VietNamNet Bridge – Companies in the 320-hectare Bien Hoa Industrial Zone 1, the country’s oldest industrial area, have asked the Government to come up with a detailed plan on the zone’s shift to an urban trade-and-services area.
A corner of the Bien Hoa Industrial Zone 1 in the southern province of Dong Nai, which is scheduled to be moved to another area within the province. The relocation will be completed in the next 10 years.
Discussing a relocation plan with members of the National Assembly’s Committee for Science, Technology and Environment on Monday, July 8, most of the companies in the 51-year-old IP said the plan should move the most polluting enterprises first.
Ten years from now, at least 107 factories in the zone will be moved to the newly built Giang Dien Industrial Zone in Trang Bom District, and other industrial zones in Dong Nai Province, including Nhon Trach No 1, 2, 3 and 4.
The move is being done because of the increasing levels of pollution in the area from discharged waste water and emissions from factories in the ageing industrial zone.
Phan Van Binh, general director of Nhat Nam Joint-Stock Company, which makesfurniture in the industrial zone, told the deputies that he was aware of the pollution in the Dong Nai River caused by nearby factories.
“We have to restart every thing when relocating our factories, so we need at least two years to reinstall facilities before the final deadline,” he said.
“With enough time, we will try to keep our customers and skilled labour,” Binh told the NA deputies. “Money for building new factories is a serious matter. We need a large sum of money to do so. Workers may lose their jobs as some factories have to be removed from the city.”
Binh said the Government should offer tax exemptions and incentive loans for businesses to relocate enterprises and offer support policies for workers. A private agency should be hired to evaluate the effectiveness of the conversion, he added.
Bui Manh Hoa, chairman of Bien Hoa Foodstuff Mechanical Joint-Stock Company, which covers 4.7ha in the industrial zone, said he would move his factory out of the city if the Government created good conditions and policies for his workers.
“It will take my company at least one and a half years to remove. During that time, our revenue will fall, so tax exemptions should be offered for three to five years,” Hoa said.
He said the Bien Hoa Sugar Joint Stock Company has developed a plan to relocate the factory out of the city by 2022.
The company’s leaders said they supported the Government’s decision to convert the industrial zone into an urban trade-and-services area so that pollution on the river could be limited.
However, Bien Hoa’s leaders said the company does not contribute to pollution as their factory uses advanced technology from Japan.
Nguyen Van Loc, general director of the company, said he was worried about the effect on his workers.
“If the factory is not required to move, it will not cause pollution here,” he said, adding that his workers “were surprised after hearing the information about relocation.”
Vo Tuan Nhan, deputy chairman of the Committee for Science, Technology and Environment of the National Assembly, said he supported the relocation project, but acknowledged that it would require huge resources.
“After listening to three enterprises in the industrial zone, I see that they are really worried. Relocating a factory to another place is not a simple issue. I agree with their opinions,” Nhan said.
The deputy suggested that Dong Nai Province continue to tackle the pollution issue in the area and urged the local authority to consult enterprises in the zone.
According to Bo Ngoc Thu, director of the province’s Dept of Planning and Investment, the zone, which provides jobs to more than 26,000 workers, was built in 1963. Its outdated technologies contribute to air and water pollution.
In recent years, the contamination on the Dong Nai River, which runs through 12 provinces, has risen to alarming levels due to waste water and emissions discharge, affecting 20 million people.
Thu suggested that the Government offer special policies, including a 100 per cent tax exemption for four years and a 50 per cent tax exemption for the following nine years.
Do Thi Thu Hang, chairman of Sonadezi, also a lawmaker, said her company had proposed several incentive policies for displaced companies, including full tax exemption for four years and 50 per cent for the following nine years.
Thu suggested that the Government set up a budget for land-clearance compensation and funds for incentive loans for companies that need to relocate. Removing the 50-year-old industrial zone will cost a total of VND20 trillion (US$809 million), he said.
Bui Cach Tuyen, deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, said the Management Development Corporation for the Bien Hoa Industrial Zone (Sonadezi) should expand the waste water treatment system at Giang Dien Industrial Zone, where factories in Bien Hoa 1 Industrial Zone will be relocated.
Local residents, who live in and around the Bien Hoa 1 industrial zone, are pleased with the relocation plans.
Nguyen Thi Huyen Van, who has lived in the industrial area for more than 40 years, said the smell from sewage discharged from the factories every day was almost unbearable.
About 7,750cu.m of sewage are released each day from the industrial zone, and only 1,153cu.m are treated in waste treatment systems in the park.
Recently, chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee Le Hoang Quan asked Dong Nai authorities to speed up relocation of the industrial zone.
“Pollution in the Dong Nai River has worsened to the point that water treatment plants in HCM City can’t treat it. Waste water discharged from the industrial zone is one of the major pollution sources,” Quan said.
By 2025, HCM City will need 3,700 million litres of water a day, and most of it is expected to come from the Dong Nai River.
“As a member of the Dong Nai River Basin Environment Protection Committee, HCM City supports the relocation of the industrial park to protect water resources,” Quan said.
Most of the National Assembly members attending the meeting gave their approval to the project to convert the industrial zone to an urban trade-and-services area for the purposes of environmental protection and economic development.
According to the Dong Nai Province People’s Committee, taxes collected from enterprises in the province have fallen sharply in recent years. Every year, the province collects an average of VND500 billion (nearly US$24.04 million) in taxes from enterprises in the zone. The amount made up 1.5 per cent of the province’s contribution to the State budget.