Authorities and businesspeople in Ben Tre: Grasping Chances to Step up Development

2:55:21 PM | 22/1/2007

As for BenTreProvince, the Vietnam’s admission to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) exposes both challenges and opportunities for the province to accelerate its economic development. The Vietnam Business Forum excerpted ideas of top authorities of Ben Tre province about this issue.
Mr Tran Anh Tuan - Director of Ben Tre Department of Industry
The industrial sector plays a crucial role in the economic development of every nation in general and Ben Tre Province in particular, especially after Vietnam became the 150th member of the WTO. Therefore, in my opinion, Ben Tre should immediately develop its industry by exerting its internal forces, improve the efficiency of international cooperation, inter-provincial cooperation, inter-regional ties and inter-sector cooperation, and attract foreign investment capital. The province should diversify industrial production and focus on processing industry expansion using local and foreign materials for production of commodities with stable export markets like processed seafood, coconut, vegetables, fruits, foodstuff, garments, textiles, footwear, chemicals, hi-tech products, technological products and import substitute products.
Apart from speeding up the development of the industrial sector, Ben Tre in particular, and Vietnam as a whole, needs to ensure social equality: benefits of companies and benefits of material suppliers. At the same time, the province attaches much importance to completing the construction of industrial zones to help reduce production costs for companies and speed up the industrialisation and modernisation of the locality.
Ms Tran Thi Thu Nga, Deputy Director of Ben Tre Department of Fisheries
With a thick river system originating from the Mekong River running to the South China Sea through four estuaries of Co Chien, Ba Lai, Ham Luong and Cua Dai, the province has more than 382 km of rivers, in addition to 65km of coastline. The province has more than 60,000 ha of surface water for aquaculture (salted water, brackish water and freshwater) and nearly 20,000km2 of seawater for the rearing of various types of seafood. In addition, Ben Tre has more than 100,000 fish farmers. These are huge potentialities of the Ben Tre fisheries.
However, to improve the global competitiveness after Vietnam’s admission to the WTO, the fisheries of Ben Tre Province have applied several standards such as HACCP and ISO 9001:2000 to factories with licences to export to the European market and applied GAP standard to shrimp-rearing farms. At the same time, the province has cooperated with NAFIQACEN to check chemical and antibiotic residues, product quality, diseases and environment pollution. Besides, with non-government sponsorship, Bem Tre is building the MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) trademark for its oyster and applying the BMP (Best Marine Practice) standard for its FAQUIMEX tiger prawn. Additionally, the fisheries sector is also focusing investment on modern technologies to manufacture products of high technological content, upgrade AQUATEX and renew FAQUIMEX. Several companies from other localities have registered for building factories in An Hiep Industrial Zone.
Mr Tran Van Duc - Director of State Bank’s Ben Tre Province Branch
Vietnam has joined the global economy and the banking sector will certainly face pressures in operation. In my viewpoint, there are some challenges and difficulties at the macro level. The legal system for the banking sector is asynchronous while the competition pressure is heavy.
To overcome challenges, the State Bank and local credit organisations must put on the top the role of building up, consolidating and attracting good quality human resources to meet the integration requirements. Besides, we will also improve the supervision, forecast, examination and inspection capacities. Especially, the banking sector will be comprehensively modernised to synchronise technologies for professional, management and technical aspects of the State Bank and credit organisations. At the same time, the banking sector must master advanced banking technologies to boost operating efficiency. Particularly, credit organisations should focus on modernising their transaction systems, expanding e-banking services quickly, developing new banking services and developing risk management services and others. They should apply international standards to their operations. In particular, the diffusion of information and the update of new knowledge related to Vietnam’s WTO commitments in the banking sector are vital to all banks.
Mr Huynh Minh Tri - Director of Ben Tre Industrial Zones Authority
The Prime Minister licensed the construction of general Giao Long Industrial Zone, covering 98 ha in the first phase in mid 2005. Since obtaining the licence, the Industrial Zones Authority has cooperated with relevant bodies to promote investment attraction activities and the Kim Long Industrial Zone has, to date, housed 12 investment projects, including five foreign-led projects with a combined registered capital of US$27.529 million and several Vietnamese-invested ones with a total investment capital of VND232 billion (US$14.5 million). They leased a total area of 33.4 ha, or 51.45 per cent of rentable area. Most companies in Giao Long Industrial Zone are engaged in garment and aquatic processing. At the moment, three are building their factories while one has become operational.
In particular, with investment in industrial zones in Ben Tre Province, in addition to incentives provided by the government, investors will also be assisted with numerous other special treatments, such as human training, lower land lease rental and better infrastructure conditions. As for investment procedures, investors will receive assistance from the Authority from the preparation for the licence application to development and carryout of the project in the shortest term. Ben Tre will prioritise investment in farm produce processing, electricity, electronics, and new commodities for domestic demand and for export.
By 2010, Ben Tre Province targets to build two completely built industrial zones with a total area of 230 ha. In addition, all districts also have their own industrial complexes to facilitate the resource exploitation of small local companies.
Ms Tran Thi Luan - Director of Ben Tre Department of Agriculture and Rural Development
In my opinion, to meet the demand of industrialisation and modernisation, the agricultural sector of Vietnam in general, and Ben Tre Province in particular, needs to build up large-scaled production models to turn out high quality products as well as stabilise consumption markets. These are challenges of the Ben Tre agricultural sector in the time to come. Therefore, the Ben Tre agricultural sector has built up action strategies on the basis of exploiting potentialities and advantages in natural resources and human resources to continue its comprehensive agricultural production development. At the same time, Ben Tre will develop localised agricultural production based on specific conditions of regional ecology and consumption market demand. Besides, the sector has also successfully applied scientific and technological achievements to agriculture to increase productivity, quality and competitiveness of the local farm produces.
To carry out the aforementioned works, the agricultural sector of Ben Tre Province has launched solutions to desalt the water and store freshwater for agricultural production. The province set up plans for localities capable of growing high-quality varieties such as rice, sugar, fruits and cacao. It also focused on consolidating existing markets, expanding new ones, increasing cooperation between companies and farmers and speeding up trade promotion activities. In husbandry, the sector will rear lean-based cattle and poultry, abiding by all regulations on hygiene. Especially, the province will apply measures to synchronise technical supports, investment capital provision, service and market price organisations to boost up the quick and sustainable development of agriculture and rural areas of Ben Tre Province. By 2010, the average annual incomes of farmers will have increased by 50 per cent compared with the current level.
Mr Ngo Dong Dieu, Director of Ben Tre Post Office
In my opinion, only when the locality provides a satisfactory infrastructure system, especially post and telecom, will investors arrive. Knowing this, Ben Tre Post Office has, in the past years, always increased its investment in network equipment to timely satisfy the soaring service demand in the province. The Post Office has determined its significant investment in public post and telecom infrastructure because it is an integral part of industrial zones, export processing zones, urban zones, residential zones and new economic zones, etc. At present, Ben Tre Post Office has invested in post and telecom network infrastructure in industrial parks like Giao Long and An Hiep, as well as small industrial complexes in districts. Ben Tre Post is always active in providing telecom services for enterprises under any circumstances.
Mr Pham Chi Vu - Director of Ben Tre Water Supply and Drainage One-member Co. Ltd
The infrastructure, including water supply and drainage, is the top concern of all investors before making investment decisions. Therefore, our company has continually made investments to meet the water supply and drainage demand in its service coverage areas. At present, a few companies invested in Ben Tre but the water supply and drainage infrastructure is ready for new investors. The company is always ready to meet all demands of water in terms of quantity, quality and price. Investors can feel secure about water issues in Ben Tre.
Huong Thao