Improving Competitiveness to Draw Investment

1:18:10 PM | 12/14/2021

In response to the 2021 working theme “Responsibility, discipline - investment attraction - development momentum", Quang Tri province has carried out many solutions and actions to step up administrative reform and improve local competitiveness to woo investors in 2021 and beyond. Vietnam Business Forum’s reporter has an interview with Mr. Truong Chi Trung, Director of the Department of Planning and Investment of Quang Tri province, to learn more about this.

Could you please briefly introduce some remarkable results of investment attraction and business development in Quang Tri province in 2021?

In 2021, Quang Tri province faced a lot of difficulty in investment attraction due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But, with active promotion from previous years and close and drastic direction of the Provincial Party Committee and the Provincial People's Committee, the province still managed to achieve impressive results.

Specifically, the province licensed 56 projects with VND69,594 billion of investment capital, 10 times higher than in 2020 (49 projects with VND6,811 billion), including seven projects with VND62,046 billion in industrial parks and economic zones and 49 projects with VND7,548 billion outside in industrial parks and economic zones. Prominent projects included VND4,500-billion infrastructure construction and operation investment project in Trieu Phu Industrial Zone, VND1,346-billion Huong Linh 5 Wind Power Plant, VND1,370-billion Huong Hiep 2 Wind Power Plant, and especially VND53,667 billion Hai Lang LNG Power Center Project (Phase I).

Among 56 projects, two were FDI projects with US$2.41 billion of registered investment capital, bringing total FDI projects in the province to 18 and US$2.485 billion of investment capital. By the end of 2021, the province witnessed 11 projects (US$37 million) in operation and six projects (US$2.45 billion) under construction.

Also in 2021, as many as 51 projects (VND28,534 billion) were put into operation, 1.4 times higher than in 2020, including 17 wind power projects (VND25,648 billion).

In 2021, the province had 420 new enterprises and 124 new branches and representative offices with a combined registered capital of VND123.70 billion, or an average VND31.9 billion per enterprise. Corporate establishments and value shrank as compared to 2020.

Facing negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, what solutions is the province implementing to remove difficulties for investors to speed up their projects?

In addition to making well-prepared planning and promptly promulgating regulations and policies as a legal basis for investment, the province reviewed the progress of licensed investment projects, classified difficulties and obstacles for timely support and solution. The Provincial People’s Committee requested relevant bodies to review, urge and even terminate slow-moving projects.

The province also built a flowchart of investment procedures; clarified and defined responsibility of agency leaders to solutions taken to speed up administrative reform and improve the Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI). The province considered this an important indicator to assess its commitments to investors. Investment authorities received documents online and via postal service; reduced the time of reviewing and licensing projects; and assisted investors to carry out administrative procedures.

Beside effectively applying Directive 06/CT-UBND dated June 1, 2020 to remove business difficulties, accelerate disbursement of public investment capital and carry out investment projects to revive socioeconomic development, Quang Tri province has stepped up enforcement of Resolution 105/NQ-CP of the Government dated September 9, 2021 on supporting enterprises, cooperatives and business households in the context of the COVID-19 epidemic. At the same time, a special working group was established to remove difficulties and obstacles for local businesses and people affected by the COVID-19 epidemic.

Leading the plan to improve the business environment and enhance the Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) of Quang Tri province in the 2021-2025 period (according to Decision 2412/QD-UBND dated August 16, 2021), what do you about bottlenecks to be addressed and solutions to be taken by the department to improve competitiveness?

Quang Tri province's 2020 PCI rankings picked up but still stood low (41st out of 63 provinces and cities) among the middle categories. In addition, the technical infrastructure in industrial zones has not been fully invested, making investors unable to effectively unlock local potential advantages. These are major "bottlenecks" for improving the current investment and business environment in Quang Tri.

To overcome the above situation, the Department of Planning and Investment has, and will, advise the Provincial People's Committee to adopt the following solutions:

- Regularly correcting the working style and manner, sense of responsibility and discipline; improving responsibility and service attitude of public employees, especially at public reception divisions; resolutely handling employees committing violations and harassment.

- Reviewing and reducing procedures on market entry, investment, land, construction and environment towards equality, fairness and convenience for enterprises.

- Speeding up communications and information, publishing information on legal documents in relation to business on the legal information portal, opening a column on legal support for businesses, quickly settling complaints, denunciations, reflections and recommendations

- Supporting businesses, organizations and individuals with equal and favorable access to resources like land, capital, information and minerals.

- Reforming and diversifying dialogues and meetings with the business community to encourage businesses and investors to put forth their ideas and solutions for stronger local competitiveness.

- Mobilizing resources for investment in synchronous infrastructure construction in industrial zones and economic zones; drawing investment projects on power supply, water supply, waste and wastewater treatment systems and infrastructure in industrial zones.

In 2020, the province's Market Entry Index reached 7.73 points, ranking 35th out of 63 cities and provinces and marking the best performance among 10 component indices. How do you assess this result? What solutions is the department carrying out for higher standings?

In 2020, among the PCI component indices, the Market Entry Index was the highest (7.73 points), 0.56 points higher than in 2019 (ranking No. 34 out of 63 provinces and cities). According to VCCI, in 2020, Quang Tri was one of 15 provinces with the shortest time to register a newly established business and one of eight provinces with the fastest processing time for changes in business registration in the country. All business registration documents are settled and returned in time. The average settlement time is less than 2 days (compared to 2 days of the national average). In 2020, the province received 2,797 application forms and all were settled and returned in time. The settlement time on the national business registration system is 0.51 days.

Currently, the department drastically carried out Plan 301/KH-SKH dated February 26, 2021 and Plan 1901/KH-SKH dated August 27, 2021 on improving local business environment and competitiveness in 2021 and in 2021-2025. Accordingly, the department will implement solutions relating to market entry like strengthening information technology application in business registration procedures, fostering and improving the capacity and sense of duty of employees; encouraging individuals, organizations and enterprises to increase business registration documents online, submit documents and return results by post.

By Vietnam Business Forum