615,400) for supporting the province in site clearance of its industrial park construction project. The sum would then be deducted from the investor’s land lease fees paid to the local government when the project operated.

However, only two-thirds of the sum were disbursed, while almost nothing were done in constructing the industrial park.

The project’s construction begun in May, 2008 and it was Thai Nguyen’s first foreign-invested project in industrial park infrastructure construction.

Located in the province’s southern Pho Yen district, the project was expected to help the poor district lure more investors, especially foreign ones. Planning of the park covers half of agricultural land areas of the district’s six communes, affecting 835 farmers.

The local authorities said they had already given 45ha of the project site to Li Ze Infrastructure Development Company.

“The remaining 3ha will be given to the investor in early 2011. Then, if the investor continues delaying implementation of the project, its investment certificate will be revoked,” he said.

The Investment Promotion Centre reported that at present, Thai Nguyen was home to 23 foreign-invested projects, with total registered capital of over $104.4 million.

In 2010, these projects, employing 3,680 workers, earned a total revenue of $101.3 million, an 18 per cent increase against 2009. Of which, $3.68 million was contributed to the state budget, up 98 per cent against the previous year.

Thanh Tung (