New motivation from Hoa Lu border-gate economic zone

SGGP
Hoa Lu border-gate economic zone with an area of more than 28,364 hectares in Loc Ninh border district, neighboring Cambodia is a new driving force for the development of a dynamic economic region of Binh Phuoc Province. Along with the investment in the completion of the transport infrastructure and the trans-Asia railway, it is expected to attract investors to implement projects, contributing to promoting the socio-economic development of a border province in the coming time.

The expansion of the National Route 13, the section from Loc Ninh Town to Hoa Lu Border Gate. (Photo: SGGP)

The expansion of the National Route 13, the section from Loc Ninh Town to Hoa Lu Border Gate. (Photo: SGGP)

With the policy of building Hoa Lu border-gate economic zone to become an investment attraction area, from mid-2019, the People's Committee of Binh Phuoc Province has focused on completing traffic infrastructure that connects Hoa Lu border-gate economic zone with Cambodia and other key economic areas in the Southeast region and Ho Chi Minh City. Hoa Lu inland container depot (ICD), with an area of 25 hectares and a capacity of 600,000 - 900,000 containers per year, is the place to gather goods imported by containers from Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand to Vietnam and exported from Vietnam to other countries. By September this year, the People's Committee of Binh Phuoc Province had continued to upgrade and expand the National Route 13 - the section from Loc Tan intersection in Loc Ninh District to Hoa Lu international border gate, which is 12.5 kilometers long - with an investment capital of VND450 billion to meet the need for better trade connections with Cambodia and surrounding areas. It has woken up the potentials of the Hoa Lu border-gate economic zone.

Up to now, Hoa Lu border-gate economic zone has attracted 83 investors to implement projects, with a total area of about 1,719 hectares. Of which, 38 enterprises are in operation. Of these, three investors have been allocated land for investment and business in industrial zone infrastructure with 1,129 hectares and eight secondary investors with about 590 hectares. Only in 2020, the Management Board of the Economic Zone has granted investment certificates to 26 secondary projects, including four foreign projects with investment capital of US$6.66 million and 22 domestic projects with investment capital of VND995.77 billion. Noticeably, the Management Board of the Economic Zone approved for Le Dai Nam International Joint Stock Company to lease 223.26 hectares and granted a license for the investment in Ledana Industrial Park with total capital of up to VND1.2 trillion. It also granted investment policies for ten projects with an investment of VND340 billion. To create conditions for investors to implement projects, from the beginning of this year, the Management Board also submitted to the provincial People's Committee for approval of policy for 17 investors to lease land with 40 hectares. So far, eight investors have been permitted to lease land, and the rest are under consideration.

The Covid-19 pandemic has directly affected the production, business, and investment activities of enterprises in Hoa Lu border-gate economic zone, especially foreign-invested enterprises because orders were greatly reduced, and sources supply of raw materials and components that must be imported from China and other countries were broken. After being temporarily halted, import and export activities have gradually stabilized. By the beginning of December this year, export turnover through Hoa Lu Border Gate reached $48.15 million, an increase of 60.2 percent compared to that in the same period last year. In the first 11 months, import turnover through the border gate reached $147.58 million, up 1,368.42 percent over the same period. Thanks to that, Hoa Lu border-gate economic zone contributed to the provincial budget VND556.58 billion, an increase of 2,117.43 percent compared to the same period last year, helping the budget revenue of the province to continue to grow steadily.

Despite being leased land by the People's Committee of Binh Phuoc Province, the stage of site clearance at Hoa Lu border-gate economic zone is the biggest problem due to complicated procedures and lack of cooperation by people. Noticeably, three large projects, namely Ledana Industrial Park with an area of 425 hectares, Hoa Lu Industrial Park with 404 hectares, and Vcom Industrial Park with 300 hectares, are still in the process of site clearance, and preparation of environmental impact assessment. At the same time, out of 80 secondary investors implementing projects, up to 29 investors have not finished the site clearance stage with 364 hectares, affecting the investment progress. The second obstacle that enterprises have been facing is the time-consuming procedure for changing the land use purpose for investors. The expansion and establishment of new industrial parks still encounter many regulations, a lack of flexibility, and problems about environmental pollution and waste treatment. Administrative violations in the border-gate economic zone still occur. In 2020, authorities have made reports of 30 cases of illegal excavation and construction of houses on land in the land-use planning.

According to the Head of Management Board of the Economic Zone Nguyen Minh Chien, to make Hoa Lu border-gate economic zone become an international economic zone, the Management Board will continue to coordinate with the Compensation Council of Loc Ninh District to speed up the site clearance progress for projects that have been allocated land. In which, it will focus on compensation for site clearance in three industrial zones, comprising Ledana, Hoa Lu, and Vcom, and urge infrastructure enterprises and secondary enterprises in Hoa Lu border-gate economic zone to implement projects according to regulations. It will also review behind-schedule projects and resolutely advise on withdrawing projects that are not capable of implementation. The Management Board of the Economic Zone will make a report to advise the People's Committee of Binh Phuoc Province to submit to the Prime Minister to approve the adjustment of the general planning of Hoa Lu border-gate economic zone and propose to remove Loc Ninh Town from the planning.

By Hoang Bac – Translated by Kim Khanh

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