Streamlined, Can Tho IZs rise in 2016

This year, the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho saw a phenomenal growth in attracting investment capital to its industrial zones, with their committed investment volume skyrocketing to quadruple annual projections. Vo Thanh Hung, head of the Can Tho Export Processing and Industrial Zones Management Authority (CEPIZA) talked to VIR’s Truc Giang about this outstanding performance.

Vo Thanh Hung, head of the Can Tho Export Processing and Industrial Zones Management Authority (CEPIZA)

This year, the city authorities have committed to accelerating investment and boosting competitiveness to deepen international integration. Has the move positively impacted Can Tho’s efforts to attract investment to its industrial zones (IZs)?

This year has been an outright bonanza for the city’s IZs as the actual committed investment volume has set a seven-year record.

Through the end of November, Can Tho IZs lured seven new investment projects, while seven existing projects requested expansion. City-based IZs are expected to woo more than $200 million in the total investment capital this year alone, nearly four times the annual target.

Next year, several large-scale projects (including one on logistics) are expected to continue this winning streak. Our relevant management agencies are making the necessary procedures to grant investment certificates to the projects.

Through CEPIZA’s business-friendly tactics and infrastructural development, Can Tho IZs have seen a sharp increase in investment capital
Through CEPIZA’s business-friendly tactics and infrastructural development, Can Tho IZs have seen a sharp increase in investment capital

What factors stand behind this breakthrough?

Can Tho’s investment climate has improved markedly in recent years. The local infrastructure system, particularly transport infrastructure, has seen noticeable upgrades, with roads cutting through the city significantly widened.

The bottleneck in direct import-export of goods between Can Tho and other regional cities and provinces will be tackled after the channels for large ships to access Hau River ports are opened.

In the city, Tan Cang Sai Gon Corporation officially inaugurated the first phase of Tan Cang-Cai Cui Terminal (Cai Rang district) in early December, covering over seven of the planned 12 hectares, making it accessible to 20,000 deadweight tonnage (DWT) ships. Kitted out with modern equipment, the port can handle 40 containers per hour and provide a wide range of associated port and logistics services.

In late October, the first container batch moored at Tan Cang-Cai Cui Terminal. It was also the first commercial ship to inaugurate the new terminal.

In addition, the city authorities have been stepping up support to businesses by simplifying procedures. For instance, South Korean firm Taekwang Limited’s $171 million, 62-hectare project received valuable assistance from a special workgroup led by Deputy Chairman of the Can Tho People’s Committee Dao Anh Dung and received cleared space after just 70 days.

On the part of CEPIZA, we have made strenuous efforts to quicken administrative reforms to help firms save time and cost.

Could you elaborate on the measures CEPIZA has taken to propel administrative reforms?

Our staff members are now handling administrative procedures following the approved ISO 9001:2008 system. The ‘work profile’ and ‘one-stop shop’ software items have been deployed across all CEPIZA departments. In addition, each functional department has been regularly revising procedures under their competency, making amendments in a timely manner to help unclog the backup of projects.

In 2016, CEPIZA’s administrative department received a total of 244 files covering 32 administrative procedures, of which 234 files were returned prior to their set deadline, reaching 97 per cent, and the remainder were given back on time.

Administrative reforms and the application of the one-stop shop mechanism have generated impressive results and satisfied businesses’ and investors’ needs.

Investment into city-based IZs has been extremely encouraging. How did CEPIZA prepare to meet investors’ demand for cleared space?

The availability of cleared space was top of the agenda for the city’s leadership. Can Tho was approved by the prime minister to establish eight IZs. Of them, 135ha Tra Noc 1 and 157ha Tra Noc 2 have basically filled up the land for industrial production. As for the others, Can Tho City Investment Development Fund plans to host a ground-breaking ceremony early this month for 110ha belonging to Bloc A of Hung Phu 1 IZ.

The investment pace in building technical infrastructure at the 152ha Bloc B at Hung Phu 1 IZ and at BMC-Hung Phu 2A IZ was reported to be slow because of difficulties in site clearance. This has hindered the city’s efforts in attracting investors.

The Can Tho People’s Committee and CEPIZA, therefore, have urged IZ developers to quicken compensation to be able to expedite cleared space for investors.

The city’s management authorities have committed to revoking projects from financially feeble investors and handing them over to more viable competitors.

Notably, in anticipation of development opportunities after the construction of Vam Cong Bridge is finished next year, the city has focussed on building Thot Not IZ and assigned it the flagship role in its investment attraction strategy in 2017 and the following years.

Vam Cong Bridge crosses the Hau River and connects Dong Thap province and Can Tho through Thot Not IZ. Thot Not IZ enjoys favourable conditions as it is located about 50 kilometres from Can Tho city centre and 9km from An Giang province’s Long Xuyen city. In addition, the IZ is at a crossroads between the Mekong Delta’s provinces off An Giang and Kien Giang. This location is ideal for the IZ to establish itself as a major transit station for regional commodities trading. In addition, the IZ also lies in the centre of plentiful areas for the agricultural and seafood processing industries.

With such strong advantages, CEPIZA commits to fulfilling all necessary procedures to commence Thot Not IZ’s construction in the second quarter next year. The Thot Not IZ Infrastructure Construction Centre is currently in the stage of legal setup, awaiting authorisation to act as the 200ha Thot Not II IZ’s infrastructure developer.

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