Son La: Efforts for Better Investment Environment

9:10:07 AM | 1/10/2014

Son La has great potential for the development of industries, agriculture, forestry and fisheries. Thanks to the efforts to tap the potential and advantages of the province for economic development, the province has managed to positively shift its economic structure, with GDP increased by 10.02 percent and 16 of 17 economic indicators fully met. In 2014, Son La targets GDP growth of 11.5 percent. To learn more about the efforts of developing the society and economy and attracting new investment, Vietnam Business Forum interviewed Mr Cam Ngoc Minh, Chairman of the People's Committee of Son La.
Could you tell us about the socio-economic development of Son La Province in the recent years?
Under the leadership of the local governments at all levels, Son La province has overcome difficulties and challenges and proactively implemented fully and timely the mechanisms and policies of the Government. Therefore, the socio-economic development of the province has had many positive changes. From early 2014 until now, the application of effective solutions to remove difficulties for enterprises and promote production has prospered the economy of Son La. In the first 6 months of 2014, the gross domestic products of the province, compared to 2010, are estimated to rise by 8.93 percent over the first 6 months of 2013. The products of agriculture, forestry and fisheries have risen by 3.06 percent, the products of the industrial and construction sectors have increased by 11.14 percent and the products in the services sector have grown by 11.24 percent. Many of the essential infrastructure works of the industrial parks have been improved or completed. In addition, Son La has also formed industrial areas such as Moc Chau, Phu Yen, and Muong La. These are convenient places for investors to contribute to Son La to create jobs, accelerate economic restructuring towards sustainability and quickly improve the skill level of the ethnic minority labour force.
Besides these achievements, the province is facing shortcomings in some areas; for example, the economic growth is not commensurate with the potentials and advantages; the implementation of the investment projects is still slow; the administrative reform has not really met the requirements of socio-economic restructuring; and the level of the information technology application is still weak. These are the common restrictions of the mountainous areas and the overall context of the national economy. However, the main subjective reason comes from the leaders of the departments and the local organisations who did not seriously accelerate the implementation of the projects. The limitations and shortcomings have directly affected the performances and the outcomes of the economic development activities of the province.
What have you been/will be doing to promote the province to be a well-performing province of the country in the spirit of the Resolution of the Provincial Party Congress XIII?
The provincial leadership has instructed agencies at all levels to effectively exploit the potential advantages of the province to boost economic development and sustainability, reduce poverty, improve people's living standards, ensure social security and stabilise political security and social order. Besides, the province will timely and effectively propose solutions to remove difficulties for enterprises and economic sectors, review projects, create jobs and increase state budget revenue. The province has also actively adopted investment promotion activities and laid a favourable platform for the development of the economic sectors. In addition, the province will also focus its resources on compensation and resettlement to accelerate the implementation of programmes and projects, vocational training, and job creation for the households. It will further promote the implementation of rural development programmes associated with the stabilisation and improvement of the living standards and production of the people in the harsh areas. The province also is focusing on the cultivation of rubber trees and the restoration and maintenance of the forestry resources, as well as investment in the animal husbandry, especially livestock, bulls, and breeding cows. There are many supports for farmers, such as investment in the construction of sheds, the extension of raw materials for livestock, the low credit packages for farmers to raise cattle, and other activities to accelerate the raising, processing and exporting of sturgeon.
What direction and policies will you adopt to create favourable conditions for investors and improve the provincial competitiveness index (PCI)?
According the PCI report released by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 2013, the score of the the responsibility and capacity of the leadership of the province has decreased. Son La province has issued Decision 991/QD-UBND to improve the business environment and enhance the competitiveness of Son La province. The Decision aims to specify action plans and implement policies to create a favourable business environment in all economic sectors as well as develop the infrastructure system with a focus on the transportation system, promote the application of the information technology in sectors and provide measures to improve the quality of the education and training. The province is positively improving the business environment and the quality of the administrative reform procedures to reduce the time and cost of administrative procedures, ensure transparency and enhance the accountability of governmental administration. Besides, with the goals of enhancing the PCI ranking by 2015 to be among the top 25 provinces, the province first will fix and improve the low indicators in 2013 and gradually jump to the group of the provinces with the relatively high PCI.
Specifically, the departments, agencies and the People's Committees of the districts and cities are consistent with the mission and key solutions of Resolution 19 / NQ-CP on March 18, 2014 of the Government to improve the business environment and the national competitiveness. The province is also improving the awareness of the officials of the roles and functions of the PCI, which will help them to quickly address problems, thus helping enterprises to develop business production and operation. The province will also review administrative procedures, especially the administrative procedures related to PCI indicators, to propose the plans to simplify administrative procedures and shorten the resolution time. The One –Stop -Shop administration model will be piloted in a some departments and people's committees of the districts and cities before the model will be extended. The province also publishes the information of the administrative procedures on the information board and websites of the authorities related to the administrative procedures. The province also encourages and directs the authorities and the enterprises in all economic sectors to boost the technological innovation and the application of the information technology in the production and business activities, construction, trademark in order to enhance the competitiveness.