Attracting green investment to the Southeast

VCN - To maintain its role as the economic "leader" of the country, the Southeast provinces need to transform their growth model to a green economy. Accordingly, there are many bottlenecks that need to be quickly removed for this area to successfully transform green, leading the whole country to transform together.
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Nhon Trach 5 IDICO Industrial Park - Dong Nai. Illustration photo: ST
Nhon Trach 5 IDICO Industrial Park - Dong Nai. Illustration photo: ST

Identify bottlenecks

As the leading region in the country in attracting foreign direct investment, the Southeast is considered a region with the potential and motivation to attract high-quality investment capital, including domestic and foreign investment capital, focusing on green fields and sustainable development. However, according to local assessments here, the recent situation of attracting green investment has not met expectations due to many bottlenecks.

Sharing at the seminar "Attracting Green Investment for the Southeast Region" held last weekend in Ho Chi Minh City, Ms. Nguyen Thi Hoang, Vice Chairwoman of Dong Nai Provincial People's Committee, said that after more than 20 years of changing to selectively attracting investment, but up to now, this process has not met expectations, the quality is still modest, and has not attracted many high-tech, clean technology, modern projects from large corporations around the world. An important reason for this limitation is the lack of criteria to determine what is a green investment project. “Recently, Dong Nai has oriented to select high-tech, environmentally friendly projects that use little labor, until now there is no basis to evaluate the above criteria. Therefore, over the last time, the choice was mainly based on emotions" - said Ms. Nguyen Thi Hoang.

Even the implementation of eco-industrial parks faces many difficulties. According to Ms. Nguyen Thi Hoang, Dong Nai has an industrial park that was selected to be developed into an ecological industrial park, but after nearly 3 years it still has not been completed. Although Decree 35/2022/ND-CP has set out the criteria for eco-industrial parks, the documents and procedures to be recognized, when starting work, there are still many problems. For example, for the criteria of symbiotic relationships of businesses in eco-industrial parks, according to Ms. Hoang, there needs to be a set of procedures and technical instructions for businesses to implement.

Representatives of localities in the region such as Ho Chi Minh City, Binh Duong also raised problems related to the lack of criteria to identify green projects in attracting investment. Master. Cao Minh Nghia, Deputy Head of the Economic Development Research Department (Ho Chi Minh City Institute for Development Research) said that legal documents related to green investment are currently not synchronized because they are in the process of being developed. Therefore, up to now, there are still no detailed and specific instructions for localities, people, and businesses to make green investments. Another difficulty facing green investment today is insufficient awareness of businesses and people. The reason is that businesses, people, and even domestic organizations lack information about this field.

As an enterprise in the field of industrial park infrastructure development, Mr. Dinh Ngoc Thuan, Deputy General Director of Industrial Park Development Joint Stock Corporation (Sonadezi) said that about 10 years ago, Sonadezi aimed to Green invest by implementing rooftop solar power systems, planting more trees in industrial parks. This enterprise has also implemented many solutions such as price and location incentives for "green" investors, has advanced technology, uses less labor, and ensures wastewater.

However, according to Mr. Thuan, attracting qualified businesses is very difficult because every business wants to invest quickly to return capital. In addition, high-tech projects often tend to concentrate in large centers such as Ho Chi Minh City, Binh Duong, Dong Nai, while preferential policies are equal, leading to the fact that it is hard to attract green investment into industrial parks located in areas.

Reform at the regional scale to attract green investment

Dr. Do Thien Anh Tuan, Lecturer at the Fulbright School of Public Policy and Management, assessed that at the present time, the economic growth momentum from integration is gradually decreasing because there is not much room to exploit international markets. Therefore, it is necessary to shift the direction of exploitation from internal resources, that is, to transform the economy from "brown" to "green".

To attract green investment to the Southeast region, according to Dr. Do Thien Anh Tuan, first of all, it is necessary to increase awareness about green economy, green growth, and green investment. At the same time, there needs to be a framework program on converting the economic growth model from "brown" to "green" because current regulations are scattered in many different documents. Besides, there are financial solutions, such as green credit, green stocks, green bonds; tax policy, forming carbon credit markets. From a regional perspective, there must be inter-regional mechanisms, business environment reform, and human resource training in parallel with specific policies to encourage businesses to innovate technology and transform green.

MSc. Cao Minh Nghia proposed to divide green investment into 3 stages. In particular, phase 1 from now until 2026; Phase 2 from 2027-2030; Phase 3 from 2031 onwards. In phase 1, the nature is to mobilize, encourage, and support so that when businesses and organizations have investment needs, they must choose to convert to green investment. In phase 2, when businesses and organizations want to invest, they are required to choose green investment, accompanied by supportive policies from the Government. Phase 3 is the mass application of green investment to all businesses and organizations.

“Green investment needs to be done step by step with scientific and strategic roadmaps. In addition, the state must also develop policies to support businesses participating in green investment. There are many types of support, such as scientific and technological support, human resources, and most importantly capital support" - MSc. Cao Minh Nghia commented.

Experts assess that the Southeast region has many advantages to make green investments well, such as geographical location, high-quality human resources, infrastructure, etc which attracts foreign investors to participate in investing in the region. Currently, Ho Chi Minh City has an advantage over other localities in the region because Resolution 98 of the National Assembly regulates the piloting of a number of specific mechanisms and policies to develop Ho Chi Minh City. Therefore, to implement green investment well, Ho Chi Minh City needs to proactively take the lead and promote its leading role. But the most important thing is that Ho Chi Minh City needs to coordinate closely with localities in the Southeast region. From there, implement programs, plans, and strategies related to green investment synchronously throughout the region; simultaneously, we must coordinate closely with ministries and central branches.

By Nguyen Hien/ Phuong Linh

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