|Lam Hoang Nghiep, Deputy Chairman of Soc Trang People’s Committee |
Soc Trang has recently captured particular attention from both domestic and foreign investors. What are the distinct factors that give the province such appeal?
Soc Trang has the full advantages of a locality lying in Vietnam’s major agricultural production area, with rice output exceeding two million tonnes a year, in which speciality rice and high-grade rice varieties account for more than 74 per cent.
Soc Trang is also strong in aquaculture and seafood export processing, with a total seafood production output approximating 340,000 tonnes. In 2021, the total export value of rice and seafood alone touched $1.243 billion, equalling 97 per cent of the province’s total export value.
Lying in the Mekong Delta lower section, contiguous to the East Sea, the distinct advantage of Soc Trang is its enormous potential for the development of the marine economy, particularly renewable energy, logistics, and sea tourism.
With a long and wide coastline, mild climate, huge and strong wind velocity, sunshine averaging 2,500 hours a year, and solar energy radiation hovering at 4.8-5kWh/sq.m/day, the province has great potential for renewable energy development, including wind, solar, biomass energy, among others.
As for tourism, Soc Trang is home to stunning beaches like Ho Be and Mo O, coupled with rows of orchards spanning 60km along the Hau River, and particularly unique cultural interference of Kinh, Chinese, and Khmer ethnic minorities.
The province is the kingdom of festivities, pagodas, and temples with unique architectures. These factors provide an ideal for attracting investors to promote tourism in various categories such as eco-tourism, sea tourism, cultural and spiritual tourism, community-based tourism, and leisure tourism, and so on.
In addition, the province’s 72km-long coastline with the presence of three estuaries in which Dinh An and Tran De are two important gateways to the sea means Soc Trang has distinct advantages for the development of a seaport system with associated logistics services.
Notably, Tran De Seaport has been added by the prime minister to Vietnam’s seaport development master planning for the 2021-2030 period and oriented towards becoming a seaport of special significance.
Soc Trang has teamed up with the Ministry of Transport to simultaneously draw up detailed planning schemes for the land and water surface areas of Soc Trang’s seaports this decade, and integrated them into the national detailed planning schemes for seaport, harbour, land, and water surface areas during the same time.
This serves as a basis to call for investment into projects’ implementation, and many domestic and foreign investors are now seeking approval for project deployment.
What is the province’s strategy for investment attraction over the next three years or so?
To materialise the targets for socioeconomic development until 2025 in light of the resolution of Soc Trang Party Committee, the province has set forth an orientation on investment attraction for the 2022-2025 period based on four economic corridors and five priority fields.
The four economic corridors are a coastal economic corridor focusing on the development of marine economy and tourism services, connected to other localities through the Tra Vinh-Soc Trang-Bac Lieu coastal ring road; the North-South economic corridor focusing on industrial, services, and urban development; the East-West economic corridor focusing on agricultural and processing industry; and the central economic corridor focusing on the development of high-quality services and urban development connected to Soc Trang city and major locations in the province like Tran De district and Vinh Chau town. The five priority fields for investment attraction are seaport logistics, urban infrastructure, high-tech agriculture, tourism, and renewable energy.
What more information can be gleaned from the strategy regarding those priority fields?
The province will focus on developing logistics services for the industrial sector in order to serve marine development. The province targets to take advantage of the deepwater ports and the province’s coastline, and one of the key advantages is the Soc Trang seaport project, which is considered an international gateway.
The development of Soc Trang’s seaports in collaboration with Dai Ngai Bridge, the coastal roads connecting Tra Vinh and Bac Lieu provinces, and Chau Doc - Can Tho - Soc Trang Expressway will create a smooth transport system for the Mekong Delta region, becoming a motivation for the region’s economic growth.
As for urban-industrial infrastructure, the province will diversify investment methods in order to modernise technical infrastructure facilities at three industrial zones and nine industrial clusters.
Besides that, the province encourages investment capital inflow into smart and green urban areas, projects adapting to climate change, and at the same time gradually urbanising Tran De and Long Phu districts to develop synchronised infrastructure facilities.
Regarding high-tech agriculture, Soc Trang continues to effectively exploit and strengthen the province’s coastal area, fostering the aquacultural breeding sector in the direction of industrialisation, which means increasing technology in collaboration with processing and export.
The province prioritises attracting investment projects in terms of high-tech agriculture, organic agriculture, and agricultural production attached with processing and supply chain development in order to improve the quality and value of the province’s agro products.
In order to make the tourism sector take off, the province will pay attention to exploiting its strength in terms of spiritual and eco-tourism sectors. The province will focus on mobilising investment capital in terms of service, resorts, and entertainment projects. In addition, thanks to the advantage of natural and geographical conditions, the province will increase investment attraction into floating markets via cultural tours in the river, and eco-tourism with fruit garden tours in the islets along the Hau River.
As for renewable energy, once the Power Development Plan VIII is approved, the province will focus on attracting investors to offshore wind farms in Cu Lao Dung district and Vinh Chau town with a total capacity of 5,100MW.
The April 28 investment promotion conference is themed on cooperation and development. How can the province best support investors while keeping that in mind?
In order to realise the province’s direction in economic growth and investment attraction, the province commits to implementing four accompanying guidelines.
Firstly, the province will accompany the investors in field surveys which are both suitable for the province’s growth planning and meet the investors’ trading and investment demand.
Secondly, it will create favourable conditions for them during the process of completing administrative procedures for getting licensed, including the procedures under the competency of the government, ministries, and central agencies.
In addition, the province will be accompanying investors during construction, by strongly commitment to build basic infrastructure, transportation, power, water, and telecommunication services system to the fence of projects.
Finally, it is willing to support investors in dealing with any problems that arise during the investment and commercial operation process. With such clear and specific development directions together with strong commitment, the province expects to welcome more and more investors for cooperation and development.