Ho Chi Minh City in the zone

January 12, 2012 | 17:00
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Ho Chi Minh City industrial zones are crafting ways to weather the economic storm and push performances in 2012.

Besides the $1 billion solar battery project of US-based First Solar Group, just $232 million worth in foreign direct investment was injected into Ho Chi Minh City export processing zones (EPZs) and industrial zones (IZs) in 2011, sliding 4.56 per cent on-year, according to Ho Chi Minh City EPZ and IZ Authority (Hepza) deputy head Lam Van Tiep.

This, parallel to a bunch of other factors like a grey uncertain economy, declining stock and real estate markets against still high lending rates and inflationary pressures, made Hepza have modest targets of attracting $500 million investment capital in 2012 with $200 million foreign direct investment (FDI) and $300 million domestic direct investment capital (DDI).

“Besides, in 2012 Hepza will seek potential and experienced Japanese partners to work on a plan of setting up a specialised IZ dedicated to supporting industries development with priority rendered to Japanese investors,” Tiep said.

In fact, there remains 544.7 hectares and a 18,360 square metre standard workspace awaiting investors at Tan Phu Trung, second-phase Hiep Phuoc and Dong Nam IZs and two hi-tech business incubators at Tan Thuan EPZ, said Tiep.

Hiep Phuoc IZ general director Doan Hong Tam assumed 2012’s first half would continue to be a gloomy period for global and Vietnam economy badly affecting investor decisions.

Tam said this year Hiep Phuoc IZ prioritised luring investors into precise engineering, information technology, chemical and pharmaceutical, food processing and production of building materials for interior decoration, in the meantime targeting investors from Japan, South Korea, Europe and the US.

“We have proposed city authorities and the Ministry of Finance a stable land rental scheme to investors in this second phase since current rental is 66 times more than that in the first phase and double compared to that in IZs based in southern Binh Duong province,” said Tam.

In respect to the IZ’s strategy to weather the storm in 2012 Tam said the IZ would focus on upgrading transport infrastructure, improving waste-water treatment, around the clock power supply and increasing workers’ accommodation areas and putting into place a one-stop-shop mechanism in procedures settlement.

General director Duong Trong Khiem at Saigon Tay Bac Joint Stock Company - the developer of Tan Phu Trung IZ, said the IZ set aside 200ha for luring investors into hi-tech, eco friendly and supporting industries.

To reduce current high pollution caused by textile dyeing and processing establishments in IZ surrounding areas IZ management reportedly asked city authorities to remove polluters to other locations.

Linh Trung EPZ director Nguyen Van Be assumed state management agencies needed to mull bettering living conditions and skills of IZ workers since labour force is Vietnam’s leading comparative advantage compared to other regional countries.

Be said hiking minimum salary for workers based on consumer price index pace was important to contain stoppages and ensure stable labour sources.  

By Quang Duy


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