Regarding domestic investment activities, according to the Director of the Department of Planning and Investment Le Thi Huynh Mai, the total disbursed public investment capital exceeded VND35.1 trillion, accounting for 83.6 percent of the total capital plan of more than VND41.98 trillion assigned by the city. Of which, 22 projects were implemented under the form of public-private partnership (PPP), with a total investment of VND64 billion; 166 PPP projects had total capital of VND323 billion; 14 projects participating in the stimulus program were approved by the municipal People's Committee, with a total capital of more than VND1.73 trillion. Besides, the city is implementing nine ODA projects with a total investment of more than VND122.5 trillion (around VND15.5 trillion has been allocated, and the reciprocal capital is VND897.5 trillion), and 14 foreign non-governmental aid projects.
Noticeably, last year, the amount of foreign investment capital invested in the city reached US$4.36 billion. Although this figure decreased by 47.5 percent compared to the same period, it reached the highest level compared to other provinces and cities nationwide. Thus, HCMC currently has nearly 10,000 valid foreign investment projects, with a total investment of $48.2 billion.
Director of the Department of Planning and Investment Le Thi Huynh Mai determined that the 2021 work program is to focus on improving the investment environment, business environment, and enhancing competitiveness to attract investment and effectively use capital sources.
Specifically, eight groups of targets need to achieve, including foreign investment capital attraction of above $5.4 billion, more than 40,000 newly-established enterprises, the Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) in the top five of the country, and the satisfaction rate of people at above 91 percent. Moreover, all complaints and petitions of people must be handled and resolved; 98 percent of papers must be handled on time and the results must be publicized; 100 percent of texts, documents, and work exchanges between administrative agencies are electronically handled; 100 percent of officers, civil, and public servants use electronic systems at work.
According to the Director of the Department of Planning and Investment, over the past time, the coordination regulation among departments has not been highly effective. So, first of all, it is necessary to have good coordination internally, among departments of each unit, thereby being able to do well in coordination among departments and agencies. The Director of the HCMC Department of Finance Pham Thi Hong Ha also said that improving the investment environment must have interconnection and improvement to shorten the process and time.
Meanwhile, the Director of the HCMC Department of Science and Technology Nguyen Viet Dung proposed to convert the growth model to an innovation-driven one. Accordingly, the support method also needs to change, focusing on supporting consumption for enterprises. The leader of the Department of Foreign Affairs also said that it is necessary to renew the promotion method in the context of difficult travel due to the pandemic through online meetings to promote and call for investment. Legally, according to the representative of the Department of Justice, it is necessary to issue investor screening criteria to avoid potential risks of international disputes.
Creating favorable conditions for investors
Speaking at the conference, Chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong of the HCMC People's Committee highly appreciated the efforts of the Department of Planning and Investment.
“Despite the difficult situation, the department still fulfilled 36 out of 40 targets. Many projects encountered obstacles, but the department has actively contacted ministries, industries, and the Central Government to remove them, following the standpoint of the city that if the projects of enterprises face difficulties, authorities should remove them together with enterprises. Although when carrying out projects, enterprises did not ensure compliance with regulations and legal processes, the city still helps them to remove difficulties, instead of pushing them to a deadlock. The throughout standpoint is that city leaders always accompany enterprises,” he affirmed.
Mr. Nguyen Thanh Phong said that the year 2021 is the year of building an urban administration and improving the investment environment, so it is essential to create a really open investment environment, solving problems in administrative procedures to attract investment effectively and promote high economic growth. It is necessary to focus on solutions to promote domestic investment resources and at the same time strengthen foreign investment attraction.
He agreed with the eight targets that the Department of Planning and Investment raised but suggested adding the task of digital transformation plan of the planning and investment sector to build the city into a smart city.
For the goal to improve the investment environment in 2021, Mr. Phong requires the improvement of the PCI must be specific and close. As for administrative reform, it is necessary to have a clear process and deadline.
“The Department of Planning and Investment must hold seminars to find solutions to improve the investment environment, the coordination among units to create favorable conditions for investors, review the investment portfolio, find out the difficulties and problems of each pending project to advise the municipal People's Committee to remove them. At the same time, it must advise the city to build large corporations in each field to enhance the competitiveness of the city,” Mr. Phong emphasized.
According to the report of the Department of Planning and Investment, last year, the department resolved 330,000 administrative documents and procedures. Specifically, it granted business establishment certificates to nearly 42,000 enterprises, down 5.2 percent over the same period, with a total registered capital of nearly VND1.17 quadrillion, up 63.5 percent; there were 77,700 times of capital adjustment, and the total additional capital was VND614.5 trillion. Moreover, 13,800 enterprises announced to stop operations, up 40 percent, nearly 6,000 completed dissolution procedures, and 10,600 resumed operations.