Dak Lak Province - Driving Force of Central Highlands Economy

9:15:44 PM | 28/2/2011

Visitors can easily notice the new changes in the Highlands: Gone forever the image of a poor and backward province and replaced by a rich and beautiful land. The achievement recorded since its establishment has confirmed the synergy of the province. Vietnam Business Forum reporter Lam Xung interviewed Mr. Lu Ngoc Cu, Chairman of Dak Lak People’s Committee on the success story of the province.
How do you evaluate socio-economic development of Dak Lak in 2010?
In view of difficult conditions of all provinces in Vietnam, the achievement of Dak Lak in socio-economic development is most encouraging. The province could maintained high economic growth rates with production value of VND12,813 billion (of 1994 price), 12.2 % more than 2009; budget revenue of VND3,058 billion exceeding the plan; increased investment for development together with progresses in capital mobilization and disbursement. The service sector has also developed with retail sales worth VND26,400 billion, while consumption and tourism also increased significantly. In spite of natural disaster and diseases, agricultural production has attainted the target set for 2010 and Dak Lak for the first time joined the Club of One-million tonnes of foodstuff. Education and health have been upgraded, while cultural and sports activities have been diversified and social welfare developed meeting the demand of the people.
Besides those achievements, difficulties and challenges remained for socio-economic development. Though the growth rate is higher than the average of Vietnam, the economy is still unstable and small in scale. Natural disasters, diseases together with difficulties in mobilizing capital for business activities and development of socio-economic infrastructure have exceeded by far the supply of the State budget.
To overcome those difficulties and prepare for the five-year plan 2011-2015, in 2011 Dak Lak will focus on maintaining the high growth rate and restructure the economy in favour of industry and service. The production value will be VND14,580 billion (in 1994 price) with economic growth rate of 13.5 % more than that of 2010. The economic structure will be 46-47 % for agriculture-forestry-fisheries, 18-19 % for industry-construction, and 34-35 % for service. Capital mobilization will be VND11,000, 21.5 % more than 2010 or 36.4 % of GDP. Export value will be US$650 million, 4.8 % more than 2010. The province will also develop science and technology, upgrading education and training, increasing workforce for health service, education and sports and at the same time improving material and spiritual life of the people.
Dak Lak has committed itself to work side by side with investors, improving policy, administration reform, friendly environment in line with international practice, how does the province comply with such commitments?
To attract more local and foreign investors to the province, beside preferential treatment by the central government, Dak Lak has additional preferential treatment of the province (Decision 1331 of July 5, 2006 and Decision 17 of October 8, 2008). Accordingly, the province will assist investors in project formalities and land clearance, development of main roads and drainage system inside industrial zones. The province will also apply lowest land rental inside industrial zones and assist in land clearance, roads and power grid to projects outside industrial zones.
With the guideline “Considering projects of investors as of the province”, local authorities have mobilized all concerned agencies to support investors in implementing their projects. The Trade, Investment and Tourism Centre of the province is responsible for assisting entrepreneurs in the investment process. On every Thursday, a representative of Dak Lak People’s Committee will receive investors, listen to their problems and help remove their constraints. Twice a year, the province organizes” Business meetings with investors”. Provincial officials have set up hot lines to receive complaints from investors to prevent corruption in the province.
Thanks to those efforts, if in 2006 the province could attract only 33 local investment projects with VND17,312 billion and a FDI project, by 2010 the number has increased to 421 local investment projects with VND60,000 billion and seven FDI projects with US$105.7 million.
Dak Lak is regarded as home of Vietnamese coffee, how does the province help the industry?
The province has currently 183,000 hectares of coffee with average output of 400,000 tonnes a year, making up 40 % of coffee area and output of Vietnam. Dak Lak has exported coffee to 80 countries and territories.The industry has accounted for over 85 % of the export value, 40 % of GDP and 60 % of budget revenue of the province, creating 300,000 direct and 100,000 indirect jobs.
The province has encouraged all economic sectors to develop coffee production, assisting them in developing infrastructure, irrigation works and other measures such as issuing Resolution on sustainable development of coffee in 2010-2015 and in vision of 2020, “Buon Me Thuot Coffee Brand”, Coffee Transaction Centre, Coffee Festivals twice a year, Coffee Cultural Festivals in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
Presently, Dak Lak is implementing a coffee sustainable development project to 2015 and in vision of 2020. By 2015, the province will have a stable area of 150,000 hectares of coffee with annual output of 400,000 tonnes and 50 % of area under foliage. The province will open training courses with advanced technology for 8,000 workers a year applying quality standard TCVN 4193:2005 for 60 % of exported coffee and 4C, UTZ Certified and other standards for coffee. Processed coffee will increase to 15 % of the output. Buon Ma Thuot transaction centre will handle 30 % of the coffee output.
The province will expand irrigation works to 100 % of coffee area, build storage and ATA storage, 500,000 sq. metres of drying courtyard, 500 drying machines, increasing annual export value to US$700 million.
 According to the plan, by 2015 Dak Lak will increase GDP growth rate to 14-15 %, how can the province achieve such goal?
The goal might be high, but I believe the province can achieve it as in 2011-2015 Vietnam will be much more developed and Dak Lak will become the centre of the Highlands. In addition to the support of the central government, Dak Lak people and authorities will make every effort to achieve that goal and integrate with the whole nation.