Gia Lai Mobilising Resources for Social- Economic Development

5:01:19 PM | 25/9/2013

In recent years, despite being affected by negative impacts of ongoing financial crisis and economic recession, Gia Lai province has managed to achieve and exceed many social and economic development targets thanks to the determination, unity and consensus of the Party, government and people in the province. Vietnam Business Forum has an interview with Mr Pham The Dung, Deputy Secretary of the Provincial Party Committee and Chairman of Gia Lai People’s Committee, on some outstanding achievements as well as solutions for socioeconomic development in the past time. Hoang Ngoc reports.
Could you briefly introduce the economic development and social security situations in Gia Lai province in the past time?
As you know, 2012 was a very tough year for the world and domestic economies. With good anticipation of hardships, the Provincial Party Committee and the Provincial People's Committee directed competent agencies, enterprises and people to aggressively implement plans and tasks, and seek solutions to ongoing difficulties right from the beginning of the year. Therefore, most targets in 2012 were achieved and exceeded. GDP growth was 12.9 percent, a little lower than the target of 13 percent; GDP per capita was US$1,242, an increase of 21.2 percent over 2011; State Budget revenue reached VND3,630 billion, bigger than the target of VND3,400 billion; exports grossed US$450 million, an increase of 30 percent; social security was guaranteed. The province also successfully applied the national poverty reduction, employment, vocational training and manpower export programmes. In late 2012, the province’s poverty rate was lowered to 19.92 percent. Social and economic infrastructure continued to be developed. The face of urban and rural areas has been uplifted. The material and spiritual life of the people, especially ethnic minorities in remote areas, was improved. National security, social order and safety were guaranteed.
2013 was seen as another rough year. Prolonged droughts at the start of the year caused farming and hydropower to miss targets. Falling prices of exported agricultural products reduced export turnover. But, under the direction of the Provincial Party Committee and the Provincial People’s Committee, in the first six months, economic growth reached 10.3 percent; and State Budget’s revenue totalled VND1,810 billion, equal to 50.3 percent of the plan.
What solutions did Gia Lai province take in order to maintain economic development targets and ensure social security in the context of economic hardship?
Global and domestic economies are forecast to undergo continued difficulty. Hence, in the coming time, the province will focus on reviewing development programs, projects and tasks as specified in Resolution 01/NQ-CP and Resolution 02/NQ-CP of the Government, and Decision 95/QD-UBND dated February 8, 2013 of the Provincial People’s Committee on measures and plans to achieve economic growth of 13.8 percent in the last six months of 2013.
Accordingly, the province has directed farmers to expand their cultivation areas and enhance productivity. It has also stepped up the implementation of national target programmes on new countryside construction, aiming to add six communes to the list of communes meeting new countryside standards.
As for industrial production, the province ensures the sufficient supply of raw materials for processing plants, diversifies product categories, and expands hydropower production. Gia Lai also prevents losses and leakages in agricultural product purchase, transportation services, and mining activities.
As for the service sector, the province facilitates businesses to develop services and raise service quality to achieve the export turnover target and increase total turnover. The province also steps up construction progress to complete all construction plans before December 31, 2013.
To enhance competitiveness and create a favourable business environment for enterprises, what measures has Gia Lai province applied?
The highland province of Gia Lai is still quite poor. Although investment attraction has made significant contributions to social and economic development, the scale of the provincial economy remains very small. Meanwhile, the potential for development is huge.
Regarding investment, in April 2013, Gia Lai province collaborated with the Central Steering Committee for Central Highlands, the Ministry of Planning and Investment and the State Bank of Vietnam to organise the second investment promotion and social security conference for the Central Highlands. At this event, Gia Lai announced 17 projects in need of investment capital from 2013 to 2015, and awarded four investment certificates to four projects with a combined registered capital value of VND14,983 billion (over US$700 million). The province has also created favourable conditions for businesses to invest in rubber plantation, cattle husbandry, hospitals, schools, golf courses, supermarkets, and many other fields.
Gia Lai province has quickened administrative reform and improved the investment environment. Apart from investment incentive policies stipulated by the Government, the Provincial People’s Committee has issued a number of incentive and support policies for investors specified in Decision 05/2012/QD-UBND dated March 19, 2012.
ODA is now an important capital source. Japan’s ODA is always highly expected and appreciated. How has ODA capital in general and Japan’s ODA in particular contributed to Gia Lai province’s infrastructure investment and socioeconomic development?
Gia Lai province has drawn 39 ODA projects funded by the Government of Japan since 1995, with total pledged capital of US$24.1 million, accounting for 15 percent of total ODA in the province. Particularly, 29 projects got loans of US$13.1 million and 10 projects got non-refundable support of US$11 million. So far, 34 projects have been completed and put into use and five projects are underway. As much as US$18.5 million has been disbursed, reaching 76.8 percent of the pledged value. The Japanese Government financed infrastructure, health and agricultural technique projects. ODA projects have produced certain effects, especially in infrastructure development, poverty reduction, equipment supplement, capacity-building training, and medical checks for the poor. These projects have indeed contributed to the social and economic growth and improved quality of life.
On August 11, 2009 Gia Lai province issued Directive 11/2009/CT-UBND on ODA management and use. Hence, ODA projects in the province have been carried out more favourably.
However, information about ODA sources, policies, and financing conditions of local international donors is very limited; hence, the mobilisation and attraction of this capital source is not high. The number of ODA projects in the province remains modest compared to the national average, and most projects have small financing scale and are coordinated by central agencies. To draw more ODA in the coming time, Gia Lai province will coordinate with ministries and central agencies to study the scale, nature and applicable conditions to call appropriate ODA projects and use this source of finance more effectively.