Deputy PM Vu Van Ninh has told the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) to submit to the Government specific mechanisms and policies needed to turn the country's largest island, Phu Quoc, into a special economic zone.

Ninh complained about the slow development of plans to turn the island into a city in southernmost Kien Giang province and gradually set up a special administrative and economic zone.

He said that although he had told the MPI to complete the plans in December last year, it has so far submitted only a draft to the Prime Minister.

To speed up the progress, Ninh required the Steering Committee for the West Southern Region and Kien Giang province to carry out feasibility studies on developing special procedures and policies for Phu Quoc.

He added that they should see the proposal of Quang Ninh on building policies for Van Don island as a reference.

Ninh also instructed local authorities to scrutinise investors who want to invest in the area with priorities given to large-sized, high tech and environment protection projects.

The local authorities recently said that they cancelled 93 projects on Phu Quoc island, with a total area of 5,500ha. These projects were stopped because investors could not find funding to implement the projects so that the implementation was slow or did not take place at all. Some projects are no longer suitable for the development plan of Phu Quoc island.

In the whole island, the total number of valid projects is said to be more than 200. They cover a total area of 8,900ha. Of these, 81 projects were granted investment certificates covering 3,800ha, with a total capital of 88 trillion VND, (4 billion USD) but only 13 are operating.

In the Master Development Planning of Phu Quoc island approved by the Government, the island is considered important as it is located in the centre of South East Asia.