Resources to be mobilised for Central Highlands

09:28 | 13/04/2013
The Government will mobilise all internal and external resources to develop modern infrastructure in the Central Highlands to lure investment to the region.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung made the affirmation at the second conference on investment promotion in the Central Highlands that took place in Pleiku city, Gia Lai province on April 12.

Priority will be given to major transport projects that connect sea ports, airports, coastal urban areas and neighbouring regions, he said.

The leader urged the region to pay attention to upgrading the Ho Chi Minh Trail, the construction of highways running through Dau Giay-Da Lat and Pleiku-Quy Nhon intersections, and railways linking the Central Highlands to central coastal and southeast regions.

Buon Ma Thuot, Pleiku and Lien Khuong airports must be modernised to attract more investors, he said.

Dung instructed localities in the region to enhance coordination and utilise the region’s potential and advantages to attract investment while paying attention to training good managers and skilled workers.

The localities were also required to put forth appropriate policies to encourage the application, renovation and transfer of technology while boosting administrative reform to create an open investment environment.

The Government will continue to work out preferential policies, focusing on the region’s strengths, to attract greater investment and ensure regional sustainable and rapid development, Dung affirmed.

The PM assigned the Ministry of Planning and Investment and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to partner with localities to select and propose a number of key forestry and agricultural projects to call for investment.

Regarding economic and trade ties between the Central Highlands and border provinces in Laos and Cambodia, Dung required the region to combine investment promotion with national defence, security and social order to ensure the region remains a firm base for the national construction and defence cause.

At the meeting, Minister of Planning and Investment Bui Quang Vinh underlined huge investment opportunities in the Central Highlands. The region needs about 400 trillion VND for development during the 2011-2015 period, he said.

The ministry will finalise and submit to the Government a decision on the issuance of specific policies and incentives for the region’s socio-economic development and national security, focusing on investment promotion, FDI attraction in education and training, the mobilisation and development of high-quality human resources and the development of small- and medium-sized enterprises.

Governor of the State Bank of Vietnam Nguyen Van Binh said the bank has coordinated with the Steering Committee for the Central Highlands, Party committees and authorities of the five provinces in the region to develop the banking master plan that serves economic development in the area.

The bank will work as a bridge for all social welfare programmes in poor districts and communes, and households experiencing difficulties in the Central Highlands economic zone.

On this occasion, banks contributed over 251 billion VND to social welfare programmes in the region, of which 184 billion VND came from commercial banks, said President of the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV).

Commercial banks also signed 28 contracts worth nearly 24 trillion VND with regional businesses operating in the fields of coffee, rubber and hydroelectricity.

Thirteen businesses were also granted investment licences with a total registered capital of more than 16 trillion VND.

At the meeting, regional leaders pledged to continue their efforts in administrative reform and investment environment improvement, saying the region always creates the most favourable conditions for investors.

The Central Highlands covers an area of over 5.4 million hectares, of which 1.36 million hectares are red-coloured basaltic soil (making up 66 percent of the country’s total area of basaltic soil), and has a population of 4.8 million people.

The region is now home to various agricultural products of high economic value and a competitive edge both at home and abroad, such as coffee, rubber, tea, pepper, cotton, drugs, fruit trees, and paper pulp.

Hydroelectricity, construction materials and agricultural product processing have become the region’s strengths.

Services, transport, telecommunication and banking sectors have also developed rapidly.

The region’s per capita annual income increased from 2.9 million VND in 2001 to 26.9 million VND in 2012.

After the first conference in 2009, investors have poured over 90 trillion VND into the region.

Since 2005, the region attracted over $192 million in official development assistance with the focus on agriculture and rural development, poverty reduction, urban infrastructure, transport, education, training, healthcare and irrigation.

By the end of March this year, the region had lured 169 FDI projects with a total registered capital of $900 million.

However, the region still faces a wide range of difficulties, including its geographical location, distracted population, high poverty rate, poor education and potential risks in security and political stability.

QĐND

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