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Northwest pushes for more investment

In Uncategorized on October 14, 2008 at 12:27 pm

Lao Cai (VNA) – A forum to promote investment in the northwest was considered a roaring success as agreements were reached regarding 19 projects in the region, with a total investment capital of more than 3 billion USD.

More than 500 representatives of economic groups, investment funds and local and foreign businesses participated in the forum, which took place in Sa Pa city in Lao Cai province on Oct. 14.

Addressing the event, Deputy Prime Minister Truong Vinh Trong said the northwest is the heartland of planning and development in accordance with the “two corridors, one economic belt” scheme being implemented by Vietnam and China .

Accordingly, the Government and the northwestern authorities are eager to hear investors’ opinions regarding the on-going administrative reform so that favourable conditions and the best possible environment for investors can be created, Deputy PM Trong said.

According to the Northwest Steering Committee, the northwest posted a GDP growth rate of 12.38 percent in 2007 and made remarkable improvements in its production capacity, infrastructure, and socio-economic performance.

However, the committee pointed out that the region has been slow in adapting its economic structure, with its development strategy lacking a vision of long-term sustainability and its socio-economic infrastructure remaining weak.

“Despite its potentials and strengths, the northwest remains the poorest region in the country,” the Northwest Steering Committee commented.

The northwest requires at least 10 billion USD in investment capital to reach its set targets of an annual GDP growth rate of 11 percent and an average per capita income of 517.8 USD over the 2001-2010 period.

This sum seems out of reach for the region as it has attracted 689.8 million USD in investment to date, a modest figure given its rich potential in hydro-electricity generation, mining and ecotourism, plus its favourable geographical position on the stretch of border shared with Laos and China .

At the forum, Deputy PM Trong, who headed the Northwest Steering Committee, stressed that the northwest needs to formulate a plan focusing on the development of hydroelectricity, the mining industry, the production of construction materials, ecotourism, and forging and strengthening economic ties with neighbouring countries.

Currently, the northwest produces more than 300,000 tonnes of food in order to meet the demands of provinces in the region.

In 2007, the region saw the construction of 100 hydro-electric power plants with a total output capacity of 1,600 MW and the operation of the Cam Duong apatite sorting plant, the Sinh Quyen copper complex and the Lao Cai iron and steel plant.

Localities have invested in the expansion of more than 400 km of border beltways and thousands of kilometres of inter-commune and inter-district roads and in linking remote, mountainous communes with the national grid in order to create favourable preconditions to inviting more investors into the region.

The government has also applied special incentives to lure investors to the region, including preferential credit, land lease reduction and exemption, subsidies for materials transport, assistance in infrastructure construction in industrial zones and income tax cuts.-

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