Mekong, southeast regions ask for quick release of public funds for infrastructure

Friday, Aug 16, 2019 08:19

Delegates at the “Building a plan for the socio-economic development and public investment in 2020 in the Southeast and Mekong Delta region” conference held in Vinh Long Province on Wednesday. — VNA/VNS Photo

Provinces and cities in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta and south-eastern region and experts have called on the Government to prioritise investment to develop these regions’ infrastructure and foster development based on their inherent advantages.

At a conference titled “Building a plan for the socio-economic development and public investment in 2020 in the Southeast and Mekong Delta region” held in Vinh Long Province on Wednesday, delegates said public investments in the two regions remain slow though there has been huge and urgent demand for funds.

This is one of the reasons for their development to lag behind their potential, they said.

Tran Duy Dong, head of the Ministry of Planning and Investment’s department of local and territorial economy, said the rate of disbursement of funds for public projects in the Mekong Delta in the year to July 30 was 38.56 per cent, higher than the country’s average of 36.11 per cent.

The rate for the southern region, 25.35 per cent, is the lowest among the country’s six regions, he said.

The highest rate in some places in the two regions is only 40 per cent whereas in some other regions it is 60 per cent, he said.

This pressing problem should be handled as soon as possible, he added.

Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Vo Thanh Thong said that to promote public investment and socio-economic development in the two regions, ministries and localities need to develop clear plans for fund allocation and specify priority public projects requiring funds by 2020 in line with the 2016-20 public investment plan approved by the National Assembly.

Vice Chairman of the Vinh Long People's Committee Lu Quang Ngoi said the Government has incentives to support agriculture but businesses find it difficult to access them.

He urged the Government to review and amend the incentive policies to make them more practical and appropriate to each region.

Le Quang Manh, chairman of the Can Tho People’s Committee, said though the Government has issued Resolution No. 120/NQ-CP on the sustainable development of the Mekong River Delta, its implementation remains difficult due to a lack of mechanisms and specific policies for the region.

The ministry should soon advise the Government to create a specific policy for infrastructure development, especially for transport infrastructure, in the Mekong Delta, he said.

Thong said the south-eastern region has underlined its status as the country’s economic spearhead by accounting for 45 per cent of the country's GDP.

The Mekong Delta plays a key role in ensuring national food security, accounting for 50 per cent of food production, nearly 70 per cent of seafood exports, 90 per cent of rice exports, and 18.7 per cent of the country’s GDP, he said.

With their respective strengths, the two regions should strengthen their links to develop together, he said.

Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Vu Van Trung hailed the contribution made by the south-eastern and Mekong Delta regions to the country's economic growth.

His ministry had received feedback from localities at the conference and would factor it in when formulating criteria for allocating funds, he said.

It would also co-ordinate with relevant ministries and agencies to resolve difficulties faced by localities, he promised. — VNS

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