Vietnamese MPs debate land lease period for special economic zones

By Hoai Thu   May 28, 2018 | 04:37 pm GMT+7
Vietnamese MPs debate land lease period for special economic zones
Phu Quoc Island is one of Vietnam's proposed special economic zones.

Extending lease period from 70 to 99 years will only benefit real estate investors and land speculators, opponents argue. 

Heated debates have raged in the ongoing National Assembly session over a proposal to extend the maximum land lease period from 70 to 99 years in the three special economic zones.

Opponents have argued strongly that the move would only benefit real estate investors and land speculators, and not hi-tech businesses.

Delegate Duong Trung Quoc, who opposes the proposal, said: “High-tech investors don’t need to rent land for 99 years. What they need instead are good infrastructure, transparent transactions and an ideal environment for investment.”

Another concern about the proposal came from delegate Tran Hoang Ngan, who feared that too long an extension would prevent the State from reclaiming the rented land if the lessee incurs heavy losses or goes under.

“If we allow businesses to rent land for 99 years, if they go bankrupt within that time, the government would have to wait until the lease period ends before reclaiming the land. Too much time would be wasted then,” he said.

He suggested that the current maximum of 70 years be continued, with a possible maximum extension of 30 years should the project being carried out on a land lot be deemed effective and environmentally friendly.

Delegate Ha Sy Dong from the central province of Quang Tri felt the 99-year rental should be applied if the Prime Minister calls for it.

However, Dong added, only businesses that satisfy specific conditions, like specializing in prioritized fields like manufacturing or hi-tech industries, should be considered for the extended period.

Sharing Dong’s opinion, Planning and Investment Minister Nguyen Chi Dung noted: “Many countries already allow businesses to rent land for 99 years on their special economic zones.”

Vietnam is planning to establish three SEZs, Van Don in the northern province of Quang Ninh, Bac Van Phong in the central province of Khanh Hoa, and Phu Quoc in the southern province of Kien Giang.

The Ministry of Planning and Investment estimates that the SEZs will be able to bring a total of $9.5 billion each year to the state coffers from tax payments and land related fees.

In 2030, the total number of jobs created in the three areas is expected to top 760,000, with average annual income of $13,000, 5.4 times the current level.

The National Assembly is expected to vote on the proposal to develop the three special economic zones on June 15.

 
 
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