Improving investment environment to exert a pull to foreign investors is seen as a key task of the northern province of Hoa Binh. Director of the provincial Department of Planning and Investment Bui Quang Hai spoke with the Vietnam Business Forum about the realities and prospects of investment attraction in Hoa Binh.

*What are the roles of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the economic development and industrialisation and modernisation process in the province?

Since central and local budgets are now limited, attracting FDI is seen as an active measure to offset capital shortage in socio-economic development and tap local potential.

First of all, FDI enterprises create jobs for local people. Particularly, workers employed by foreign-led companies usually have good working skills, knowledge and training. This helps raise overall working levels of local human resources. In addition, foreign businesses mainly invest in industry, thus helping speeding up the process of industrialisation and modernisation and increasing industrial value in GDP.

Not only that, by cooperation with foreign firms, local companies will have the opportunity to acquire modern technologies and advanced management experience and gradually approach international markets. Modern technologies and advanced management experience help improve labour productivity, reduce production costs and improve product competitiveness.

Apparently, FDI attraction helps tap local existing potential and gives a facelift to the local economy.

*Although the province is very clearly aware of the role of FDI in economic development, how can it make selective foreign investors have a good impression of the province and make investments here in the context of growing competition from other localities? In other words, how has Hoa Binh applied its assumptions on FDI attraction?

Hoa Binh province has implemented a lot of solutions to improve the business climate to draw investment in general and foreign investment in particular. Specifically, the province has contacted and worked with foreign organisations and embassies in Vietnam and Vietnamese commercial counsellors in foreign countries to appeal foreign investors, and reviewed and supplemented socio-economic development plans, industry development plans and urbanisation development plans.

The province has spared a reasonable budget to invest, build and upgrade infrastructure systems for industrial parks; reviewed land-use planning, land reallocation, land rent and site clearance to generate ready lands for new projects; sped up public administration reform, built processes and orders for administrative procedures relating to investing; trained and fostered working skills and expertise for civil officials.

Hoa Binh has also increased meetings and information exchanges with investors, assigned relevant units and officials to work with investors to help them deal with emerging difficulties and challenges, and intensified State management over investment projects to enhance their quality.

Besides, the province has actively introduced its potential, advantages and incentives to attract investors; and informed citizens of the roles and benefits of investment projects.

*How has investment attraction been in the province over the past time? In which fields is the province calling investment capital?

As of July 2014, Hoa Binh province had 29 FDI projects with a total registered investment capital of 442 million USD, of which as much as 190 million USD was disbursed, accounting for 43 percent of the registered capital.

Foreign investors invested 22 projects worth 350 million USD into supporting industries and industrial production, accounting for 76 percent of projects and 79.3 percent of registered capital. Mining industry had two projects capitalised at 7.68 million USD. Tourism, hotel and industrial infrastructure fields had one project each and the services sector had three projects.

Foreign investors in Hoa Binh province mainly came from Japan, the Republic of Korea, India, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Slovakia, China and the United States. Japan took the lead with 10 projects, followed by the Republic of Korea with nine projects.

In general, FDI projects are quickly carried out and put into operation by investors. In the context of global and domestic economic slowdown, FDI projects maintained stable business operations, contributed to local economic development, and ensured stable employment for some 10,000 local workers.

With State policy supports for investment in supporting industries, agriculture and rural development from now to 2020, Hoa Binh province will continue to call investors into leading fields like supporting industries, high-tech agriculture and tourism development, particularly ecotourism and excursions.

Although Hoa Binh province achieved positive results in FDI attraction, it still faced a lot of difficulties in winning the hearts of foreign investors. In the coming time, the province will tap its potential and advantages of geographical location and natural resources to attract investment projects in manufacturing industries, supporting industries, construction materials production, agro-forestry processing, apparel production, extractive industries, and tourism. These projects will create local economic development breakthroughs.

*Do you have any message to investors in general and foreign investors in particular?

Hoa Binh is committed to creating the most favourable conditions for all enterprises in the province. All commitments of the province will be realised with practical and flexible activities. The success of enterprises is that of Hoa Binh province.-VNA