Quang Tri Practically Improving Business Environment to Attract Investment

12:54:19 PM | 22/10/2014

Since the Second Thai–Lao Friendship Bridge connecting Savannakhet province of Laos with Mukdahan province of Thailand was inaugurated on December 20, 2006 to open the the East-West Economic Corridor (EWEC), the economic development cooperation between countries along this corridor has been enhanced. Particularly, the opening of La Lay International Border Gate - the second international border gate of Quang Tri province - is expected to be an important chain of the EWEC, to exert a pull on investors and boost socioeconomic development.
To learn more about the province’s efforts to attract investment capital, Vietnam Business Forum hosts a meeting with Mr Tran Duc Tam, Director of Department of Planning and Investment of Quang Tri province. Vu Thuy reports.
Could you please tell us about Quang Tri province’s remarkable results in investment attraction?
Quang Tri province granted investment certificates to 43 projects with a total registered capital of more than VND11,432.06 in 2013 and in the first six months of 2014, including four foreign-invested projects with VND348.5 billion and 39 domestic investment projects with more than VND11,083.56 billion. Well performing companies in Quang Tri province include MDF VRG Quang Tri Company, CP Livestock Joint Stock Company, Hoa Tho Garment and Textile Company, Camel Rubber Company and Uni President Breeding Fish Joint Stock Company.
Quang Tri province also actively supports investors to prepare feasibility study (FS) reports, completes land recovery and leasing procedures, grants land-use rights certificates, and plans resettlement zones to prepare for the deployment of major investment projects in the form of BOT (build - operate - transfer) and PPP (public - private partnership) investment approved by the Government, ministries and central agencies. Typical projects include the 1,200-MW thermal power plant (US$2.26 billion) and the Nhung River water supply plant with a daily processing capacity of 50,000 cubic metres (VND531 billion). Hopefully, these projects will create strong impetus for the province to draw more investment for socioeconomic development in the coming time.
So, what fields and objects will the province give priority to?
As a central coastal province, Quang Tri holds geographical advantages and serves as an important transport hub of the country and the region. The province lies on the North-South traffic axis which links arterial roads like National Road 1A, North-South Railway and Ho Chi Minh Road and on the East - West traffic axis which connects to National Road 9 and to East - West Economic Corridor formed by Laos, Thailand and Myanmar which runs through Lao Bao International Border Gate to central seaports of Vietnam like Cua Viet, Chan May and Da Nang. These are favourable conditions for Quang Tri to gradually become an attractive address for investors.
The top priority of the province is to mobilise all social resources for development, especially from the non-State sector. The province attaches particular importance to driving projects to create ripple effects and groundbreaking development for Quang Tri province in the coming time. Based on its existing potential and strengths, the province will focus on attracting investment capital into industrial, infrastructure, trade, tourism and agricultural processing projects. It specially prioritises large-scale projects like US$750-million My Thuy deepwater seaport which is capable of receiving ships of 20,000 - 50,000 DWT, a gas processing plant with a yearly capacity of 1-3 billion cubic metres which sources gas offshore from Quang Tri province, and southeast infrastructure system.
With one economic corridor and two international border gates, in addition to investment for the development of developing Lao Bao Special Economic Commercial Zone, the province will also call investment capital for La Lay International Border Gate to attract investors from Vietnam, Laos and other nations to this area to speed up the construction progress of infrastructure works and economic establishments in border gate economic zones, so as to boost the overall development of East - West Economic Corridor as well as ASEAN connectivity.
How has the province gained the trust of businesses, especially careful FDI enterprises, in the current fiercely competitive and volatile environment?
Compared to other central coastal provinces, Quang Tri has its typical potential and advantages but investment attraction results show that it remains unattractive to investors. So, to enhance the efficiency of investment projects in the province in general and FDI projects in particular, Quang Tri will aggressively implement three breakthrough solutions under the spirit of the Resolution of the 11th National Party Congress.
The first is to improve the investment and business environment and raise provincial competitiveness index (PCI) and public administration reform index (Par Index). Deeply aware of the importance of improving the investment and business environment in general and administrative reform in particular in investment attraction and executing Resolution 19/NQ-CP of the Government dated March 18, 2014 on primary tasks and solutions to improvement of business environment and national competitiveness, Quang Tri province timely launched the Action Programme for improving business environment and the PCI in 2014-2020. The programme clearly defined objectives for the 2014-2015 period: Bringing Quang Tri province to the group of good PCI. The province also strives to bring its PCI to the Top 20 or Top 25 groups in the 2016-2020 period.
The Provincial People's Committee also established the Steering Committee and its assistant apparatus in charge of achieving targets set in the Action Programme. The committee assigned PCI component indexes to provincial departments, branches and district governments, attaching accountability to agency heads in settling proposals and recommendations from businesses, and supporting and accompanying them in doing business in the localities. Furthermore, the Provincial People's Committee will continue to direct relevant bodies to drastically and effectively reform administrative procedures, particularly shortening the time for performing administrative procedures, especially those directly related to enterprises like business establishment and operation, investment procedures, tax procedures, customs procedures and land procedures in order to boost the satisfaction of enterprises in governmental agencies in charge of providing public services.
The second is to invest in infrastructure improvement. Quang Tri is a poor province with a limited budget for infrastructure development investment. Therefore, the province will adopt various investment forms and investment channels to mobilise all available sources of investment, including State budget, government bond funds, credit investment, official investment assistance (ODA), private investment, and public - private partnership (PPP). At the same time, the province will integrate investment sources to complete infrastructure systems in industrial zones, specially Nam Dong Ha Industrial Park, Quan Ngang Industrial Park, Lao Bao Special Economic Commercial Zone, Dong Nam Economic Zone, and upcoming La Lay International Border Gate Economic Zone.
While promoting investment in infrastructure works, Quang Tri province will effectively carry out ODA-funded projects like a US$101.6 million township development project along the Greater Mekong Subregion Corridor, the US$23.6-million first phase of water supply development project for Dong Ha City and the vicinity, the US$17.05-million water drainage and waste treatment project in Dong Ha City, the US$9.26-million water drainage and waste treatment project in Quang Tri Town, the US$19.2-million Thach Kim - Hien Hoa traffic route in Vinh Linh district. Hopefully, the successful implementation of these projects will positively and effectively contribute to the development of infrastructure systems to meet local socioeconomic development requirements and create favourable conditions attract domestic and foreign investors.
The third is to improve the quality of human resources. The biggest advantage of Quang Tri province is low labour costs, abundant human resources and young labour force (31.03 per cent of the workforce aged under 35). However, the quality of the human resources is low as only 41 per cent of the labour force was trained (only 31 per cent is professionally trained). To raise the quality of human resources, the province approved the human resource development plan for 2011-2020, in which the province placed focus on consistent, practical solutions. The province attaches much importance to mobilising all available resources for expanding training scale and enhancing the quality of professional training facilities. To date, the province has many educational and training institutions like the Branch of Hue University, Quang Tri Teacher Training College,
Quang Tri Vocational Training School, Mai Linh Vocational Training School, Agriculture and Rural Development Vocational Training School, Health School, Transport Technical School, and continuation education centres to meet market demand. Currently, the province is striving to upgrade the Quang Tri Teacher Training College to an education university, the Quang Tri Vocational Training School to a college in 2015, and Quang Tri Medical School to a college in late 2014. Additionally, Quang Tri will introduce policies to recruit experts and highly skilled workers to the province to meet the employment demand of investors.
While effectively executing the three abovementioned breakthrough solutions, Quang Tri province will plan industries and production zones, review investment incentive policies, step up investment promotion activities, and reshuffle investment promoting agencies to boost professionalism.
With the above solutions, we are confident that the province will achieve positive results in investment attraction to turn Quang Tri province into a dynamic growth engine of the central region and of Vietnam as a whole.