Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh has asked localities in the Mekong Delta region to diversify ways to call for and promote investment with the highest determination in order to attract more investment to the region which is labelled the country’s granary.

Deputy PM Ninh, who is also head of the Steering Committee for the Southwestern region, made the statement when chairing the investment promotion conference within the 2013 Mekong Delta Economic Cooperation Forum (MDEC 2013) that opened in Vinh Long province on November 25.

He affirmed that the region holds great potential in agricultural and aquatic production and its maritime economy and has contributed sizeably to the country’s socio-economic development, defence and security.

As of September, the region had 802 valid projects with a total registered capital of 11 billion USD. It also enjoys an average annual GDP growth rate of nearly 12 percent, and a 2.5-fold increase in income per capita against 10 years ago.

The regional cities and provinces were recommended to prioritise developing infrastructure, support and processing industries, and biotechnology to increase the value of agricultural products, as well as attracting investment in tourism, services and human resources training.

He stated that to help the region and Vietnam as a whole become a trusted destination for investors, the Vietnamese Government has paid attention to improving the investment climate, reforming administrative procedures, strengthening dialogues and upgrading infrastructure to facilitate and ensure the legal rights of businesses.

The Government official also suggested the ministries, departments and localities listen to investors’ opinions and proposals so as to facilitate their long-term business in the region and Vietnam .

During the conference, the regional localities granted 126 investment licences to projects worth 7.453 trillion VND (350 million USD).

The State Bank of Vietnam also held a signing ceremony for credit contracts between several commercial banks with the Steering Committee and investors.

The Mekong Delta region comprises of 12 provinces: An Giang, Bac Lieu, Ben Tre, Ca Mau, Dong Thap, Hau Giang, Kien Giang, Long An, Soc Trang, Tien Giang, Tra Vinh and Vinh Long, and one city - Can Tho, with a total area of 40,000 square kilometres and a population of 18 million.-VNA