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“Foreign Investment Promotion Needs to Be More Creative” (Updated : 20/01/2012)

This remark comes from Mr Do Nhat Hoang, Director of Foreign Investment Agency (FIA) under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, at the recent foreign investment conference for the southern region held by FIA and the Ho Chi Minh City Investment and Trade Promotion Centre (ITPC). Many provinces and cities lack good plans and creativity to attract investment, he added.

He stressed that, with policies to actively promote potentials and advantages and create open an investment environment, Vietnam has received a number of foreign investment waves in the past years and this importantly contributes to national socioeconomic development. In general, foreign projects bring in new investment methods and help motivate domestic investment sources. Especially in 2011, foreign direct investment (FDI) reached US$15 billion. As many as 57 projects are worth over US$500 million. Disbursement value approximated US$10 billion. Although disbursement value declined over 2010, most investment projects had better quality. This impressive figure was partly contributed by innovative investment promotion methods. Many localities were very successful in their investment promotions. Dong Nai province was an example. Its investment promotion conference attracted more than 120 companies from Japan and 30 Japanese companies operating in Vietnam.
 
Mr Hoang said an investment process now consists of three steps: promotion, licensing and deployment. Nonetheless, the stage of investment promotion in many localities remains spontaneous and uncreative. As regards licensing, since investment decentralisation is in force, localities are very active in licensing investment projects in a very quick manner although there are certain limitations. In general, this activity is very good. Concerning project management, despite efforts, most localities do not obtain satisfactory results. This limitation is partly attributed to the reporting from companies, the mechanism of State policies and the inadequacy of inspecting and supervising personnel. He recommended a consistent guideline from central to local levels in investment promotion, licensing and implementation to enhance effectiveness in the coming time. Specifically, localities need to be more innovative in investment promotion.
 
To support localities, at present, the Foreign Investment Agency is collecting ideas for the supplementation to the Decree No. 108. Basing on the comments collected, the Ministry of Planning and Investment will submit proposals for amendments to the Decree 108 which covers the change in investment ownerships of foreign companies. Besides, the ministry is ready to support localities with information and stand up to connect provinces and cities to boost up the efficiency of investment promotion. In 2012, it will review all foreign investment projects in all provinces and cities to eradicate ineffective projects. Besides, in the list of projects calling for foreign investment from 2011 to 2015, the southern region will focus on developing region-linked trade and tourism projects, tourism development projects, water supply projects, wastewater treatment projects and infrastructure projects for coastal economic zones.
 
Representatives of Departments of Planning and Investment of southern provinces and cities also shared experience in foreign investment attraction they gained in the past time. Vice Chairman of People’s Committee of Tra Vinh Province, Tong Minh Vien, said: To put an end to suspended projects and ensure investment efficiency, Vietnam needs general policies to control registered and disbursed capital of foreign investors. He added that many investors applied for huge projects in order to get bigger land while their actual capital was much smaller. This affected the local investment environment as well as rights and interests of legitimate investors, he continued. Tra Vinh had found at least five idle projects. Indeed, many investors registered millions of US dollars of investment capital but their headquarters in their homeland countries were just small offices, he added, citing a survey by his province.
 
Mr Tran Thanh Lap, Vice Chairman of Hau Giang Provincial People’s Committee, said: The door is opened wide, policies are easy-going and procedures are quick but Hau Giang is unyielding to incapable investors, sluggish projects to cleanse up the investment environment and create the opportunity for capable investors. In addition to "declaring war" to slow-going projects and cleansing up the investment environment, the province takes deep care of investors, especially those facing objective difficulties, and creates most favourable conditions for them to carry out their projects smoothly. Specifically, when they face financial difficulties that may lead to the slow progress of their projects, the province will coordinate with them to find out solutions to speed up the progress.
 
Binh Duong, an experienced province in attracting investment capital, is determined to reject labour-intensive and environment-polluting projects.
 
My Chau
 
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