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Luong Tan Thi, acting director of Vinh Long Investment Promotion and Business Support Centre, spoke with VIR’s Phu Khoi about experiences in attracting investment to the province in recent years.
What potentials and advantages does Vinh Long offer to make it an appealing place for investors?
Spreading along National Highway 1A, and laying between two major urban centres (136 kilometres from Ho Chi Minh City, and 33km from Can Tho city), Vinh Long is well placed for both land and air transport.
Vinh Long is positioned in the Mekong River’s lower section, and between two major rivers of Tien and Hau, the province plays an important role in the waterway development strategy of the pivotal southern economic zone and international exchanges, through an array of local estuaries including Tieu, Dai, Ham Luong, Co Chien, and Dinh An.
Currently, Hau river is accessible to 10,000 deadweight tonnage ships, opening enormous opportunities for logistics services and ocean shipping for investors doing business in Vinh Long.
Of the province’s 152,000 hectares of natural land, nearly 120,000ha is earmarked for agricultural production. With a crowded river and a network of fresh water all year round, Vinh Long offers fertile land and a mild climate, favourable for growing rice and specialty fruits of high economic value, not to mention a rich aquaculture.
Every year, Vinh Long produces more than one million tonnes of rice, 500,000 tonnes of fruit, and 200,000 tonnes of seafood which are good sources for the processing industry.
Vinh Long is well-known for accommodating a raft of traditional craft villages that make pottery, tiles, conical hats, embroidery, and weaving mats, which have been exported to many countries.
Home to a number of well-known attractions, Vinh Long is also ideal for green tourism development. The province hosts several dozen colleges, universities, and technical high schools where thousands of students are trained every year to satisfy investors’ demand.
Have the province’s achievements in investment attraction been commensurate with its actual potential?
Last year, Vinh Long scored five foreign direct investment (FDI) projects worth $12.8 million in total committed capital. Just in the first nine months this year, the province welcomed eight FDI projects valued at more than $138 million in total registered capital, equal to nearly 50 per cent of the provincial total committed FDI amount until now.
Vinh Long Investment Promotion and Business Support Centre (IPBC) has helped investors obtain appraisals from relevant management agencies for four investment projects. These include a project on solid waste treatment in Tra On district; a tanning project in Mang Thit district’s An Phuoc commune; a project on building a showroom and auto trade and maintenance centre in Vinh Long city’s Truong An commune; and a project on building Anh Duong private kindergarten in Binh Minh town’s Thanh Phuoc ward. These projects have total estimated investment capital of about VND116 billion ($5.2 million)
Generally, marked improvements were reported when it comes to attracting investment in the province in recent years, but it is still modest compared to the province’s prevailing potential.
The province has witnessed breakthroughs in wooing investment so far this year. Could you share with us some valuable experiences from the investment attraction process?
Patience is important when it comes to investment promotion. It is crucial to grasp opportunities when the time is right, as well as take into account investors’ psychology, and help them remove concerns that hinder investment decisions.
We are cautious even when buying an item that is not costly, let alone the investors who spend a big sum on their investment projects.
Through contact with investors, I got to know what concerned them the most were issues related to investment procedures, policies on land access, human resources, and material and goods transport conditions. To convince an investor to set up an investment in the province, the people in charge of investment promotion must have the capacity to troubleshoot investors’ concerns. In addition, the province needs to do a smart job with planning work and penning good projects to match investor needs, and to show a strong commitment to support investors.
What preparations has the province made to bolster investment promotion efficiency in the near future?
To accelerate investment in the next period, aside from constantly improving the local investment climate, Vinh Long has made planning work and creating cleared land for investors its top priority. The province is currently home to two operational industrial parks (IPs) and Co Chien coastal industrial complex, covering a total area of nearly 400ha.
Of them, the Hoa Phu and Binh Minh IPs are ready to serve investors with over 100ha of land with already completed infrastructure.
In order to create more cleared land for investors, the province is calling for investment into the 350ha Dong Binh IP, Vinh Long city’s industrial cluster over 70ha, and a chain of investment projects of high commercial value in diverse fields.