Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc has urged the suburban districts of Cu Chi and Hoc Mon in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) to review all public investment projects, especially their feasibility, and improve the business climate to attract investment.

Speaking at a conference to promote investment in Cu Chi and Hoc Mon on April 12, Phuc said the city should promote investment in the two suburban districts as part of the plan to develop the city further to the northwest, creating long-term livelihoods for residents and developing new sustainable urban areas.

He said Hoc Mon and Cu Chi would provide new growth for HCMC, adding that it was important to carefully select projects to call for investment that could optimise the potential and advantages of the two suburban districts.

To achieve this goal, Phuc ordered the two districts to improve state management in all fields, including the fight against corruption and wastefulness.

They must also work to improve the business climate to solicit investment in developing new urban areas, industrial parks, tourist areas and commercial zones.

Hoc Mon and Cu Chi are calling for investment in 55 projects worth a total of 285 trillion dong ($12.45 billion) in infrastructure, industry, high-tech agriculture, trade-service, education-culture-sport and transport.

Phuc has demanded the districts balance economic development benefits with environmental protection, urging them to address issues related to waste treatment and housing for workers.

“Urbanisation of the two suburban districts must meet environmental and ecological criteria,” Phuc said.

He also asked the suburban districts to tackle any hurdles related to transport infrastructure and create the most favourable conditions for investors.

Cu Chi has been urged by the city's People’s Council to develop a plan to become a city, under the jurisdiction of HCMC.

Cu Chi, which borders Hoc Mon district and the provinces of Binh Duong, Tay Ninh and Long An, aims to become a logistics hub connecting industrial zones in Binh Duong, Tay Ninh and Long An.

Some investors had already shown interest in developing five-star nursing home facilities that offer high-end medical and health care services in Cu Chi.

Nguyen Van Nen, secretary of the HCMC Party Committee, said Cu Chi must speed up major projects like the Tay Bac (northwest) urban area and the Saigon Zoo and Botanical Garden.

The expressway from An Suong to Moc Bai and Ring Road No 3 should be accelerated to link Cu Chi and Hoc Mon districts with the eastern part of HCMC and Dong Nai province, he said.

The possibility of having roads running along the Dong Nai River to Cu Chi should be studied in order to shorten the travel time and develop ecotourism, he added.

HCMC authorities also announced a plan to speed up the urbanisation of Cu Chi, Hoc Mon, Binh Chanh, Nha Be and Can Gio in order to make them urban districts by 2030.

All the districts have seen rapid urbanisation in recent years, with the creation of new urban areas, construction of expressways and improved lifestyles.

Criteria such as population, area, socio-economic indicators, education levels and urban infrastructure apply for becoming an urban district.

However, the plan has already triggered a “land fever” in the suburban areas.

Land prices in some areas in Cu Chi and Hoc Mon, for example, have surged recently (by between 30 and 100 per cent).

Hoc Mon is spread over more than 109sq km and has a population of nearly 463,000. The corresponding figures are 435sq km and 468,000 for Cu Chi, 252sq km and 711,000 for Binh Chanh, 100sq km and 208,000 for Nha Be, 435sq km and 468,000 for Cu Chi, and 704sq km and 73,000 for Can Gio.