Phu Yen Resolved to Remove Sluggish Projects

10:18:55 PM | 31/5/2011

Phu Yen province’s efforts to improve its investment and business environment have helped boost social and economic development, created many jobs, and improved living standards. Reporter Gia Thanh interviewed Mr Nguyen Chi Hien, Director of Phu Yen Department of Planning and Investment, on this matter.
Could you please talk about the local potential and comparative advantages that help attract more investors?
As a coastal province in the southern central region, Phu Yen has a prime location on the axis of national trunk roads, railways and waterways – a prerequisite condition for trade, economic and tourism development. Especially, Phu Yen has National Road 1A and the North-South Railway – the most important traffic routes in the country – running through it. National Road 25 connects to Gia Lai province and Provincial Road 645 links to Dak Lak province. Vung Ro Port in the south is capable of serving ships of 30,000 DWT while Tuy Hoa Airport, located in the centre of capital Tuy Hoa City, can serve long-range aircraft. In the southern central coastal region, Phu Yen is the best place for building a railway connecting to the Central Highlands. All of these facilitate the province to boost culture, trade and investment exchange with other localities in the country.
In addition, Phu Yen has copious resources of land, forests, sea, rivers, lagoons and bays for socioeconomic development. Apart from a 189 km coastline, spotted with many beautiful lagoons, bays and beaches such as Cu Mong, Xuan Dai, O Loan, Vung Lam, Bai Tien, Bai Bang, Bai Tram and Bai Bau, the province is also home to many relics and beauty spots classified as national treasures. Phu Yen’s territorial waters measure 6,900 square kilometres, where there are large highly-valued marine reserves, good conditions for sea-based economic and tourism development. The province also has a large land resource, with 290,000 ha of land for development of agriculture, forestry and animal husbandry, and a large creative, intelligent and diligent workforce. The contingent of scientists and technologists increases thanks to good treatment policies.
In addition to diverse natural resources, the Nam Phu Yen Economic Zone, covering an area of 23,000 ha, is a general economic zone consisting of three industrial zones, namely Hoa Hiep, An Phu and Dong Bac Song Cau. This well-designed economic zone is very favourable for investors to do business. Besides, with special investment incentives, the economic zone and industrial zones in the province are the most attractive investment destinations in the southern central region.
What fields create many jobs, have high added value and contribute more to the Provincial Budget? How has the province focused on investing and developing these fields?
According to the Phu Yen socioeconomic development plan till 2020 approved by the Prime Minister, service and tourism fields are driving forces for increasing jobs, increasing added value, and contributing more to the provincial budget. At the same time, employment is being shifted towards a more sustainable structure. Therefore, the province has focused on building tourism infrastructure and advertising tourism. Some large-scale operational projects are generating good effects; the accommodation system is being rapidly expanded in scale, number and quality. The province has 88 hotels and 10 recreational parks. Its tourist accommodation system has 1,970 rooms and 3,058 beds – an increase of 3.7 times over 2005, of which 800 star-rated rooms meet international standards. Tourist arrivals rise 36.4 percent annually, with international visitor arrivals increasing 49.3 percent. Tourism revenues climb 77.7 percent a year.
Besides, the province operated Vung Ro Port, which is designed to serve 250,000 tonnes of cargo a year. In 2010, cargo throughput at the port was 1.97 times above the designed capacity. Additionally, the province has raised flights between Tuy Hoa City and Ho Chi Minh City to 7 a week, and between Tuy Hoa and Hanoi to 5, to strengthen cultural exchange, trade and investment activities. Markets, supermarkets and shopping centres are built throughout the province to cater to local demand. Notable trade centres include Tuy Hoa Co-op Supermarket in the heart of Tuy Hoa City, a supermarket at an ecotourism site invested by Thuan Thao Corporation, and Tuy Hoa central market.
Besides, the Nam Phu Yen Economic Zone is mainly designed for oil and petrochemical refining industries. With most preferential mechanisms and policies, the economic zone will obviously catch the fancy of investors, create more jobs for local people, and contribute more to the provincial budget.
Phu Yen has recently announced procedures to revoke the investment licence for Nam Tuy Hoa Creative City project. This must be a hard decision to make regarding this gigantic project. What experience has the province drawn from this project, particularly on attracting and licensing investment projects?
The Nam Tuy Hoa Creative City project basically suited the Government’s socialisation policy and the province’s socioeconomic development plan. This required a total area of about 7,656 hectares and a total investment capital of US$11.4 billion. The project, planned to be situated along the two banks of the Ba River, was designed to become a dynamic, modern urban zone, cover a variety of high-tech industries, train high-quality human resources, and develop cinematography, information technology, education and other fields.
As we defined this as a large-scaled investment project, the governing People’s Committee of Phu Yen province proposed that the Prime Minister assign the Ministry of Planning and Investment to coordinate with relevant central authorities to appraise it. Upon the approval of the Prime Minister, Phu Yen province granted the first investment licence on October 7, 2009 and a revised licence on August 16, 2010. But, when the investor carried this project, it did not do as it registered in the investment licence. So, the People’s Committee of Phu Yen province decided to revoke this project to give opportunities for other investors.
Phu Yen remains a poor province and resources for development investment are limited. Thus, the province tries the best to catch the attention of investors and create most favourable conditions for domestic and international investors to do business in Phu Yen. The province recognizes that large investment projects usually contain high risk as well, but they are actually driving forces to spur economic development and narrow the development gap between Phu Yen and the rest of the country.
In recent years, the province has attracted many large scale foreign-invested projects like Vung Ro oil refinery; Phu Yen advanced tourism complex, Bai Tram resort, and Sao Viet ecological resort. These projects have created more jobs, improved living standards for local people, and contributed more to the local budget. Inactive or sluggish investment projects will face revocation decisions from the provincial authorities as the province wants to offer opportunities for more capable investors.