With many reasonable and timely support policies and well-exploited potential, Long An province has risen to become a "bright spot" in attracting investment in the Mekong Delta, particularly foreign direct investment (FDI). Especially in the 2021, Long An was among the top provinces in the country in terms of investment attraction. According to Mr. Huynh Van Son, Director of the provincial Department of Planning and Investment, this success is partly due to the fact that Long An has efficiently adjusted investment promotion plans and focused on on-the-spot investment promotion, thereby contributing to the efficiency of investment attraction in the province. Duy Anh reports.
Can you share about Long An's outstanding investment attraction results in the past year? What is the reason for this success?
Currently, there are 1,129 FDI projects in the province that have been granted investment certificates with registered capital of over US$9.42 billion. Singapore is the largest investor, followed by Taiwan (China), Korea, Hong Kong (China), the United States and Japan. Particularly in 2021, despite many difficulties due to the pandemic, the province also received 49 new FDI projects with newly registered investment capital of over US$3.36 billion, up 1.128% compared to 2020 (about US$ 297 million).
Achieving these positive investment attraction results amidst the very serious pandemic situation in the area is due to the fact that Long An has well implemented important and decisive solutions in the prevention and control of the COVID-19 pandemic, while advancing economic recovery and development. Determining the source of non-budget investment capital is an important driving force for socio-economic development, so along with efforts to control the pandemic, the province has proactively implemented many solutions to support enterprises to soon resume production and business according to the roadmap, and step by step control the pandemic.
In the context that international investment promotion activities face many difficulties due to the pandemic, the province has promoted investment promotion activities in many forms to adapt to the pandemic prevention requirements. The province has actively cooperated with central ministries, branches, newspapers, magazines, and television stations to compile and distribute documents for investment promotion to investors. The provincial web portal has also promptly and fully updated guidelines, mechanisms, policies, projects to attract investment, creating favorable conditions for investors to learn information about the province.
The province has carried out many exchanges and investment connection activities including: supporting Japanese business delegations to survey and work in industrial zones; working with the Korea International Cooperation Agency and a delegation of Korean businesses to visit and learn about the investment environment; organizing a seminar on the orientation of developing high-tech economic zones with the participation of representatives of large corporations from Korea, the United States, and Germany. The province has held virtual dialogue conferences between the Provincial People's Committee and enterprises both to ensure social distancing and to promptly remove difficulties, promote production and business to respond to the pandemic.
Long An province has regularly reviewed investment incentive and support mechanisms and policies in the province, and timely adjusted them in accordance with the actual situation to ensure compliance with the provisions of law. The province has also helped solve problems and difficulties in compensation and site clearance, creating favorable conditions for investment projects to come into operation soon.
Faced with the unpredictable impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, what practical support has the province provided for businesses affected by the pandemic?
Even when the pandemic was still complicated, in order to remove difficulties for businesses operating under the "3 on-the-spot" plan, the Provincial People's Committee issued Plan 2759/KH-UBND dated August 24, 2021 for enterprises to replace and supplement workers. When the pandemic situation improved, the province issued Plan 2962/KH-UBND dated September 13, 2021 and continuously made appropriate adjustments to the situation to gradually reopen the economy.
Until the COVID-19 pandemic in the area was basically under control, the province issued Plan 3222/KH-UBND dated October 4, 2021 for all businesses to resume operations on the basis of ensuring pandemic prevention. It can be said that Long An is one of the first provinces to create conditions for businesses to return to work and ensure good conditions for pandemic prevention. The vaccination rate is very high (100% of people in the province are vaccinated and the province has issued a plan to provide additional doses and booster doses); thereby contributing to the realization of the dual goal of "promoting pandemic prevention and recovery and socio-economic development".
Thanks to the good implementation of solutions to create conditions for businesses to resume production and business activities, combined with pandemic prevention, up to now, almost all businesses in the province have resumed operations. However, there are still some difficulties and inadequacies such as: shortage of labor; difficulty in importing raw materials and goods abroad due to delays and high cost; COVID-19 cases arising in enterprises; and many expenses related to pandemic prevention and control, namely testing costs, investment costs to meet the conditions of disease safety control.
From the above difficulties, in order to support enterprises in the process of reproduction, especially in stabilizing the lives of workers, the province has advocated strengthening mobile medical stations, and medical facilities in industrial zones and clusters; promptly vaccinating all employees in enterprises, including workers in other provinces who return to Long An province to work.
The province has also established a Steering Committee to remove difficulties and problems for people and businesses. The province also regularly meets and holds dialogue with businesses to understand difficulties and promptly remove them; immediately implements solutions to support businesses such as exemption, reduction, and extension of taxes, fees and charges; credit support; policies on social insurance, trade union funding, recruitment support and labor training. Long An also reconnects and promotes investment, trade and tourism promotion activities to attract investment and find outputs for products of the province. The province also promotes the establishment of a coastal economic zone and an Innovation Center to attract large, high-tech projects, helps connect and facilitates technological innovation for existing enterprises in the province. Long An has joined with provinces and cities in the Ho Chi Minh City Region (including Ho Chi Minh City, Binh Duong, Dong Nai, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Tay Ninh) on the Agreement on regional cooperation in the prevention and control of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic recovery.
In addition to continuing to support workers facing difficulties due to the pandemic according to the policies of the Central Government, the province will also mobilize the cooperation of the business community to support workers. In order to attract and retain workers to live and work for a long time in the area, the province is promoting the construction and implementation of a project to build housing for workers with the goal of building 500,000 to 1,000,000 apartments by 2030.
The context of the COVID-19 pandemic is still evolving and becoming more and more complicated. How will Long An's investment promotion and attraction strategy in the near future be changed and renewed to suit the general situation?
Facing difficulties caused by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Long An province has adjusted investment promotion plans to adapt to the actual situation. In addition to focusing on infrastructure investment, building an equal and friendly investment environment, necessary investment promotion activities are regularly renewed. The province focuses on strengthening investment promotion on the spot, especially focusing on improving administrative procedures, making the investment and business environment transparent and creating the best conditions for investors to research and implement projects; and create a closer connection between the local government and businesses. This is to help businesses have a multi-dimensional perspective on local development potential, thereby working together to create a healthy and developing business environment.
The province's point of view is to attract investment selectively, taking quality, efficiency, technology and environmental protection as the main evaluation criteria. The province also focused on attracting projects using high technology, clean technology, sustainable development, economical use of the land funds, high investment efficiency, and large budget payment. On that basis, the province has built an investment promotion program with focus, innovation and diversification of investment promotion activities.
With the issuance of a plan to restore production and business activities, it is forecast that in the near future Long An will receive more investment flows, especially FDI capital. How has the province prepared to accommodate these investments?
As I have shared, in every period, Long An always identifies non-budget investment capital as an important driving force for socio-economic development, the development of enterprises is the development of the province. In order to further improve the efficiency of investment attraction, especially FDI, in the coming time, the province will urgently complete the Long An Provincial Plan for the period of 2021-2030, with a vision to 2050. In January 2022, we sent the draft for comments from experts and neighboring provinces. Then it will be sent to the central ministries and branches for opinions. During the formulation of the Provincial Plan, the provincial planning consulting unit always updates information from the draft Master Plan for the Mekong Delta region to ensure consistency and synchronization between the two master plans.
The province also accelerates investment in the infrastructure of industrial zones to increase the clean land fund to call for and receive investment; issues solutions to stabilize land rents in industrial zones to attract secondary investors. The province also focuses on further improving the infrastructure, especially the traffic connecting Long An province with Ho Chi Minh City and the Southern Key Economic Zone through the implementation of the Breakthrough Program to mobilize all resources to build the synchronous transport infrastructure system for industrial and urban development in key economic zones and key projects according to the Resolution of the 11th Provincial Party Congress. Long An also prioritizes the development of high-quality human resources in association with reform and stronger improvement of the province's business and investment environment in the direction of simplicity, speed, timeliness and compliance with regulations; and maintains a high in PCI Index ranking. Long An continues to support businesses by periodically holding dialogues with enterprises and associations to solve difficulties and problems in the process of investment and business; and support the implementation of compensation, site clearance and resettlement for quick implementation of projects.
By Vietnam Business Forum