Tra fish havesting in Can Tho. Illustrative image (Source: VNA)

Can Tho (VNA) – Mekong Delta localities collected more than 243.2 trillion VND (10.46 billion USD) for the budget in 2016-2018, and made up 18 percent of the country’s GDP, according to an official from the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI).

In the period, the region’s average gross regional domestic product (GRDP) growth reached 7.5 percent, while per capita income in 2018 is estimated at 2,217 USD, said Nguyen Tuan of the MPI’s Local and Territorial Economy Department at a recent conference in Can Tho city.

Tuan said that in 2016-2018, the region earned 45.8 billion USD from exports, achieving 47.6 percent of its target for 2016-2020 at 96.3 billion USD.

He said the Mekong Delta has experienced good economic growth and positively transformed its economic structure.

The region is the country’s top group in terms of the provincial competitiveness index (PCI), thanks to its improved investment environment and reformed administrative procedures, he said.

The Mekong Delta comprises Can Tho city and 12 provinces – Long An, Dong Thap, Tien Giang, Vinh Long, Tra Vinh, Ben Tre, An Giang, Hau Giang, Soc Trang, Bac Lieu, Ca Mau and Kien Giang.

Known as the country’s rice bowl, the region has seen low foreign investment, ranking only fourth out of six major economic regions in foreign direct investment attraction, reflecting inefficientsupport policies for enterprises, noted Tuan. He added that only 58 percent of labourersin the region are trained, lower than other regions.

Under the public investment plan for 2016-2020, the Mekong Delta was allocated 184 trillion VND (7.91 billion USD). So far, the region has received 57 percent of the funds, or 105 trillion VND (4.51 billion USD).

In 2019, total capital demand of 19 localities in the Mekong Delta and Southeast Region is estimated at more than 136.5 trillion VND (5.86 billion USD), up 11.4 percent compared to 2018 and equivalent to 69 percent of the capital planned for 2019-2020.

A report by the MPI showed that demand accounts for nearly 32 percent of the total planned investment of the country in 2019.-VNA