Ho Chi Minh City has approved an adjustment of master plans by the HCM City EPZ Authority (HEPZA) that will make its industrial parks (IPs) and Export Processing Zones (EPZs) more attractive to investors.

Under the plan, the Phong Phu IP would be developed into a hi-tech complex housing environmentally safe factories, while four other industrial complexes, Saigon Agriculture Corp (89ha), Da Phuoc (90ha); Bau Tran (95ha); and Pham Van Coi (75ha), will be turned into IPs.

In the final months of 2013, HEPZA will help companies gain access to sources of capital and to expand markets for their products, which will help create more jobs.

According to HEPZA figures, as of late September 3, the southern economic hub's IPs and EPZs employed about 270,000 people.

In the first nine months of the year, investment flows into enterprises in Ho Chi Minh City IPs and EPZs amounted to 480 million USD, accounting for 96 percent of the year's target and up by 48.22 percent compared with the same period last year.

These investments include foreign direct investment (FDI) of 341 million USD, with an additional investment of 95 million USD into Nidec Tosok's project and a capital expansion of 129 million USD for the Saigon Precision project.

As of September 30, the city's IPs and EPZs contain 1,263 investment projects with total capital of $7.5 billion, including 502 FDI projects capitalised at 4.526 billion USD and 761 domestically-invested projects with total investment of 44.3 trillion VND (2.95 billion USD).

Due to the economic crisis, 99 of these 1,253 investment projects in IPs and EPZs this year have suspended operations and 24 were dissolved.

Thirty-five others, mainly those specialising in textiles and garments, construction materials, interior decor and electrical equipment, cut back on production by 20 to 30 percent.

According to HEPZA, the biggest problem facing companies is not capital but consumption.

There has been no sign of a recovery or increase in number of orders for IP and EPZ enterprises in the southern hub, even though the State Bank of Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City branch has helped 28 IP enterprises get loans of a total of 960 billion VND at lower interest rates.

In the first nine months of 2013, these enterprises attained export turnover of 3.4 billion USD, up by only 6.2 percent compared with the same period last year.

A HEPZA representative said it would enhance its efforts to attract investment into IPs and EPZs, with a focus on attracting Japanese investment into hi-tech industries.-VNA