(VOV) – Japan ranks first among foreign investors in Vietnam in terms of registered capital with 1990 valid projects worth US$32.667 billion.
Forty years after establishing diplomatic ties (September 21), Vietnam and Japan have seen their partnership growing.
Following are excerpts from a VOV online interview with Minister of Planning and Investment Bui Quang Vinh.
VOV online:What’s your evaluation of Vietnam-Japan cooperation, especially in the economic field over the past 40 years?
Vinh: Vietnam-Japan relations have developed strongly into a strategic partnership. Mutual trust and sharing between the two Governments and people has created a firm foundation for sustainable cooperation in all fields, ranging from politics and economics to national defence, security and culture.
For instance, when Japan was hit by the March 2012 powerful earthquake and tsunami, Vietnamese people offered sympathy and aid to help the Japanese people overcome the disaster and rebuild their lives This has left a deep impression on the Japanese people and helped further strengthen relations between the two countries.
Japan ranks first not only in terms of foreign direct investment (FDI) capital but also in official development assistance (ODA) for Vietnam. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attaches much importance to strengthening ties with Vietnam. Soon after taking office, Abe chose Vietnam as the first country to visit in the Asia-Pacific region. This demonstrates that Japan has become an important partner of Vietnam.
Japan currently has 1990 valid projects in Vietnam with a total capitalisation of US$32.667 billion, mostly focused on processing and manufacturing industries.
VOV online:Japan is Vietnam’s biggest ODA donor. Can you elaborate on how Vietnam has used Japanese funding?
Vinh: The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) always highly appreciates Vietnam’s effective use of ODA.
ODA is a very important resource for Vietnam because it helps the country build infrastructure and deal with social issues.
With each ODA-funded project getting off the ground, Vietnam not only has a bridge or an electric power plant but also a better understanding of modern management skills and working style, as well as learning of how to use money in the best way. This is very important for developing countries like Vietnam.
Over the past 20 years, Vietnam has attracted more than US$73 billion in ODA and Japan is one of the leading ODA providers for Vietnam. Most infrastructure projects, such as transport, electricity, water supply, and urban infrastructure facilities have been funded by Japan.
Even in a fiscal year, Japanese funding accounts for 40 percent of total ODA capital for Vietnam.
In addition, Japan supports Vietnam’s development strategies, such as the industrialisation development strategy within the framework of Vietnam-Japan cooperation.
Japan also supports other Public-Private Partnership (PPP) projects with a view to encouraging the private sector to take part in infrastructure construction.
Japan’s ODA has helped make a significant breakthrough for the economy of Vietnam
VOV online:Is there any problem in ODA disbursement?
Vinh: ODA disbursement is a complicated and sensitive problem. Slow disbursement is Vietnam’s inborn defect.
There are many causes for slow disbursement, such as slow land clearance and inadequate supply of corresponding capital. ODA is invaluable and Vietnam needs to use it effectively.
Over the last two years, the Ministry of Planning and Investment has applied strict measures to deal with the problem. It proposed that compensation policy be applied in a unified manner across the country and capital for land clearance be paid in advance.
2012 was considered a successful year in disbursing ODA capital. In the first months of 2013, nearly US$4 billion was disbursed, up nearly 30 percent compared to last year’s figure and the highest level so far. Vietnam’s efforts have been appreciated by JICA.
VOV online:Thank you very much.