Southern Key Economic Zone needs special mechanisms to improve poor transport infrastructure hinh anh 1The My Phuoc - Tan Van Expressway in Binh Duong province, part of the Southern Key Economic Zone, is being widened and upgraded. (Photo:
HCM City (VNS/VNA) - While transport infrastructure in Ho Chi Minh City and provinces in the Southern Key Economic Zone has improved over the years, connectivity remains modest, hampering development, experts say.

Besides the city the zone also includes the provinces of Binh Phuoc, Tay Ninh, Binh Duong, Dong Nai, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Long An, and Tien Giang.

It needs specially tailored policies and mechanisms to attract large amounts of foreign direct investment and improve linkages within the region to ensure sustainable development, the experts say.

It attracts a lot of FDI, in fact, half the entire amount coming into the country every year.

It also accounts for 45% of the nation’s GDP, 42% of the Government’s revenues and 40% of exports.

But its technical and social infrastructure remains inadequate, and this keeps large FDI projects (of above 100 million USD) away, they say.

Chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee Phan Van Mai said the Government had outstanding special mechanisms that helped the south-eastern region and the Southern Key Economic Zone maintain their leading positions in the social and science and technology arenas and play the role of a financial and logistics centre and the country’s largest international trade hub.

But there are still challenges that restrain the region’s development and economic growth.

The experts say transport is a “severe bottleneck” in the south-east, pointing out the Southern Key Economic Zone only has 91km of highways (11% of the country’s total), Tan Son Nhat International Airport in HCM City is increasingly overloaded, and the Cai Mep-Thi Vai port terminal is currently operating well above capacity while a synchronous system of roads and railways leading to and from it is lacking.

The role of the steering committee and council of the region has not been properly fostered.

That the synchronous development of air, road, rail, and sea routes is only possible through close cooperation between the Government and local administrations is not a new idea but has to be thoroughly implemented, the experts say. At the meeting recently Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh stressed the need for a joint mechanism to manage the development of the south-eastern region and the Southern Key Economic Zone.

He pointed to the important strategic economic, political, defence, and security location of the region.

Speaking about the limitations plaguing it, he said a new development paradigm is needed with new guidelines, policies and mechanisms that meet the current requirements.

He suggested three strategic breakthrough moves covering infrastructure, especially transport, human resources and institutional and administrative reforms.

He called for continuing economic restructuring, stepping up regional connectivity, promoting science and technology and innovation, paying more attention to socio-cultural development, improving people’s material and spiritual lives, consolidating national defence and security, and focusing on the building and rectification of the Party and political system.

Experts agree that localities need to be proactive in seeking investment from a range of sources for developing intra-provincial and inter-regional transport systems given the Government’s resource constraints.

The neighbouring province of Binh Duong has, for example, sought investment from both within and outside in its infrastructure, becoming the first in the country to implement the build-operate-transfer model in transportation and achieve unexpected success.

Binh Duong plans to complete a number of key transport infrastructure projects this year and get others underway to maintain its leading position in attracting foreign investment and act as a springboard for recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic ends.

It is speeding up work to open the Bac Tan Uyen - Phu Giao - Dong Phu Road to traffic this year. The 12.15km road is set to cost over 965 billion VND (42 million USD) and will connect Phu Giao and Bac Tan Uyen districts in Binh Duong with Dong Phu district in Binh Phuoc.

Binh Duong and Dong Nai provinces started to build the Bach Dang 2 Bridge between them late last year at a cost of 980 billion VNA (42.6 million USD).

The 540m bridge over the Dong Nai River will connect Tan Uyen Town in Binh Duong with Vinh Cuu district in Dong Nai, and play an important role in the distribution of goods.

It is part of the growing transportation network in the Southern Key Economic Zone./.