Poor planning hinders central region growth: gov’t

Tuesday, Sep 26, 2017 08:58

Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue speaks at the 2nd Central Coastal Economic Forum with the participation of 500 deputies from 11 provinces. — VNS Photo Nga Son

The Government is concerned about the poor coordination and infrastructure undermining the major potential of Viet Nam’s 11 central provinces for the country’s economic growth, Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue told 500 business people and officials at the 2nd Central Coastal Economic Forum in Da Nang on Monday.

“Many efforts have been recorded by the regional co-ordination management board since the first forum was held in 2014. However, poor connection of strategic traffic roads, including the National Highway, Coastal Highway, Ho Chi Minh Trail and north-south railway, have prevented the region from fast growth,” Hue said. Favourable connection of roads, airports, sea ports and economic and industrial zones will create more power for the region in the coming decades, he added.

He suggested the forum discuss how to build an effective mechanism for co-operation among the provinces to boost their advantages in marine economy and tourism, saying the region could contribute as much as 70 per cent to the country’s economic growth.

The head of the Viet Nam Institute of Economics, Tran Dinh Thien, said the development of the coastal central region has not reached its target since the regional co-ordination management board was established six years ago.

“More than 40 industrial zones (IZs) and six economic zones (EZs) were built in the region, but income per capita in the region is not much higher than the country’s average income,” Thien said. “A lack of international-standard centres for sports, shopping, trade, night recreation and finance has hindered the region from becoming an attractive destination for international tourists.”

Chu Lai Port in Quang Nam Province has launched the first international sea route connecting Quang Nam and Incheon, Korea. — VNS Photo Cong Thanh

Too many ports

Thien also pointed to the lack of coordination among provinces as a major hindrance to economic growth. Thua Thien-Hue Province had developed the Chan May-Lang Co deep-sea port in the region, he said, but neighbouring Da Nang plans to build its own Lien Chieu Port as a key logistics centre just 20km away.

“Each province plans to build its own deep sea port, international airports or industrial zones, while no connections are planned to share the advantages of infrastructure investment,” he explained.

The coastal central region has six airports, 13 seaports, six coastal economic zones, a high-tech park and 14 national roads.

Thien suggested the region should be restructured, based on the advantage of each province. “We can arrange several provinces with the same advantages (sea ports, airports and economic zones) in a sub-zone,” he suggested.

Ly Son Island in Quang Ngai Province is a tourist and investment attraction in eco-tour projects. — VNS Photo Cong Thanh

The head of the central region’s Development Consultancy Council, Tran Du Lich, said the region has tremendous potential for marine economy development – ship-building, fisheries, logistics, coastal economic zones, and island and sea tourism.

Dr. Huynh The Du from Fulbright University Viet Nam said many provinces offer free land rent to attract investors, but investors are never punished for failing to move forward with promised projects or for long delays. He also suggested the region needs only one deep-sea port.

A quick survey presented by economist Vo Tri Thanh at the forum showed that nearly 80 per cent of particpants agreed that poor connections and underdeveloped links among provinces in the region are major barriers to growth.

The central coastal region had an average growth of 8.4 per cent, earning revenues of US$5.8 billion last year. — VNS

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