While successfully hosting the upcoming 2017 APEC summit, Da Nang should spare no effort to become the most livable city in the country, a must-visit tourism destination and a major investment attraction, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said on Sunday.
Phuc was addressing a business forum, Invest in Da Nang (October 14-15), held in the central city as a prelude to APEC Summit (November 5-11).
The summit is expected to be the largest event of its kind in the city’s history.
Phuc said the summit should be an unforgettable memory for APEC member economies, emphasising that it was a great opportunity for the city to promote itself and the country as a whole.
“The 2017 APEC Summit will be a positive introduction of Da Nang as a young and dynamic city in central Viet Nam, and an attractive location top world investors.
“The city should spare no effort in hosting an summit that impresses investors, tourists and friends,” Phuc said in his keynote address at the forum.
He also had a word of caution: “Da Nang should strive to boost growth as a key city and driving force for the coastal central region in the years to come. If it does not do so, it will be replaced by Khanh Hoa or Quang Nam in the driving seat of the regional economy.”
The PM said the city needs more drastic and powerful actions to fulfill its potential as a regional metropolis, a smart city, one of three key cities in the country alongside Ha Noi in the north, HCM City in the south.
He suggested Da Nang should reform its institutions and promote transparency to create more favourable conditions for both domestic and foreign investors. This would help it win the trust of both investors and residents, he said.
The PM also said the city administration has to commit to protect investors’ assets at any risk, while improving land procedures, public service and competitiveness.
Achieving the satisfaction of residents and businesses with supportive policies will facilitate positive evaluation of the local government, he said.
He asked the city to speed up construction of infrastructure projects and step up co-operation with the neighbouring provinces of Quang Nam, Quang Ngai and Thua Thien-Hue to accelerate the economic growth in the region.
Da Nang should open direct flights to Europe and the US in the near future, he said.
Convention centre inaugurated
At the forum yesterday, the PM cut the ribbon for the Ariyana Da Nang Exhibition & Convention Centre – the one where the 2017 APEC Summit will be held, hosting more than 10,000 delegates and 1,000 CEOs.
Among those attending the event was US Consul General Mary Tarnowka, who said bilateral trade was a very important element in the US’s relationship with Viet Nam.
She said US President Donald Trump’s attendance at the 2017 APEC Summit this November would cement the partnership between the US and Viet Nam.
Also yesterday, the city administration, in co-operation with bankers, presented investment certificates, loan agreements and pre-feasibility studies for 27 projects worth US$1.56 billion in sea port, education, solar power, high-tech industries, logistics, tourism property, hi-tech farming, hibiscus wine and rice milk, international hospital, pharmaceuticals and industrial production.
Chairman and CEO of Sovico Holdings Company, Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao, said Da Nang had caught the imagination of her company in an initial investment study done in 2002.
“The positive support and smooth administrative procedures as well as incentive policies in land clearance and land rent attracted us. We decided to buy the five-star Furama Da Nang resort as our long-term commitment to the city,” Thao said at the forum.
Thao, who is also owner of the budget airline Vietjet Air, the HCM City-based HD Bank, said with support from the city, her company was able to complete the Ariyana Da Nang Exhibition & Convention Centre on schedule.
She also said HD Bank has provided loans worth VND2.6 trillion ($115 million) to 560,000 businesses and individuals in Da Nang and the central region.
Director of property developer Sun Group, Dang Minh Truong, said the newly-launched Ba Na Hills Golf course in Da Nang has attracted 2.6 million tourists and golfers, while the Intercontinental Da Nang Sun Peninsula resort has been selected as a site to host the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting of the APEC Summit.
The 200-room luxury resort, which was built in the Son Tra Nature Reserve, hosted a three-day vacation for billionaire financier George Soros in 2012.
At the two-day business forum, which drew 800 businesses and organisations, Da Nang also called for investments in some key Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) projects including the Lien Chieu sea port, dismantling of a railway station, urban resettlement, two new industrial parks, solid waste treatment, wastewater treatment and clean water supply, fishing ports and fisheries logistics, smart traffic systems, a harbour for cruise ships, information technology and communications, with total proposed investment of $1.4 billion.
The city also urged investors to pour funds into the 33km tram route connecting Da Nang and Hoi An City in Quang Nam Province with an estimated investment of $300 to $660 million.
Vice Chairman of the city’s People’s Committee, Ho Ky Minh, said the city currently has 408 domestic projects worth $4.5 billion, and 525 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects worth $3 billion.
Minh said Da Nang plans to be a regional hub for urbanisation, tourism and hi-tech growth.
He said the city offers rent-free land for environmental projects or 13-19 years land tax exemption for high-tech industries, while software exporters are supported with trade promotions, preferential taxation and human resources training subsidies.
Chairman of the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), Vu Tien Loc, said 51 per cent of foreign investors in a recent survey selected Da Nang as their preferred investment destination, citing good and flexible governance.
Loc, however, warned that 33 per cent of FDI businesses still complained of complicated land procedures, while 40 percent said they found difficulties in accessing bank loans.
Da Nang also plans to build the Lien Chieu Port as a logistics hub for the ASEAN region and the East-West Economic Corridor (EWEC) that links Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam.
In 2013, the World Bank approved a $272.1 million sustainable development project for the city, of which $202.4 million is to be provided by the bank. The project is expected to make Da Nang a ‘green city’ by 2025. — VNS