A governmental working team has proposed new policies that would help Phu Quoc Island attract much-needed capital to build infrastructure.
Under the proposal, the island, which is administratively part of the southern province of Kien Giang, could be classified as a coastal economic zone.
The proposal was made by the Government’s working team and Kien Giang Province’s authorities.
Although the Government has issued plans to make the island a regional and international tourist hub, development has not been in line with the island’s potential.
In late September, the Government decided to set up a working group to outline specific development mechanisms for Phu Quoc.
The Government’s working team realised that one of the biggest obstacles to Phu Quoc’s development was the lack of budgetary funds for technical infrastructure projects.
On November 25, at a meeting with Kien Giang Province’s administration, Deputy Minister of Finance Nguyen Huu Chi, on behalf of the working team, said the island had become a big construction site, with many transport projects under development.
Chi said that the island had already used allocated capital for 2013, resulting in a need for more funds.
“Phu Quoc’s capital demand for the development of infrastructure by 2015 will be more than VND8 trillion (US$384.3 million), but the entire Kien Giang Province has been allocated only VND2 trillion,” he was quoted as saying in Dau Tu newspaper.
Chi asked the province to review all infrastructure development projects and make reports to related ministries, including the Finance Ministry, so that it could receive proper support from the Government.
A report from the Phu Quoc Island Development and Investment Management Board also said that approved transport-infrastructure projects have a combined length of 152.1 kilometres. Only 30 per cent of them have been built.
The most important project is a 47.5-km road that circles the island and has a north-south axis. To date, only 33 per cent of the project has been completed, according to the report.
Nguyen Thanh Tung, deputy head of the board, said that it was essential to complete these projects because insufficient transport infrastructure had scared off investors.
“Investors want the Government to pump money into infrastructure on the island, and if so, they will then invest in business projects,” Tung said.
“The Government hopes that it can collect money from investors by renting land-use rights to build infrastructure,” he added.
Only nine of 72 licensed projects with a combined capital of VND73.482 trillion and 4,000 ha have been put into operation. The remainder are under construction or have not been developed.
To help Phu Quoc attract capital, the working team of the Government and Kien Giang Province said specific policies should be developed.
They also suggested that a pilot urban administration model be created in the island and placed under the management of the central Government.
Nguyen Phong Quang, deputy head of the Southeast Steering Board and also head of the working group, said it would be difficult to follow through on all of the original plans for the island.
“From now to the year-end, the Government’s working group will make a concerted effort to draw up feasible proposals on specific policies and mechanisms and submit them to the Government for consideration and issuance,” Quang said.
Located in the Gulf of Thailand, Phu Quoc lies 62 nautical miles from Kien Giang Province’s Rach Gia Town and nearly 290 nautical miles from Laem Chabang, Thailand.