Hai Duong Building Active and Constructive Government

5:54:05 PM | 7/9/2018

In a bid to unlock its potential geo-economic advantages to strongly develop Hai Duong into an “industrial centre of the northern region and the country” and achieve “dynamic, comprehensive development to stand among the most developed localities of Vietnam” and promote local internal forces of the province as guided by the Prime Minister, the provincial government is aggressively accelerating the reform of administrative procedures, deploying many solutions to raise the Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) and head for a dynamic and constructive government. Vietnam Business Forum Magazine’s correspondent has an interview with Mr Nguyen Duong Thai, Chairman of Hai Duong Provincial People’s Committee, on these contents. Ngo Khuyen reports.

What concerns the province most is rapid and sustainable economic development, particularly issues centring on conclusions of the Prime Minister at the working meeting with the province on April 9, 2018: Growing beyond potential, promoting local internal forces with higher political determination, higher dreams and stronger aspirations. Could you tell us about these?
Hai Duong, traditionally known as Tran Dong (the eastern part) of the imperial capital of Thang Long (present-day Hanoi), has a strategic position in the cause of building and defending the Fatherland and has a long and cultured history. The province is located in the heart of the Northern Key Economic Region, in the greater capital of Hanoi, and in the middle of Hanoi - Hai Phong - Quang Ninh dynamic economic development triangle. In recent years, Hai Duong has achieved inclusive but unimpressive socioeconomic development results, as concluded by the Prime Minister at a recent working meeting with the provincial government. That is also what concerns provincial leaders, particularly in the following aspects:

(1) Lower-than-potential economic growth. Growth is mainly driven by capital and labour. Fiscal revenue collection is difficult and affected by the foreign direct investment (FDI) sector. Dynamism and competitiveness are low while the business environment is slowly improving. The technical infrastructure has not been synchronously invested.

(2) Abundant but unqualified human resources for development requirements. People's living standard is stable, but the per capital income is lower than the national average (VND40.5 million versus VND53.5 million). Socialised investment for education, health, culture and sport facilities is limited.

(3) The province has a ratio of one enterprise to 160 residents, compared with 150 nationally. Some industrial parks are relatively small (180 - 200 ha), thus it is harder to attract larger investment projects.

To implement conclusion contents of the Prime Minister released at the meeting on April 9, 2018, Hai Duong province is carrying out eight groups of solutions as follows:
First, upholding the tradition of solidarity, promoting the power of the “Eastern” people; ensuring political stability, social order and safety; proactively advancing international integration.

Second, effectively carrying out infrastructure construction policies; taking the initiative in synchronously executing socioeconomic development solutions.

Third, making strong moves in improving the investment, business and start-up environment, with the focus placed on accelerating the reform of administrative procedures; applying various forms of investment attraction and raising the performance of the administrative system at all tiers; defining the role and responsibility of division leaders; further strengthening the sense and discipline of State employees; intensifying inspections and resolutely solving hardships facing enterprises.

Fourth, speeding up investment restructuring by encouraging and engaging the private sector and business start-ups; revising industrial zone plans; drawing large-scale projects using modern technology, friendly environment, generating high added values and joining in value chains.

Fifth, enhancing local cooperation and creativity in the Northern Key Economic Region and the Red River Delta to connect transport and tourist infrastructure, handle environmental pollution in river basins and treat waste.

Sixth, harmoniously coupling economic growth with environmental protection and sociocultural development; continuously improving people’s livelihoods, where countryside construction is a central task.
Seventh, improving the quality of human resources training; promoting agricultural restructuring and actively responding to climate change; attaching importance to applying advanced technologies and planning on the construction of concentrated commodity production areas, and the construction of factories for clean production.

Eighth, effectively carrying out policies on social security, education, vocational training, healthcare and military strength; exercising democratic practices aimed at building a consensus-based, open society.

Also with respect to working contents with Hai Duong province on April 9, 2018, the Prime Minister underlined that the province needs a development-supporting government; must be among Top 20 provinces and cities with the highest indicators of business climate and competitiveness. Could you please tell more about these tasks?
In 2017, the Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) of Hai Duong province gained an extra 2.41 points to 60.36 points, but its ranking fell 13 places from 2016 to the 49th position out of 63 provinces and cities. This shows that its PCI improvements remained lower than expected. To address this reality, the province is resolutely carrying out the following solutions:

First, raising awareness and responsibility of leaders of Party committees, authorities and public employees in building a favourable investment and business environment and increasing its PCI scores and rankings.
Second, picking up the pace of public administration reform and information transparency for enterprises: Regularly reviewing, updating, supplementing and publicising administrative procedures at public reception divisions and on mass media; enhancing the capacity of management, administration and delivering of public administrative services; shortening the settlement time by getting rid of unnecessary procedures; quickly operating the Public Administrative Service Centre; making breakthroughs in applying information technology at administrative bodies; effectively deploying the provincial e-government architecture framework; speeding up the application of public services at Level 3 and Level 4; providing public postal services for reception and delivery of administrative procedures and results for enterprises and investors.

Third, improving the quality and capability of providing services for enterprises: Actively enforcing the Law on SME Support, developing various types of support services; enhancing market information, trade promotion, legal support services; encouraging and assisting individual households to expand their scale and register their establishments; reviewing, adjusting and supplementing development plans; building and enlarging industrial zones; adopting policies on supporting and inspiring investors to invest in building industrial zone infrastructure; planning areas for cottage industries and handicraft production; renovating vocational training by closely linking between schools and businesses.

Fourth, perfecting institutions, mechanisms and policies on investment attraction: Regularly reviewing, amending and supplementing legal documents, promptly getting rid of invalid documents; improving institutions concerning investment attraction, industrial zone construction, and site clearance to create consistent regulatory system; materialising orders and procedures of lawsuits, complaints and denunciations and ensuing the time for settlement of legal cases filed by organisations and enterprises in a prompt, fair and reasonable manner; assisting and guiding enterprises to preparing documents of complaints and disputes; completely ending overlapping, repetitive and time-consuming inspections at enterprises.

Fifth, enhancing the administrative performance in investment and business fields: Further carrying out regulations on coordination of State post-licensed business management. Provincial departments, local authorities, mass unions and business associations will intensify supervision, promptly clear difficulties against the business and build up business confidence at all levels of administration, and will gradually improve the quality of dialogues, particularly inspections and supervisions of troubleshooting results after dialogues wrap up.

After one year of carrying out the PCI Project (under Decision 2556/QD-UBND dated September 20, 2016), Hai Duong did not achieve its desired results. What is the “message” of the provincial government on PCI improvement in 2018 and beyond?
The report of the Provincial People’s Committee on implementation of PCI reform tasks in 2017 showed plenty of limitations to business environment improvement. Many agencies promulgated action plans and programmes for a better PCI performance, the Resolution 35 and the Resolution 19 among other policies. However, insufficient and irresolute direction from relevant bodies did not result in substantial changes in the perception of officials and civil servants, in administrative reform, particularly administrative procedure reform; and ineffective staff downsizing and rotation.

To realise the 2018 PCI improvement goal of standing among Top 30 provinces and cities in the country, provincial departments and local authorities are essentially striving for a better business and investment environment with consistent, inclusive solutions. Most importantly, public officials and employees must have qualified virtues, thoughts and beliefs to assume the responsibility assigned. The province must resolutely replace corrupt, harassing officials, and clearly and transparently assign their tasks.

In the current context, having a better investment and business environment and a higher PCI is under great pressure. But, just as directed by the Prime Minister, if authorities at all levels have greater resolutions and stronger aspirations and strictly carry out the guidelines of the Provincial Party Committee and the Provincial People’s Committee, I believe that Hai Duong will successfully achieve its objectives of improving the business and investment environment, and enhancing competitiveness as well.

Thank you very much!