Provinces tougher on foot-dragging projects
By Quoc Hung - The Saigon Times Daily
HCMC – Many provinces this year focus on accelerating the capital disbursement of licensed projects while determining to cancel out delayed, inefficient and unfeasible projects.
Ba Ria-Vung Tau has set a modest target of US$500 million in foreign direct investment (FDI) attraction this year, or a half of last year’s result. The province’s vice chairman Ho Van Nien said the locality would pay more attention to the disbursement of US$27 billion at 298 projects licensed in the past few years than the number of fresh projects and the registered capital.
This explains why Ba Ria-Vung Tau last year decided to revoke investment certificates of 24 projects due to slow progress or no deployment. The procedures for license revocation will be carried out this year.
The province is reviewing the licensed projects with slow deployment to support investors to timely roll out the projects. In case the investors have no plan for deployment or lack financial capability to implement the projects, the province’s authorities will withdraw licenses and transfer projects to other investors.
Meanwhile, Long An Province is imposing strict measures on the projects agreed in principle to develop industrial clusters and residential zones in the province.
Nguyen Minh Ha, director of the provincial department of planning and investment, said his agency will propose the province’s government to eliminate unviable projects or transfer those projects to more competent investors
The department’s report shows that 22 projects in the province were withdrawn last year, with the total area of over 1,600 hectares.
The highland province of Lam Dong has become tougher on delayed projects. The latest data show that the province last year decided to cancel out 45 local and foreign-invested projects, worth VND10 trillion and US$30 million in investment capital. Besides, over 40 other projects will likely have licenses revoked in the coming time.
Most of the cancelled projects are small and medium-scale hydropower projects, and projects invested in tourism, agriculture and forestry.
Similarly, HCMC has officially withdrawn investment certificate of the billion-dollar Thu Thiem software park project in District 2 to call for other capable investors to carry out the project.
With resolution to restore the order in investment attraction, other localities like Binh Thuan, Danang and Bac Ninh have also become stricter to investors in order to steadily get rid of unfeasible projects and incompetent investors.
These localities themselves do not want to revoke certificates of licensed projects since the procedures are cumbersome. However, they are left with no choice because inefficient projects will leave negative impact on the economy.
Phan Huu Thang, director of Foreign Investment Research Center of National University-Hanoi, said the biggest challenge for FDI attraction is that the registered capital of some US$108 billion has yet to be disbursed, leading to multiple delayed projects causing waste of land, product shortage and affecting the image of Vietnam’s investment and business environment.
Still, if the country managed to accelerate the disbursement of this capital source, it would provide a good chance to promote and call for new investment, noted Thang, ex-director of the Foreign Investment Agency under the Ministry of Planning and Investment.