HCMC needs to remove obstacles in administrative land procedures to attract FDI

Vietnam is not an attractive venue with low costs in the fierce competition in attracting FDI anymore; thus, Ho Chi Minh City needs to soon remove obstacles in administrative land and planning procedures to further promote foreign investment.
Hiep Phuoc Port Industrial Park in Ho Chi Minh City's Nha Be District is ready to welcome investors

Hiep Phuoc Port Industrial Park in Ho Chi Minh City's Nha Be District is ready to welcome investors

Ho Chi Minh City currently has 11,868 valid foreign investment projects with the total investment capital including both new and increased capital of more than US$81.29 billion, leading the number of valid projects compared to other provinces in the country.

According to the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Planning and Investment, Vietnam is emerging as the bright spot in attracting FDI in the region and the southern largest city is the place that investors look to the most in Vietnam.

Three operating export processing zones and 14 industrial parks have contributed to the realization of the goals of attracting domestic and foreign investment capital, job creation, advanced technology acquisition and increasing productivity as well as foreign currency revenue and the city’s socio-economic development.

However, according to experts, Ho Chi Minh City must improve its investment environment which is identified as the most important factor while the southern metropolis has been facing many challenges.

Deputy General Secretary cum Head of the Legal Department of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) Dau Anh Tuan said that Ho Chi Minh City is leading the country in attracting FDI currently accounting for 13 percent but there are still some existing barriers.

A recent survey has shown that 50 percent of enterprises have encountered difficulties with procedures for land and site clearance while 48 percent of enterprises have been confronted with obstacles including procedures on construction planning, and urban planning; and more than 40 percent of enterprises have had difficulties with appraisal procedures.

Being a businessman, Mr. David S.Oh, an Advisory Member of the Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KORCHAM) said that businesses often have to work with Vietnamese authorities on methods of tax calculation which he found it very troublesome. Enterprises are becoming confused with different explanations of tax calculation approaches; therefore, investors expect a simple explanation of tax calculation methods and implementation of the law as he said that legal disputes can have a great impact, even leading to business closure.

Nevertheless, according to Mr. Dau Anh Tuan, although the southern largest city is facing various challenges, it also has many opportunities. In his opinion, the National Assembly-approved Resolution 98 on piloting many specific mechanisms and policies in a bid to help the city grow more. The city has been making a breakthrough in digital transformation, green transformation which offered it opportunity in the race to attract foreign investment.

What the city needs to do is to perfect the policy of Land Law, the Housing Law, and the Real Estate Business Law and build a green business investment environment focusing on environmental protection, emission reduction, and renewable energy, Mr. Dau Anh Tuan emphasized.

By the end of 2022, the country has attracted more than 25,000 FDI enterprises and this sector has contributed more than 20 percent of GDP, 72 percent of total export value and about 50 percent of industrial output to the economy. However, the legal regulations in the field are still overlapping, hampering investors who want to invest in Vietnam. VCCI’s report has shown that there are many overlapped points in the Investment Laws, Bidding Laws, Land Laws, and Construction Laws.

Meanwhile, according to Chairman of the Vietnam International Arbitration Center (VIAC) Vu Tien Loc, enterprises in the world tended to shift their supply chains and Vietnam is one of the top destinations. Therefore, CMC needs to focus on some key issues, including institutions and human resources; especially legal - the most important factor to make the most of the opportunity.

Having organized many dialogues between businesses and the city government, Ms. Cao Thi Phi Van, Deputy Director of the Investment and Trade Promotion Center of Ho Chi Minh City (ITPC), said that many investors affirms that the most effective investment attraction solution is to support existing investors by all means. When tax incentives and low costs gradually reduce advantages, Ho Chi Minh City always considered an improved investment environment as the most important solution to attract investment.

She revealed that ITPC is currently trying to become a one-stop shop, the first place to welcome investors when coming to Ho Chi Minh City. ITPC will provide all the information about each project as well as support investors in the project setup and implementation. In particular, ITPC has set up dialogue channels to support investors, said Ms. Cao Thi Phi Van.

Notably, ITPC and VIAC are coordinating to build a forum to give legal support to investors in a bid to better support investors who pour money into Ho Chi Minh City. This forum is receiving a very positive response from the foreign investor community as well as law practice organizations and business associations.

Other news