Ba Ria - Vung Tau Develops Comprehensive, Sustainable Economy

3:40:34 PM | 11/1/2013

After 20 years of construction and development, Ba Ria - Vung Tau has utilised its comparative advantages, tapping its oil and gas resources and abundant land fund to become the fastest-growing, biggest economy with top GDP per capita in the southern key economic zone. As it is never satisfied with what it has achieved, the province is still striving to become an industrial, seaport-based economy. Vietnam Business Forum Magazine’s reporter has an exclusive interview with Mr. Tran Minh Sanh, Chairman of Ba Ria - Vung Tau Provincial People's Committee, on this topic. Minh Hieu and Le Thom report.
Could you briefly introduce the most notable achievements of Ba Ria - Vung Tau province in the past years?
In the past years, the province has attained important social and economic development achievements. The economy has continuously maintained high growth and its structure has been reasonably and positively shifted toward the desired form. In 2011, GDP growth was 10 per cent and the economic structure was 64 per cent industry and construction, 31.7 per cent services; and 4.3 percent agriculture, forestry and fishery.
Industry is developed in the right direction with good exploitation of oil and gas advantages, the support of the deepwater seaport system, and the economy shifted towards industrialisation and modernisation. Industrial output value increased 2.31 times. As of 2011, the province set up 14 industrial parks with a total area of about 8,400 ha. Many investment projects important to the national economy and the southern key economic region are located in the province’s industrial zones, including Phu My power centre; Nam Con Son gas distribution complex, nitrogenous fertiliser factories, steel mills and gas processing facilities.
Seaport strengths are being promoted with the aim of turning the province into the gateway of the southern key economic region. The Ba Ria - Vung Tau port complex is planned to develop into a national general port and a gateway port to international destinations, serving as the driving force for the development of the southern key economic region and the country. The ports are capable of accommodating vessels of 130,000 - 200,000 DWT. The province’s port system is being built. To date, 24 terminals have been put into operation with a total designed capacity of approximately 80 million tonnes a year, mainly concentrated in the Thi Vai - Cai Mep area. Cargo throughput at the province’s ports was 52 million tonnes in 2011.
Tourism gradually asserts its role and position as a driving economic sector. Many major tourism projects have been invested and operated, such as Thuy Van Resort, Long Hai Resort, Ho Tram - Ho Coc Resort, Binh Chau Mineral Water Stream Resort, and Con Dao Resort. The infrastructure system serving tourism development is increasingly synchronised and modernised with many high-grade tourism products.
The provincial urban system is planned and developed rationally. Planned urban centres in the province are basically completed with synchronous technical and social infrastructure like Vung Tau City, Ba Ria Town, the townships of Long Dien, Long Hai and Ngai Giao, and the central area of Con Dao Island. Besides, the province focuses on developing Con Dao Island district into a high-quality tourism - service economic zone.
Along with economic development, the province also pays attention to cultural and social development to ensure social security, and attains important achievements. The education system is improved at all levels to become a modern, high quality system. Public health care and protection is promoted.
What are the advantages and difficulties of Ba Ria - Vung Tau province in economic development?
Our biggest advantage is how we utilise our comparative advantages to become a major economy of the nation and the region. The province has attracted more investment capital for development, and formed industrial, port and tourism centres. Budgetary revenue has kept growing and made important contributions to the national budget.
Public administration reform has accelerated while the province also sped up investment promotion and image popularity in order to catch the interest and attention of potential domestic and foreign investors. Thereby, the business climate is constantly improved. The government always stands side by side with investors to support them in dealing with difficult problems and help them keep project deployment on schedule.
However, the province also confronts certain limitations. A lot of potentialities and advantages of the province have not been fully tapped, while the competitiveness of its economic sectors is not high. The province’s infrastructure does not fully meet and support development requirements, while service sectors, though developed, are still limited. Administrative reform improves but falls short of expectations. Several aspects like education, training and social security do not meet practical requirements.
For the period from 2011 to 2015 and orientation towards 2020, the province has defined its goal as "Robustly developing the marine economy, building Ba Ria - Vung Tau into a modern industrial, seaport province". Would you be kind enough to tell more about this objective? What solutions will the province take to successfully realise this aim?
Based on the advantages of geographical position, natural conditions and economic potential, Ba Ria Vung Tau has aimed to become a modern industrial, port province. Therefore, in the coming time, the province focuses on developing and attracting investment into support industries and logistics services. The government has directed competent agencies and localities to increase support for businesses and investors to deal with difficulties and create the most favourable conditions for them to develop business in accordance with the law. At the same time, provincial leaders stand side by side with businesses to help them withstand challenges in order to create a new investment magnet for support industries and logistics services, as oriented.
To achieve the above objectives, in the coming time, Ba Ria - Vung Tau province will focus on implementing a number of key tasks.
Firstly, the province carries out economic restructuring programmes, improves growth quality, efficiency and competitiveness of the economy, increases the service sector proportion of the local GDP, and makes port and logistics development key tasks. It also promotes maritime and coastal advantages to develop port, shipping, post-port, tourism, oil and gas services, and invests in the development of modern, high-quality services.
Secondly, the province selectively attracts more investment capital into industrial zones with highest priority given to projects using modern technologies that economically utilise resources, energy, water and land, and are friendly to the environment and meet sustainable development requirements.
Thirdly, the province builds and develops itself as a regional logistics centre. It will develop port logistics services at Cai Mep - Thi Vai, Vung Tau and Con Dao port zones, form cargo distribution centres in association with port and service development. It will continue building and completing deepwater port systems, training human resources for the logistics industry, simplifying and computerising administrative procedures, especially customs formalities.
Fourthly, the province promotes tourism service development and integrates marine - island tourism in order to create a breakthrough in tourism product development like entertainment, marine and ecological tourism. It will also develop Con Dao Island district in the predefined direction of high-grade tourism - service economic zone.
Fifthly, Ba Ria - Vung Tau province raises investment capital for infrastructure development, upgrades and improves the transport infrastructure system to link deepwater ports, roads, sea routes in Ba Ria - Vung Tau with other provinces in the southern key economic region and other regions to facilitate cargo transportation and circulation. Key traffic routes include Thi Vai - Cai Mep inter-port road, Ho Chi Minh City - Bien Hoa - Vung Tau highway and railway, and roads connecting National Road 51 to Cai Mep port area.
Sixthly, the province continues accelerating public administration reform with clearly-defined, simple and transparent contents and procedures, allowing administrative procedures to be completed under the single-window mechanism at all levels and agencies. The province also strengthens discipline to enhance the responsibility of public servants.
Thank you very much!