Nhon Hoi economic zone changes investment strategy

The People’s Committee of Binh Dinh Province has just announced a revised and adjusted plan of renewing the building of the economic zone in Nhon Hoi. Accordingly, the new plan will focus on building a tourist, service and seaside housing area instead of a heavy industrial zone area as previously planned.

After 14 years of planning, Nhon Hoi economic zone has still gone nowhere.

After 14 years of planning, Nhon Hoi economic zone has still gone nowhere.

This will be a breakthrough for the Phuong Mai Peninsula, which will turn into a green economic hub that will drive growth in this central part of Vietnam.

Binh Dinh leaders give up oil refinery project

According to Ho Quoc Dung, Chairman of the People’s Committee of Binh Dinh, the plan to build Nhon Hoi economic zone was first approved by the Prime Minister in June 2005 and was expected to be the core of heavy industry in Binh Dinh Province. The economic zone was expected to help narrow the distance between Binh Dinh and other provinces in the Central areas as well as provinces across the country. It was expected to be a trading and commerce hub to connect with Highland areas and some neighboring countries like Cambodia, Laos and Thailand.

However, after 14 years, the plan has gone nowhere. Phuong Mai sand land saw no development as per expectations. Furthermore, this economic zone also showed many problems in operating. The management of this economic zone gave up all responsibility subsequently, which caused land encroachment by households around the economic zone area. These people also constructed illegal houses and other construction in this area. Besides that, sand exploration has also become a big issue here.

To resolve the above problems, Binh Dinh has set up a team to manage the economic zone and prohibit people from encroaching the land area. The leaders of Binh Dinh have asked other ministries and local authorities to cooperate in resolving these problems with the purpose to take back the original Nhon Hoi economic zone land area. Binh Dinh will also reprocess the projects which missed the deadline for other purposes.

Explaining the delay in building the economic zone, Dinh Tran Chau, Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of Binh Dinh, said: “At the beginning, the People’s Committee dreamt of constructing an oil refinery plant with total investment of US 22bn over operating area of 8,000-9,000 ha in the economic zone. This plan was the cause of the delay of five years. Later, Binh Dinh recognized that Phuong Mai peninsula is more suitable to develop tourism business. If Binh Dinh constructs the oil refinery plant there, the tourism area will be destroyed, and the sea environment in this area will be polluted. Hence, the leaders of Binh Dinh decided to give up on the project of constructing an oil refinery plant”.

Binh Dinh moves towards sustainable development

After giving up the oil refinery project, Binh Dinh found a new way to recover Nhon Hoi economic zone. Binh Dinh authorities have proactively proposed to the government to allow this province to use its own budget to hire consultors to re-plan this area.

After that, Binh Dinh hired the Vietnam Institute for Urban and Rural Planning, Ministry of Construction, to make a new development plan for Nhon Hoi. In May 2019, the Prime Minister approved the revised and adjusted plan.

According to Ho Quoc Dung, Chairman of the People’s Committee of Binh Dinh, the adjusted plan will turn Nhon Hoi into an active and dynamic economic hub that will also link with Quy Nhon and support its growth simultaneously. The province will keep its plan to build a green economic zone to leave behind for new generations to come.
Accordingly, the total area of Nhon Hoi economic zone increased from 12,000 ha to 14,308 ha. The earlier area of 12,000 ha is in Phuong Mai peninsula while the expanded area will be taken from land in Canh Vinh in Van Canh town with total area of 2,308 ha.

Nhon Hoi will be a multi-sector and multi-industry economic zone which will focus on tourism, services, seaside housing, industries, sea ports, recycled energy and seafood. Nhon Hoi will be the core economic area of Binh Dinh, linking directly with other economic areas in Quy Nhon and adjacent provinces. Nhon Hoi economic zone will also be the economic hub of this central region, connecting with other economic zones in highland areas.

According to Ho Quoc Dung, Chairman of the People’s Committee of Binh Dinh, the adjusted plan will turn Nhon Hoi into an active and dynamic economic zone, linking and supporting the growth of Quy Nhon. Nhon Hoi will set aside 3,600ha for building the city and tourist areas. Nhon Hoi will now turn from a heavy industrial zone to an economic zone which will focus on developing sectors for tourism, services, seaside housing and sea ports. The Becamex industrial zone will also be added to the new plan.

“The highlight of Nhon Hoi economic zone is to become an integral and inseparable part of the natural eco-system and Thi Nai mangrove forest. Binh Dinh does not want to get investments at any price and will not adjust the plan because of benefit to investors. The province will keep its plan to build a green economic zone to leave for new generations to come,” said Ho Quoc Dung.

According to Pham Thi Nham, Deputy Head of Vietnam Institute for Urban and Rural Planning, 14 years ago, most people were not clear about sustainable development and green energy to protect the environment, or how to respond to climate change. However, since now we recognize these issues and already have a legal framework and mechanism to achieve these targets, Binh Dinh will set an example and the province will now plan to build a green city in Phuong Mai peninsula, and not a heavy industrial zone.

Ngoc Oai

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