Bac Kan Effectively Tapping Resources, Becoming Above-average Province

2:24:23 PM | 4/4/2016

Overcoming common difficulties and individual challenges, in the 2011-2015 period, Bac Kan province has always upheld the spirit of solidarity, determined to be innovative and creative, and successfully implemented many objectives and development solutions. Accordingly, economic growth reached 13.5 per cent a year in the period, as high as the average growth of northern midland and mountainous provinces. These achievements lay the groundwork for officials and people in Bac Kan province to make more efforts in the coming years to soon become an above-average province in the region. Vietnam Business Forum Magazine has an interview with Mr Ly Thai Hai, Chairman of the Bac Kan Provincial People’s Committee. Ngo Khuyen reports.
Overcoming the inherent difficulties as the country's poorest province, what achievements has Bac Kan made in economic development in the 2010-2015 phase?
In the past five years, Bac Kan province attained many important, comprehensive results. Economic growth stayed at a reasonable level of 13.5 per cent a year and GDP per capita was VND24.4 million in 2015, 1.75 times higher than in 2010.
The important highlight in Bac Kan province’s economic development in the past term was its rightness in development direction, in which agriculture and forestry were development drives. The province established centralised farming zones like orange and tangerine areas in Bac Kan town, Cho Don and Bach Thong districts; arrowroot vermicelli production areas in Ba Be and Na Ri districts. Local specialties are seedless persimmon, arrowroot vermicelli and tangerine. Agriculture and forestry had a high average growth of 10.5 per cent, higher than the average rate of the country. Every year, the province planted 12,000 ha of forests, raising its forest coverage from 58.7 per cent in 2011 to nearly 71 per cent in 2015 and becoming one of localities with the highest forest coverage rate in the country.
Industry shifted in a positive direction where the share of processing industries grew and the share of mining industries was reduced. Thanh Binh Industrial Park completed its first phase of development and started to bear fruit. The province licensed 89 investment projects with a total registered capital of VND11,249 billion as of the end of 2015, mainly engaged in mining (ore, lead, gold, placer, zinc oxide powder). Four companies are investing in industrial zones with a total capital of VND2,375 billion.
The service sector expanded 18 per cent a year, equal to the average growth rate of northern midland and mountainous provinces. The presence of Saigon Tourism Corporation is expected to change the face of Bac Kan tourism.
Budget revenue steadily increased 9.6 per cent a year during the term. Trading, service and tourism activities developed. 95 per cent of households had access to electricity and 100 per cent of urban households and 95 per cent of rural households had access to hygienic water. Social security was guaranteed, and defence and security was maintained.
The socioeconomic situation, from urban to rural areas, saw significant changes, with people’s livelihoods constantly improved. Livelihoods of farmers in remote areas got better thanks to the province’s investment for upgrading social infrastructure like transport, irrigation, clean water, electricity, education and health systems. Especially, the province effectively managed and used resources from Programme 30a in two poorest districts of Pac Nam and Ba Be. Hence, poverty rate in Bac Kan fell from 32 per cent in 2010 to 11 per cent in 2015. In addition, the restructuring of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) was deployed as scheduled.
Bac Kan province is determined to become an above-average province in the region by 2020. What directions and solutions has the province taken to accomplish this goal?
The Resolution of the 11th Bac Kan Provincial Party Congress (2015-2020 term) stated “Strengthening leadership capacity and combativeness of the entire Party; promoting democracy and strength of national unity; effectively exploiting resources for fast, sustainable development to make Bac Kan an above-average province in the region”. Agriculture and forestry will be the centre of development and the province will have encouragement policies on the development of high tech agriculture and forestry. The province will also tap potential for tourism, industrial and service development; take care of livelihoods of peoples in remote areas and ethnic minorities; and build up the local government at all levels. In all, Bac Kan strives to become an above-average province in the region by 2020.
To accomplish this goal soon, Bac Kan province will consistently carry out multiple directions and measures to promote comprehensive development. Clearly defining that agriculture and forestry is the key economic boost, the province will continue to promote agricultural restructuring scheme and enhance agricultural production efficiency by linking processing and branding of important products like arrowroot vermicelli, orange, tangerine, seedless persimmon, and deploy smart agricultural production models basing on VietGap standards. Bac Kan will also speed up new countryside construction progress by restructuring agricultural sector together with new rural development programmes and completing infrastructure system for the 2016-2020 period, and accelerate economic development as per Resolution 11/NQ-HDND dated April 3, 2015 of the Provincial People’s Council.
The industrial sector will also carry out consistent solutions to improve the business environment and the provincial competitiveness index (PCI) according to Plan 183 / KH-UBND dated June 16, 2015 of the Provincial People’s Committee. Thanh Binh Industrial Park will be a driving force for industrial development, and Bac Kan province will therefore urgently invest in building the second phase of this industrial park.
The province will focus resources for building synchronous transport system in the 2016-2020 period; enhance the efficiency of Thai Nguyen - Cho Moi Highway; and strengthen ODA capital mobilisation for projects in the province, including ADB 4 project for Cao Bang, Bac Kan, Lang Son and Ha Giang provinces and Bac Kan - Cao Bang Highway.
On trade and tourism, the province will effective deploy Ba Be tourism site construction plan to 2030; cooperate with Saigon Tourism Corporation to accelerate infrastructure construction and tourism development in Ba Be tourism site and attract new investors to invest in the Ba Be tourism zone. Bac Kan will continue to effectively carry out trade promotion programmes, persuade Vietnamese people to use Vietnamese goods and expand the price stabilisation programme.
How has public administration reform of the province gone?
Bac Kan province will resolutely and effectively implement the public administration reform programme and Directive 11/CT-UBND dated September 21, 2015 on strengthening the responsibility of heads of administrative agencies in administrative procedure reform. Accordingly, the province will focus on eight groups of solutions: Enhancing guidance and administration in public administration reform; reforming the administrative apparatus towards simplicity and efficiency; raising the quality of cadres and civil servants; carrying out fast-track single-window mechanism for handling administrative procedures; ensure strict compliance with regulations on construction and issuance of legal documents; reviewing and simplifying administrative procedures to ease burdens on citizens in handling administrative procedures; maintaining and improving the efficiency of self-financing mechanism in provincial and district administrative agencies and raising quality of community health services; applying information technology in the provision of online public services; and integrating the use of information technology with the application of ISO 9001:2008 quality management system to State administrative bodies.
In 2016, the first year of the five-year plan, the Provincial People's Committee issued an action plan for controlling administrative procedures as per Decision 2030/QD-UBND, which specifies enhancing the capacity of public officials and employees in performing and controlling tasks related to administrative procedures; controlling the quality of regulations on administrative procedures; raising the publicity and transparency of administrative procedures; reviewing administrative procedures; receiving and processing comments, feedback and recommendations from individuals and organisations on regulations on administrative procedures; strengthening communications on administrative procedure control; and examining results of administrative procedure control in provincial, district and communal levels.
The review of administrative regulations and procedures will be focused in such sectors and branches as the Departments of Justice; Natural Resources and Environment; Interior Affairs; Culture, Sports and Tourism; and Agriculture and Rural Development. Provincial departments and District/Town People’s Committees have reviewed 85 administrative procedures, starting from January 1, 2016 to July 15, 2016. 
The province will step up public administration reform to build a citizen-centred administrative system featured by cleanness, democracy, effectiveness and efficiency; apply information technology and modern tools to improve the quality and effectiveness of administrative reforms; and standardise qualifications of civil servants, as well as codes of conduct for public employees.
Do you have anything to share with the business community in Bac Kan province?
Investors in Bac Kan province may not have as good natural conditions as in other localities, but I believe that the province’s support and cooperation will satisfy every investor and business. Consistently supporting investors and enterprises to do business in the province, we are committed to complying with current regulations and providing the highest incentives for any individual and organisation investing in the province. In the coming time, we will continue to strengthen State management on investment; review, amend and supplement relevant regulations; and promote administrative reforms to better the environment investment and provide favourable climate for businesses. We always welcome all domestic and foreign investors to do business in Bac Kan province.