The plan on sea economic zones has been made public by the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) which needed two years and much heart calculation to draw up the plan.
Economic zones given grades
The Economic Zone Management Department under MPI has been instructed to rank sea economic zones, which the government would refer to in making the decision on what economic zones to develop.
Vu Dai Thang, Director of the department, said that this is really a difficult job to put economic zones in order of priority, because all provincial leaders believe that economic zones should be set up in their localities.
Five criteria have been put forward, serving as the basis for the ministry to choose the economic zones to develop among the ones suggested by localities.
The five criteria include seaport, airport, key projects in economic zones, the activities to attract investment and the role of economic zones in the development of the regional economies.
The suggested economic zones have been given marks based on the five criteria. And the five most important zones have been found has having the highest total marks, namely Chu Lai – Dung Quat in Quang Nam – Da Nang, Dinh Vu – Cat Hai in Hai Phong City, Phu Quoc and An Thoi group of islands in Kien Giang province, Nghi Son in Thanh Hoa and Vung Ang in Ha Tinh provinces.
The comment by Thang that giving marks to economic zones is a hard job has been proved: the list of the five “golden economic zones” to be prioritized to develop in 2013-2015 has raised controversy right after it was made public.
The representatives from local authorities have been making every effort and citing all possible materials and figures to prove that they can satisfy the conditions to be listed in the top 5.
A senior official from Nghe An province said that the suggested Dong Nam sea economic zone is located on a strategic important position, which is close to Vinh City, Cua Lo, next to deep water seaport and just 8 kilometers far from the airport.
“The economic zone deserves to be ranked in the top five. In the worst scenario, it should be ranked the 5th or 7th. Meanwhile, the zone just ranks the 10th in the MPI’s list,” he said.
Man Ngoc Ly, Head of the Economic Zone Board of Management in Binh Dinh province, also said that it was unreasonable to give low marks to the Nhon Hoi economic zone in the locality.
The official believes that MPI has prioritized the development of heavy industries, while it has not paid appropriate attention to tourism potentials. Meanwhile, Binh Dinh province can only gather strength on developing tourism.
Meanwhile, an official from Tra Vinh province said MPI has “favored” the economic zones in the northern and central regions. The representative from Quang Ninh province has affirmed that Van Don economic zone has all favorable conditions to become a strategic tourism investment point with the global stature, especially when it is associated with the famous landscape Ha Long Bay.
Common rules of the games to be set up
While local authorities and officials still keep busy arguing about what economic zones should be prioritized to develop, Tran Dinh Thien, Head of the Economics Institute, has driven people’s attention to another problem.
“What will be the way out for the remaining economic zones which have not been chosen for the top five?” he questioned, adding that it would be impossible to eliminate all the other ineffective zones.
Also according to Thien, common rules of the games should be set up which must be followed by all gamers.
“Should we give the autonomy to local authorities so as they can create reasonable policies to attract investment?” he said.