Ben Tre Province Improves Investment Environment

2:54:13 PM | 22/1/2007

The number of projects attracted to Ben Tre province has increased thanks to a much improved investment environment and more open policies in the province. Vietnam Business Forum interviewed Do Van Duc, director of the Ben Tre Department of Planning and Investment, about the province’s investment promotion activities.
Can you highlight the attraction of investment in Ben Tre province?
 In recent years, Ben Tre’s investment attraction has greatly improved. Total registered capital in the 2004-2006 period reached US$37 million, or four folds higher than the 1993-2001 period. At present, the province has 12 FDI projects with a total registered capital of US$43.5 million. The province’s FDI projects come mainly from Southeast Asia, the Republic of Korea and Taiwan. In 2006, capital mobilised from local people and private enterprises reached VND 3,923 billion, accounting for 66 per cent of the province’s total investment capital. 2006 has become the year the province has attracted most investment capital. Each year, the province has around 200 new enterprises. This proves an improved investment and business environment in Ben Tre provinces.
How has the province benefited from the capital sources?
 In investment capital structure, we have always considered investment capital from people and non-budget sources important factors, contributing to Ben Tre’s economic restructuring and growth. Accounting for 66 per cent of the province’s total investment capital in 2006 was investment from people and private enterprises, including FDI. These sources have helped Ben Tre province create jobs and incomes for local people, thus helping improve their living standard and build up their capability by getting access to modern technologies. Each year, Ben Tre province trains and employs around 30,000 workers. On the other hand, FDI and private enterprises have made a significant contribution to the increasing export turnover of the province. 2006 was the first year in which Ben Tre earned more than US$100 million in export turnover, which was put at US$123 million. These investment sources have also helped the province improve its infrastructure facilities, in particular, roads, electricity and water supply systems.
In which fields will Ben Tre province prioritise its investment attraction in the coming years?
 With a great potential for agriculture and fisheries, as well as for farm-produce and seafood processing, Ben Tre will concentrate on calling investment for these fields. At present, capability of local fisheries can meet only 30 per cent of the province’s demand. Furthermore, Ben Tre province will attract labour-intensive projects to create more jobs for local people. Services and tourism have recently formed, so a focus should also be given to the development of these fields. At the same time, the province will concentrate on projects to develop infrastructure facilities, including industrial parks and roads. However, we are ready to discuss with investors any projects of mutual benefit, giving priorities to projects of high economic value and low environmental pollution.
 What comments would you like to make on Ben Tre’s investment promotion?
 Investment promotion is not solely a task of the Department of Planning and Investment. Instead, it is a task of all agencies, which should be implemented with high responsibility. The Investment Promotion Centre will act as a bridge between local authorities and enterprises. Procedures will be implemented with a ‘one door’ mechanism. Local authorities said they want agencies to work with an open atmosphere. We are very happy to announce that Ben Tre province has established a board for investment promotion under the People’s Committee, which will facilitate enterprises’ investment in Ben Tre province.

Reported by Thanh Nga