To carry out the objective of “effectively exploiting resources for rapid and sustainable development and lifting Bac Kan to the level of a relatively developed province in the region” as stated in the Resolution of the 11th Provincial Party Congress (2015 - 2020 term), Bac Kan province has applied many preferential mechanisms and policies, stepped up investment promotion, cleared bottlenecks and barriers in administrative procedures, and improved the quality of civil servants with a view to attracting investment capital into agriculture, forestry and tourism. Mr Tran Cong Hoa, Deputy Director of the Department of Planning and Investment of Bac Kan, has a conversation with Vietnam Business Forum on this matter. Ngo Khuyen reports.
What do you think about direct investment attraction of Bac Kan province?
In 2016 and the first six months of 2017, Bac Kan province granted investment certificates for 17 projects with a total registered capital of VND1,139 billion; adjusted two domestic direct investment (DDI) projects with a total capital of VND862.454 billion; and revoked the investment certificates of four projects worth VND497.09 billion. Thus, as of June 2016, Bac Kan attracted 102 DDI projects with VND11,945 billion and three FDI projects with US$2.3 million.
Direct investment projects contribute about 10 per cent to the annual gross domestic product (GDP) and 20 per cent to the provincial budget revenue and create 4,450 jobs. New projects have helped promote economic restructuring towards a higher share of agriculture and forestry in the economy, unlock investment resources, stimulate innovation and technology transfer and develop service industries. According to a survey conducted in 2015, the mining industry accounted for 54 per cent of total registered investment capital; the agricultural and forest sector accounted for 13 per cent of projects; and the service only took 8 per cent of projects and nearly 4 per cent of investment capital. Given their scales and local potential, existing investment projects have not paid as much tax as expected. Some projects are ineffective and labour-intensive. Previous investment projects did not take into account comparative advantages among regions, leading to transformation, termination and restructuring. Besides, some projects were delayed or handed over to new investors.
What are your opinions about local business development in the past time, particularly after the Government issued Resolution 35/NQ-CP on business support and development to 2020?
The Bac Kan Provincial People’s Committee has carried out many programmes and action plans while focusing on directing branches and localities to support enterprises in tackling administrative procedures, accessing land fund, and conducting investment studies. The provincial government promulgated the Action Programme for implementation of Government Resolution 35/NQ-CP dated May 16, 2016 on business support and development to 2020. The Chairman of the Provincial People's Committee committed to the VCCI President to create a favourable business environment for enterprises and at the same time directing departments, branches and localities to actively study and promulgate specific action plans to provide the best business investment environment for investors. The inter-agency one-stop single-window mechanism in business, tax code and seal registration is well operated. In 2016, the province had 92 new corporate start-ups and 40 corporate bankruptcies, mainly in construction and agriculture. By December 2016, Bac Kan had 788 active enterprises.
Although corporate establishments increase year after year, business performance remains difficult. For instance, mining companies are in hardship because of low mineral prices, while construction firms are hard hit by public investment reduction.
Given limited resources, what fields has Bac Kan province specifically focused investment attraction on to sharpen its competitive edge?
In the present period, Bac Kan province is determined to focus on attracting investment capital into agriculture and forestry. As for agricultural production, the province gives priority to production of high-quality rice, vegetables, fruits, tobacco, tea, and animal husbandry, while encouraging enterprises to shift from conventional production to commercial agricultural production. As for forestry, Bac Kan places importance on attracting enterprises to develop raw material areas for processing factories. In 2016 - 2020, the province planned to plant 32,500 ha of forest, or an average of 6,500 ha a year, to bring its total planted forest area to over 80,000 ha. The province also facilitated investment in timber processing, MDF production and wooden furniture production.
As for infrastructure development and public services, Bac Kan has continued to encourage and attract all resources to develop infrastructure in 2016 - 2020 like attracting investment capital to build cultural, tourism and entertainment works, with a focus placed on cultural and spiritual tourism development and construct urban, commercial and service infrastructure; accelerate infrastructure construction in industrial zones, communication and telecom facilities, and power grids; and upgrade trunk roads.
With respect to trade, service and tourism, Bac Kan has many potential advantages to develop ecological tourism and historical tourism together such as Ba Be National Park, Nam Cat Lake, Phu Thong - Deo Giang Victory Monument, Cho Don Wartime Safety Zone and Na Tu historical relic. The province encourages and facilitates domestic investors to develop and improve traditional services such as transport, commerce, hotel and restaurant to turn Bac Kan into a tourism centre in the northeast.
Regarding industrial development, the province places special priority on attracting projects that make industrial components. It is expanding the second phase of Thanh Binh Industrial Park while offering attractive treatments to lure investors. As for ongoing industrial production projects, Bac Kan will help investors to deal with emerging hardships to speed up their progress. The province prioritises agricultural and forest product processing and advocates dissolving ineffective projects to give opportunities for more feasible projects.
As an investment adviser, do you have anything to share with investors?
First and foremost, Bac Kan province will further perfect mechanisms and policies to support investment-prioritised areas, especially agriculture, forestry, tourism, infrastructure and public services, like land rent, labour supply and training, cooperation between vocational training facilities and investors, preferential income tax and import tax. It will increase business support services such as capital access and legal framework for bank services. Incentives and supports for enterprises and investors will be carried out swiftly.
In addition, the province has paced up administrative procedure reform according to the one-place single-window model and seriously applying the “Three No’s” principle: No trouble and harassment, no more than one delivery of project appraisal and approval documents, and no delay. It will also apply ISO standards and information technology to administration.
Besides, Bac Kan will continue to implement many solutions: Carrying out development planning, especially land use planning; publicising approved plans; developing transport, electricity, water supply and drainage, telecommunication and housing facilities for labourers; and preparing infrastructure investment in industrial zones. At the same time, the province will enhance and improve the quality of investment promotion with focus, first and foremost, on preparing and organising the Bac Kan Investment Promotion Conference in 2017.