2:38:25 PM | 21/6/2011
Son La province is very rich in land resources, mineral resources, hydraulic power resources and tourism potentials amongst others. In the past years, the province has endeavoured to obtain important social and economic development results. Economic growth averaged at 14 percent a year in the 2006 - 2010 period and per capita GDP reached US$650 in 2010. To continue spurring its great potential, Son La is attracting internal and external resources to become a rich locality in the region. To learn more about this issue, reporter Ngo Khuyen interviewed Mr Nguyen Ngoc Toa, Vice Standing Chairman of the Son La People’s Committee.
Son La has lots of potential for growth. Could you brief on major potential and economic outcomes that Son La province achieved in the past years?
Son La is 320 km away from the capital of Hanoi on the northwest and is 600 metres above the sea level. The province has a natural area of over 14,000 square km and shares 250 km of borderline with Laos. Relatively flat and fertile Moc Chau and Na San plateaux enable the province to develop commercial agriculture. The Da, Ma rivers and many rivulets enable the province to develop hydropower. The province is very rich in minerals like limestone, basalt soil, sand, gravel, nickel, cobalt, copper, and gold which remain untapped. Son La, located at the centre of Northwest region, connects with other localities on National Road 6, Ta Hoc Port on the Da River and Na San Airport. These are also important catalysts for trade development.
To tap local potentials and advantages, in the past years, Son La has made great effort to achieve important results. Economic growth is fast and sustainable (GDP growth in 2010 rose 12.8 percent over 2009); and industrial and service value is contributing more to the local GDP structure. In agriculture, the province is growing 3,000 ha of sugarcanes, 4,000 ha of tea, 3,500 ha of coffee and 5,300 ha of rubber. Industry is also developing quickly, driven by food and agricultural product processing, material production and hydropower production. The province has also completed the planning of vast industrial zones in Son La City, Mai Chau and Moc Chau districts. At the same time, Son La has built a lot of hydropower plants like Nam Chim , Nam Chien, Suoi Sap and Huoi Quang. The province has adopted many measures to promote the development of tourism.
These positive outcomes are accrued from opening investment policies. However, as the province is far from major economic centres of the nation, these results mismatch local potentials.
How will Son La province do to improve its investment environment?
Son La has soon identified that it has to mobilise external resources in addition to local ones to push up its development progress. Hence, since 2003, the province has advocated attracting as much investment capital as possible for any potential and advantageous fields. Apart from general incentives provided the Vietnamese laws, investors are also offered additional supports from provincial and local authorities in terms of land, site clearance and other activities. Besides, it also reformed administrative procedures in accordance with one-stop shop mechanism to help investors quicken their investment activities. In general, authorities of Son La province have tried their best to create the best investment and economy environment for investors.
In the upcoming time, Son La will be more active in selecting and receiving investment sources and enhancing cooperation and coordination with central authorities to map out investment promotion programmes. The Provincial People’s Committee and its subordinates will enhance their capability in supporting enterprises to deal with difficulties when they do business in the province. The province will intensify its guidance to district and town governments to carry out detailed land-use and production planning to attract more investors. Besides, Son La will strengthen supervision on licensed projects to support good ones and revoke bad ones to improve the investment environment. One of the important tasks of the province is uplifting the capacity of civil servants working in investment agencies. It will also ask the central government for separately special investment mechanisms given its peculiar conditions.
Could you briefly talk about the construction progress of Son La hydropower plant and resettlement activities thereof?
Since the construction on Son La hydropower project was started in December 2004, Son La province has always received deep care and huge support from the central government and other localities in the country because this project will serve a very important role in national social and economic development of Son La province and the Northwest region. At present, the first and second turbines of the power plant have been put into operation and supplied a significant amount of electricity for the national grid. The Turbine 3 is expected for completion in August 2011 and the Turbine 4 is scheduled for completion in December 2011.
Till June 2011, the province completed arranging resettlement for 12,584 households who gave up their properties for the power plant. The province is determined to provide better life for these people.