The fourth outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic hurt economic activity, including investment, production and business, in Soc Trang province like other provinces in the region in 2021. Fortunately, with the effort of the whole political system, the consensus of the business community and the people and the right policy of provincial leaders, Soc Trang province achieved optimistic outcomes in investment attraction and business development. Vietnam Business Forum has an interview with Mr. Duong Van Ngoanh, Director of the Department of Planning and Investment of Soc Trang province. Cong Luan reports.
|Mr. Duong Van Ngoanh, Director of the Department of Planning and Investment of Soc Trang province|
Could you please briefly introduce remarkable results in investment attraction and business development of Soc Trang province in 2021?
On investment attraction, in 2021, the province met and consulted 90 investors to study and register investment projects. As a result, it licensed 16 investment projects with a total registered capital of VND26,037 billion, including some sizeable projects which will help local socioeconomic development when they are operational, like BCG Soc Trang 1 Wind Power Plant (VND 1,361 billion), Soc Trang 4 Wind Power Plant (VND14,500 billion) and a high-tech organic microbiological shrimp farming project for export (VND148.4 billion) in Vinh Chau Town.
On business support, in the past year, the province had 359 newly established companies with a total registered capital of VND2,379.7 billion and witnessed 59 companies resuming operations. By the end of 2021, Soc Trang had 3,821 enterprises with a total registered capital of VND50,060 billion, including 56 large firms (VND25,849.39 billion) and 79 medium companies (VND5,025 billion).
In addition, with the working motto "Government sides with enterprises", the province established a working group to remove difficulties and obstacles faced by enterprises. In one year of operation, the group received complaints from 22 companies which were promptly resolved by the group.
Soc Trang province is endowed with great advantages to attract investors into high-tech agriculture, marine economy, renewable energy and tourism. Would you be kind enough to tell us encouraging investment attraction results in these strong areas in the past time, as well as their development orientations in the coming time?
Soc Trang is among important food producers of the country. This place has abundant and diverse export products, especially rice, seafood and processed agricultural products. Thus, it has huge potential for high-tech agricultural development.
Currently, the province is home to five high-quality shrimp seed farming, microbiological shrimp farming and high-tech aquaculture projects invested by Sao Ta Food Joint Stock Company and Khang An Food Joint Stock Company with a total investment capital of VND2,144.044 billion. At the same time, the province is calling further investment funds for high-tech agricultural production projects and those combined with solar power.
Soc Trang has advantages not only in agriculture, but also in renewable energy (like wind power, solar power and biomass power) and marine economy. Specifically in marine economy, Soc Trang Seaport was included in the Vietnam Seaport Development Master Plan in the 2021-2030 period, with a vision to 2050, and was intended to be developed into a special seaport. Tran De Wharf will be a direct import and export gateway for regional and international goods. Soc Trang province is coordinating with the Ministry of Transport to prepare a land and water development plan for Soc Trang seaport. On that basis, when seaports are formed, they will be pluses in investment attraction for port logistics services and supporting services for seaport development.
Regarding renewable energy, Soc Trang province is presently home to 17 wind power projects with a total installed capacity of 1,295.2 MW. So far, four projects are operational with a total installed capacity of 110.8 MW. In the coming time, the province will promote available potential advantages of renewable energy and call for investment in offshore wind power and solar power projects.
In tourism, the province licensed the Gieng Tien Cultural and Religious Area Project, which costs VND 200 billion. The province will focus on searching investors for ecotourism projects in Cu Lao Dung, Ke Sach, Tran De and other districts.
In addition, to attract and invite investors, Soc Trang will invest in many transport infrastructure projects to facilitate connectivity for the province and the region.
To create an open and attractive business and investment environment, how has the province focused on reforming administrative procedures and enhancing the business investment environment? To further increase the appeal of the local business and investment environment, in the coming time, what solutions will the Department of Planning and Investment advise the Provincial People's Committee to take and implement?
In recent years, conducting administrative reforms and improving the business investment environment have always been directed by provincial leaders, but the outcomes are not as good as expected. Therefore, in 2021, provincial leaders took more drastic directions for stronger public administration reform and a better business and investment environment. Soc Trang province adopted many more convenient administrative procedure models for businesses and investors. For example, the Department of Planning and Investment actively cooperated with Viettel Post - Soc Trang Branch to deliver better support services for people and businesses at the latter’s locations across the province. ViettelPost will be responsible for organizing, guiding, processing and receiving dossiers sent by people and businesses when they carry out procedures relating to business registration, and, at the same time, will transfer final results to them as soon as those procedures are completed. The Department of Planning and Investment will be responsible for training staff for ViettelPost Soc Trang to handle documents and procedures to bring best utility services for them through this cooperation.
The province will also strengthen the delivery of online public services and online information to help businesses and people reduce time and cost for carrying out procedures.
In particular, the province will regularly organize meetings and dialogues with enterprises and investors to grasp their difficulties to have prompt support for them when they make investment and do business in the province.
To dramatically improve the investment and business environment, as a lead investment agency, in the coming time, the Department of Planning and Investment will advise the Provincial People's Committee to devise a scheme on business support and development with appropriate business support policies and solutions. The department will coordinate with the Department of Information and Communications to develop a digital transformation scheme for local businesses, supporting them to apply digital technology to create a foundation for developing the digital economy and digital society. At the same time, the Soc Trang Investment Promotion Conference 2022 will be organized to create an opportunity to promote and introduce the province's investment potential and strengths to mobilize internal and external resources from all economic sectors.
Given the continued impact of the COVID-19 epidemic, how will Soc Trang province reform investment promotion and attraction methods to match the new setting to improve effective investment attraction?
In the context of complicated COVID-19 epidemic development, while strictly adopting “safe, flexible adaptation to, effective control of the COVID-19 epidemic", Soc Trang province has actively reformed online and offline investment promotion and attraction methods. This initiative has brought practical results. The province successfully signed a memorandum of understanding on strategic cooperation in many fields with Bamboo Capital Joint Stock Company to open up an investment ecosystem for potential investors seeking to invest in Soc Trang. The province contacted and worked online with businesses and investors (like S-Man Energy Co., Ltd., and Vinacoop-Robert & Partners Distribution Joint Stock Company).
In the coming time, in order to deepen investment promotion, the province will prepare a list of projects seeking investment funds in 2022-2025, ensure a full legal basis for planning, land and investment incentives to enhance project feasibility and attractiveness. It will publicize information on investment projects on websites where businesses can easily learn and update information. When there are investors interested in investment in the province, staff will contact them to know their concerns and guide investment procedures.
The Department of Planning and Investment will also propose provincial leaders to specifically assign each department and sector to monitor projects and guide investors; actively seek strategic partners; and increase online and offline meetings and contacts with investors.
As a result, Soc Trang is effectively preparing necessary conditions to seize the opportunity, create trust and bring investors with business projects in the province.
Thank you very much!
Source: Vietnam Business Forum