Nam Dinh Continues to Improve Investment Environment

9:34:14 AM | 24/2/2012

In 2011, Nam Dinh attained a growth rate of over 12 percent, higher than the national average, budget revenue of over VND1,900 billion, 43 percent more than the plan, total social investment capital of over VND15,600 billion, and export value of US$322.4 million, US$42.4 million more than the plan. Those are impressive figures under the current conditions of economic constraint. However, in comparison with other provinces, economic development in Nam Dinh remains below its potential. Vietnam Business Forum has interviewed Mr Pham Gia Tuc, Vice President of Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) on the issue. Le Hien reports.
 How do you evaluate the socio-economic development in Nam Dinh in 2011?
2011 is the first year of the implementation of Resolution XI of the Vietnam Party Congress and XVIII of the Nam Dinh Party Convention. With concerted efforts by Nam Dinh people and authorities, impressive achievements have been recorded in socio-economic development. In spite of global economic crisis and economic constraints in Vietnam, in implementing Resolution 11/NQ-CP of the government on reduction of public investment, even in the conditions of high inflation and interest rates, Nam Dinh retained GDP growth of 12 percent in 2011. More important still, the budget revenue – the most important criteria of growth rates – has exceeded VND1,900 billion, or 43 percent more than the plan. If Nam Dinh can continue this growth rate in the upcoming four years, the province can exceed the target set for 2015.
What is your opinion on the assertion that “Development remains below its potential in recent years”?
Nam Dinh is located in the southern part of the Red River Delta, with an area of 1,700 sq. kilometres and population of nearly 2 million people, singular in ethnic origin but diversified in religion and culture-education. With 72 km of coastline and fertile land, Nam Dinh has great potential in coastline economic development. In the past, Nam Dinh City was the textile centre of Vietnam and the commercial-service centre in the Southern part of the Red River Delta. However, in the last 20 years, the economic development in Nam Dinh slowed in comparison with other provinces in the region such as Vinh Phuc and Bac Ninh. The province was slow in transformation of economic and labour structures, low in growth quality and unclear in development strategy. The present economic structure (industry-construction 37.2 percent, service 33.8 percent, and agriculture-forestry-aquaculture 29 percent) remains below the potential, advantages and intentions of the local people and authorities. Therefore, “development remaining below its potential” is a correct assessment.
In recent years, under the leadership of Nam Dinh Party Commission, the management of the authorities at various levels and concerted efforts of the local people, Nam Dinh has recorded encouraging achievements in socio-economic development, stable growth rates, improved living conditions, upgraded cultural and social life and secured national defence. With comparative advantages as a region of culture and patriotic tradition, rich in human resources and agricultural development, existing natural resources, the centre of the Red River Delta and improved infrastructure, Nam Dinh can attract investment, transform its economic structure and increase socio-economic development in the years to come.
In the Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) report by VCCI in recent years, Nam Dinh places in the second half of the list. Evidently, businesses are unhappy with the investment environment in the province, what do you think?
The PCI includes policy on development of private sector, transparency, labour training, dynamism and leadership, time for implementation of State law and regulations, preferential treatment for State-owned enterprises, unofficial expenses, land access and stability of land use, and market integration expenses. Nam Dinh is rated low in land access, time consuming and dynamism, and high in support services and market integration expenses. The main reason for low ranking is the slow reform in comparison with other provinces. In fact, in 2010 the province has increased its standing up to 10 places. Furthermore, the increase in ranking is equally important as the standing. When all provinces and cities focus on the improvement of investment environment, it is not easy to improve the standing while the point continues to increase year by year and reaffirms the progress of the provinces. In 2011, Nam Dinh province is very active in improving its investment environment with “Post-PCI announcement” seminars to improve PCI, accelerate administrative reform and improve business and investment environment. With existing achievements and determination of the province, I believe that Nam Dinh will improve its PCI standing in the coming years.
Which areas should Nam Dinh focus investments on?
Resolution XVIII of the Nam Dinh Party Convention set forth the objectives of socio-economic developments in 2010-2015 as: “Mobilizing and utilizing most effectively all resources, promoting cultural-education strength and advantages in industry, agriculture and sea-based economy to make a new, fast, strong and stable steps in socio-economic development.” I believe that this is the most appropriate orientation for Nam Dinh. To implement it, besides maximizing internal strength and the support of the central government, Nam Dinh should attract investment from ODA, FDI, and public-private cooperation (PPP), while focusing on the natural and social resources of the province.
As mentioned above, natural and social conditions of Nam Dinh aremost favourable for attracting local and foreign investment. Natural conditions of Nam Dinh help produce famous agricultural products such as Hai Hau rice and Giao Thuy oysters. The province is fully capable of developing hi-tech agriculture. It can learn from the experiences of other countries and territories such as the US, Israel, Thailand and Taiwan to increase cooperation and develop agricultural production. In addition, the province should also attract investment in developing its sea-based economy and aquaculture. With hi-tech agriculture and coastline economy, rural areas in Nam Dinh will make big steps forward in line with the national programme of rural development initiated by the Party and government.
 Regarding investments in the industrial sector, Nam Dinh should call for investments in textile and garment, fashion, supporting industries and high technology. Those areas are both appropriate, given existing conditions in the province, and in line with central government policy.
To develop the comparative edge of Nam Dinh in culture and education and the advantage of Nam Dinh City as the centre of the Red River Delta, the provinceshould become a major centre of vocational training to meet the demand for skilled labour to drive economic development in the province and other industrial centres in Northern Vietnam. Together with central health centres, the province should attract investments to develop satellite hospitals and expand health service in Nam Dinh.
 VCCI, in its capacity as the biggest trade-investment promotion organization in Vietnam, is committed to cooperate and go hand in hand with Nam Dinh authorities and businesses to attract investments and step up cooperation between the Nam Dinh business community and local and foreign partners to achieve economic objectives.
I wish to take this opportunity to extend to the Nam Dinh Party Commission, authorities and people best wishes of unity and concerted efforts to maintain high growth rates, and to develop potential and advantages in attracting investments and all-round socio-economic development.