Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) has set a foreign direct investment (FDI) target of $5.4 billion this year and will focus on improving infrastructure and streamlining administrative procedures to achieve it, a city investment official said.
Department of Planning and Investment director Le Thi Huynh Mai said the Vietnamese city also has other targets such as incorporating more than 40,000 new businesses and rising in the provincial competitiveness index (PCI).
Officials and public employees will handle documents electronically, and exchanges between various administrative agencies would also be electronically handled, she said.
People’s Committee chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong said: “Improving the investment climate is an imperative.”
Saying “administrative reform” is too “general” a description, he said, “it must be more specific, such as how long it will take to respond to enterprises”.
He instructed the department to seek ways to attract foreign investment into industrial parks and export processing zones.
He said priority should be given to hi-tech investors already present in the city, especially those with industry 4.0 technologies and supporting industries with high added-value.
The government has allowed the city to convert 30,000ha of agricultural land for use for other economic activities, but only less than 1,000ha would be used for industry, he said.
“The city has not built any new industrial parks in the past five years, and so fails to attract global investors,” Phong said.
He said the department should have specific solutions to shift the city’s economy towards high technology and away from labour-intensive industries.
Many investors have complained that traffic infrastructure and administrative procedures have not improved much over the years.
To resolve the issues, the city is speeding up work on a range of infrastructure projects such as the metro line No 1 and Thu Thiem Bridge No 2.
It is focusing on streamlining procedures for licensing, utilising information technology to reduce the time it takes for the procedures and expanding online public services.
According to the HCMC Statistics Office, there were only three FDI projects with a total registered capital of $115 million in the first two months of this year.
Last year it had attracted only $4.36 billion, half the 2019 figure.
Singapore remained the largest investor with more than $1.1 billion, followed by South Korea, Japan, the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, the Netherlands and the US.
According to the department, a total of 42,000 businesses were incorporated last year, down 5.2 per cent over 2019.
Some 13,800 businesses suspended operations, a 40 per cent increase, while nearly 6,000 completed dissolution procedures, according to the department.
VIET NAM NEWS/ASIA NEWS NETWORK