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The Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) is building up a list of key projects to call for foreign direct investment (FDI) in the new period of 2011-2015. However, government agencies, local authorities and experts still argue about the way of approaching the issue.
The Foreign Investment Agency of MPI has asked the people’s committees of the two biggest cities of Hanoi and HCM City to send the lists of 10-15 priority FDI projects in the localities and the projects’ information to the agency prior to April 27, 2012.
The agency would consider the lists of suggested projects before building up a list of national projects to call for FDI for the 2011-2015 period.
However, to date, the agency has only received the report from HCM City, while Hanoi’s agencies are still weighing things before submitting the list of projects to the people’s committee for approval
According to Nguyen Van Tu, Deputy Director of the Hanoi Planning and Investment Department, the list would only get ready by June 2012. However, he said, Hanoi would suggest five projects only, not 10-15 projects as requested by MPI.
“I think that the list should not comprise of too many projects, but the projects which would have big impacts on the national socio-economic situation and high feasibility,” Tu said, explaining that the projects suggested by Hanoi would not only serve the benefits of Hanoi only, but the national interests.
“The strategies on the development of every industry should be the top priority criterion, while the local strategy should be the No. 2,” he added.
Analysts have agreed with Tu, stressing that the national FDI attraction strategy in the new period of 2011-2015 should be approached in a new way, and that it would be better to focus on some main industries when calling for foreign investment.
In fact, MPI has been following the principle of renovating the FDI attraction strategy already. Therefore, the ministry has requested ministries and branches, not local authorities, to suggest their projects. Hanoi and HCM City are the two exception cases.
The industries to be chosen would be the ones that play important roles in the national development, such as infrastructure development, waste treatment in urban areas, energy, petrochemical and chemicals, healthcare, education, and the industries to develop based on the national competitive edges, such as manufacturing (electronics, mechanical engineering).
It is expected that some 50 projects would be chosen for the list. These must be the projects with the investment capital of more than 20 million dollars, the projects which use modern technologies and investors commit to transfer technologies and brands. These would be the projects to have big socio-economic impacts and high economic feasibility.
The list was scheduled to be submitted to the government in May 2012. However, to date, no list has been completed. Observers have said that ministries and branches still keep puzzled about that. The Ministry of Transport still wants to use ODA (official development assistance) capital to develop infrastructure, while the Ministry of Education has not shown necessary projects.
Meanwhile, Dr Nguyen Mai, former Deputy Chair of the State Committee for Cooperation and Investment, thinks that no need to build up a list of projects with detailed information about the investment capital. He said it’s just necessary to show the business fields Vietnam calls for investment.
For example, Vietnam should encourage the projects on urban transport in Hanoi and HCM City. It should also stipulate concrete the investment incentives and policies very clearly.
“The only thing we need to do is to drive investment into the sectors we need. While the investors would decide the projects themselves,” Mai said.