» » Ministry seeks to rev up FDI disbursement

Senior ministry officials in charge of foreign direct investment (FDI) will meet at a conference in HCMC this Friday to map out measures to clear hurdles impeding FDI disbursement and to address foot-dragging projects, an official told reporters yesterday.

Le Huu Quang Huy, director of the Investment Promotion Center for the Central Region under the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI), told a press briefing here that tough measures would be prescribed for idle projects to smooth out the capital flow.

The move is aimed at both boosting FDI disbursements and sorting out financially incapable investors, thus creating investment opportunities for others, including from within the country, Huy said.

"It is high time to take stronger measures against foreign-invested projects that have long been delayed or have been moving at a snail's pace," he said.

Vietnam attracted US$57.12 billion worth of committed FDI over the past nine months, a five-fold increase year on year, but only US$8.1 billion has been actualized in the year to date. This, however, shows an increase of 37.3% over the same period last year, the ministry's Foreign Investment Agency (FIA) said.

Slow land clearance, cumbersome administrative procedures, inadequate infrastructure, and high investment costs have been identified as the main challenges impeding foreign investors' disbursement in some provinces, Huy said.

Economists have noted that the licensing of many billion-dollar projects has posed huge challenges for local authorities, especially in site clearance, provision of labor, and infrastructure development. In fact, the slow progress on many projects has been blamed on foot-dragging site clearance, he said.

The Foreign Investment Agency recently has formed three working groups to assist provincial authorities in clearing hurdles for foreign-invested projects in a bid to prop up disbursements.

Huy said the working groups were being dispatched to provinces to look into the implementation of FDI projects, especially those big projects. They will work with provincial departments of planning and investment, and authorities of industrial parks and hi-tech parks in the three regions to map out measures to help investors smooth out operation.

Huy told reporters the establishment of the working groups was a major solution to rev up FDI disbursement, especially at a time when many billion-dollar projects are being licensed into the country.

In fact, in the past time, provincial authorities have taken stronger measures against slow-moving foreign-invested projects.

The coming conference is expected to attract some 250 participants from the ministry, the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, provincial departments of planning and investment, associations and enterprises.

The conference held by the ministry is also aimed to improve coordination in investment promotion among ministries, agencies and local authorities. At the conference, participants will also look into the bottlenecks in investment promotion in the past times. In the last three years, Vietnam attracted more than US$90.47 billion of FDI, accounting for 58% of total pledged FDI in the past 20 years.

In the first nine months, the central and southern regions attracted US$43 billion out of the total US$57.12 billion worth of 885 new projects licensed in the country.

Source: Saigon Times

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