4:45:36 PM | 14/5/2014
To learn more about An Giang province’s socioeconomic development situation and its efforts to improve the business and investment environment, Vietnam Business Forum Magazine has an interview with Mr Vuong Binh Thanh, Chairman of An Giang Provincial People's Committee. Hoang Ngoc reports.
2013 and early 2014 remained a challenging time for many localities and the country to achieve socioeconomic development targets. How has An Giang province realised its socioeconomic development targets?
In 2013, the world economy recovered at a relatively slow pace while the domestic production remained in difficulty. Most local companies had not recovered their full operations while soaring input costs substantially affected livelihoods of people and destabilised incomes from agricultural production.
To realise its socioeconomic development objectives, the Provincial People's Committee directed departments and localities to apply many solutions, mechanisms and policies introduced by the Government, build and implement various programmes, schemes and plans appropriate to local actual contexts and conditions. Hence, the province’s GDP growth rate reached 6.58 percent in 2013. Specifically, the agricultural, forestry and fisheries sector posted a 1.52 percent growth, the industry and construction sector saw a 6.34 percent expansion, and the service sector enjoyed a 9.57 percent growth. By economic structure, agriculture, forestry and fisheries sector accounted for 28.47 percent of the province’s GDP, the industry and construction sector made up for 12.4 percent, and the service sector contributed 59.13 percent. GDP per capita reached VND33.077 million (US$1,572).
In the first quarter of 2014, the province focused on carrying out socioeconomic development and budget collection tasks set for 2014. In spite of enormous effort, the province did not achieve desired results because prices and markets of local key products declined. The first-quarter GDP was estimated to climb 3.25 percent. Particularly, the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sector dipped 0.66 percent; the industry and construction sector expanded 2.84 percent; and the service sector rose 6.54 percent. The export turnover was projected at US$190.5 million, down 9.7 percent over year on year and equal to 19 percent of the full-year plan.
Industrial production always plays an important role in the economy and this field has made robust development steps in the past years in An Giang province. However, this sector is being dragged by slow economic recovery. So, what has An Giang province done to help local businesses to deal with difficulties?
Rice and fish, two key products of the province, continued to face price and market difficulties. Therefore, to support businesses to overcome difficulties in the context of yet-to-recovered economy, An Giang province has focused on some key solutions like enhancing the role of Economic Advisory Workgroup; actively grasping difficulties and problems facing enterprises, following new policies to actively cooperate with relevant bodies to support businesses to surmount difficulties and assist businesses to get benefit from State policies to maintain and expand business and production activities to complete plans set for 2014, especially in production, processing and export of local strategic commodities. At the same time, the province has created a favourable business environment and ensured transparency to satisfy international integration conditions.
The province has also intensified trade promotion in domestic and foreign markets and diversified local products to meet a wider range of customer demands. The province also advised and supported enterprises to build practical business plans and strategies and build up relations with other enterprises to expand export markets.
Could you tell us about the province's socioeconomic development objectives and orientations in 2014 and beyond?
2014 is the fourth year of the 5-year development plan from 2011 to 2015 and it plays a very important in realising the targets set for the 2011-2015 period. So, when the province works out any plans, it must place on the overall context of local, national, regional and global context in order to have the best ones for the overall growth of the province.
The province advocates maintaining reasonable and sustainable economic growth to ensure sufficient resources for successfully implementing social welfare policies; accelerating application and transfer of advanced technology and biotechnology to production and processing; restructuring agricultural production; upholding the cultural and spiritual life of the people; carrying out poverty reduction, vocational training and employment policies; and speeding up public administration reform, maintaining political stability, national defence, security and social order and safety.
According to the provincial competitiveness index (PCI) reports in recent years, An Giang province’s PCI has made impressive progress. Could you briefly tell us about the province’s efforts to raise PCI and, above all, create a conducive business environment for every enterprise?
In recent years, the province’s PCI ranking increased faster than peers in the Mekong Delta region and the country. This proved that the province’s quick responses to feedbacks from the business community. In recent years, the province’s PCI jumped very rapidly. In 2012, the province ranked second among 63 provinces and cities nationwide and the second in the Mekong Delta (after just Dong Thap province). This proved that provincial leaders timely helped enterprises to deal with their difficulties and problems to develop business operations, and thus improve the local investment and business environment.
According to the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), which created the annual PCI Reports, in 2013, PCI of An Giang province dropped 4.35 points to 59.07 points and lost its standing from the second to the 23rd
position - staying in the group of “good localities.” This result surprised An Giang province. To improve the current status, the Provincial People's Committee has advised the Provincial Party Committee to issue Directive on PCI Improvement, expected to come into effect in May 2014. The province also set up the Steering Committee for PCI Improvement and organised Conference on PCI 2013 Analysis. It also built the PCI Improvement Plan for 2014 and beyond.