Economic region seeks gov’t guidance

Monday, May 07, 2018 09:44

Dung Quat Oil Refinery in the central province of Quang Ngai. The Central Key Economic Region, which includes the provinces of Thua Thien-Hue, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh and Da Nang City, seeks an institutional framework from the Government to enhance collective cooperation within the region. — VNA/VNS Photo Huy Hung

Members of the Central Key Economic Region are seeking an institutional framework from the government to enhance collective co-operation within the region, as they have so far been unable to reach a common ground.

According to the Council for the Central Key Economic Region, which includes the provinces of Thua Thien- Hue, Da Nang, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai and Binh Dinh, the members have worked for 10 years, but no sound progress toward co-operation for mutual benefit has been made.

Economic zones and industrial parks within the central provinces had been more interested in competing with one another so far this year, said Nguyen Van Cao, chairman of the council for the period of 2017-18.

A report by the Viet Nam Institute for Industrial Policy and Strategic Studies said that the economic zones in the five central provinces that make up the Central Key Economic Region have functioned in similar industries, thus competition between them is understandable.

Participants at a workshop held in Thua Thien- Hue last Saturday said that in order to resolve this situation, the Government must directly intervene.

“The government should allow the region to have some power as an institution, so that it has a better ability to make decisions for itself,” said Dr Tran Dinh Thien, former director of the Viet Nam Institute of Economics, and a member of the Government Economic Advisory Group.

Thien said the Central Key Economic Region is merely a name as it had no tangible ability to make decisions, adding that while the Government formed the key economic region with the intention of increasing co-operation, it has in the meantime licensed economic zones in each locality individually.

“Each locality has an economic zone and they are affected by GDP growth pressure, leading to the need for competition,” he said.

Dam Minh Le, deputy head of the Authority for Dung Quat Economic Zone and Industrial Parks in Quang Ngai, said that the Dung Quat Economic Zone in Quang Ngai and Chu Lai Economic Zone in Quang Nam were good examples of the failing cooperation within the region.

At first, Dung Quat and Chu Lai were intended to be one economic zone, but the two couldn’t connect as the bridge connecting them had so far not been available, he said.

Huynh The Du from Fulbright University Viet Nam said that co-operation between economic zones in the region was impossible, as one must ultimately sacrifice for the sake of the others.

“Co-operation could be obtained if the government invested in better infrastructure and services for all five localities,” he said, adding that the investment would also help lure investors.

Du said that the region should have a joint stock company gathering all the seaports in the region into one centralised entity, thus ensuring that no locality would be at a disadvantage in a co-operation plan.

Thien concluded that the potential and industrial infrastructure in each of the five localities of the Central Key Economic Region were not equal. As such, any co-operation pact would mean that one region must sacrifice for the others.

This problem could be solved by further integrating the region, and creating one solid institution to steer regional co-operation, he said. — VNS

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