Thai Binh Strives for Better Business Environment

3:03:46 PM | 28/11/2018

To make breakthroughs in the economic growth strategy that “focuses on administrative reform, enhances competitiveness and improves the investment and business environment” in the spirit of the Resolution of the 19th Provincial Party Congress, authorities of all tiers are taking action. Mr Dang Trong Thang, Chairman of the Provincial People’s Committee, talked about this matter with Vietnam Business Forum Magazine. Ngo Khuyen reports.

During the working session with the province’s authorities on May 29, 2018, the Prime Minister’s taskforce conveyed the central task of the province in the coming time: Drastically piloting land consolidation. Could you please tell us about this task?
Carrying out the Resolution of the 10th Party Central Committee on agriculture, farmers and rural areas, Thai Binh province has focused on accelerating agricultural land accumulation. 14,929.28 ha of agricultural land had been accumulated by the end of 2017, including 5,163.28 ha leased and transferred the right to use, and 9,766 ha linked production with consumption (210 cooperatives link with 20 enterprises to produce and consume agricultural products.)

Thai Binh province was also permitted by the Government to pilot centralised mechanisms for land accumulation to attract investors into agricultural production. Advantageously, 200 out of 263 communes completed building new rural areas; 100 per cent of communes completed land consolidation and land improvement; infield irrigation and traffic systems facilitated commercial agricultural development; some successful models brought in better outcomes and drew more investors like TH Group, Truong Hai Joint Venture, Loc Troi Group and Geleximco Group. Nevertheless, the deployment was not favourable as the legal framework for land concentration and accumulation is inadequate. Agricultural land remained segmented and scattered (averagely 0.2 ha and 1.78 plots per household). Investment fund for agriculture and rural development is short.

The province targeted to expand the accumulated land area in the form of leasing by 6,000 ha (bringing the total area of this type to 11,000 ha) by 2020. The form of linking production and consumption will reach 15,000 ha.

How is the e-government development advancing?
Over the past years, the Thai Binh Provincial People's Committee issued regulatory documents to perfect mechanism and policies on development and establishment of e-government, such as administrative reform plans, information technology application to operations of State agencies, criteria for IT application ratings in operations of State agencies, and plans for implementation of Directive 16/CT-TTg dated May 4, 2017 of the Prime Minister on enhancing accessibility to the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Thai Binh province in 2017 - 2025 phase. From these endeavours, Thai Binh province achieved some outstanding results such as:

- More complete policies and mechanisms help create a legal corridor to promote IT development and application to facilitate e-government construction.

- Telecommunication and information technology infrastructure has been developed comprehensively and uniformly from the province to the district and the commune: 100 per cent of provincial departments, district-level People’s Committee and district-level Party agencies, commune-level People’s Committees have local area networks and high-speed Internet connections. 100 per cent of public employees use computers to work.

- Managerial, directional and operational works of provincial agencies are basically carried out online. Digital signatures are applied to electronic documents and other transactions.

- Information technology application is sped up in administration, particularly in settlement of administrative procedures. A provincial administrative centre and eight district-level administrative centres have been built to better support settlement of administrative procedures submitted by people and organisations. All administrative centres use the same electronic administrative software to handle administrative work.

- The province piloted Level 3 and Level 4 online public services and continued to complete the Level 3 and Level 4 Public Service Portal to link to the Provincial Public Administration System and deploy VNPOST's software for receiving and returning administrative settlement results via public postal service. Thus, since January 1, 2017, provincial and district government agencies have provided Level 3 and Level 4 online public services on its online public service portals, including 409 Level 3 online public services and 12 Level 4 services.

By carrying out the project on accelerated information technology application to administrative reform in Thai Binh province in the 2016 - 2020 period, with an eye to 2030, and other relevant documents with the aim of promoting IT application, closely associating with administrative reforms in order to achieve its tasks of and solutions for increased competitiveness and better business environment, Thai Binh province has applied information technology in combination with the electronic ISO-standard quality management system. Electronic ISO procedures are executed on Level 3 and Level 4 online pubic services to deliver on the highest outcome.

How do you assess the progress and outcome of the Public Administration Reform Project for increased competitiveness and better investment and business climate in Thai Binh province in 2016 - 2020 and beyond after more than two years of deployment (according to Decision 1316/QD-UBND dated May 27, 2016, of the Provincial People’s Committee)?
In recent years, Thai Binh province has paid much attention to improving the investment and business environment, creating favourable conditions for production and business activities. The Executive Board of the Provincial Party Committee issued Resolution 01-NQ/TU dated May 5, 2016 on enhancing Party leadership in improving the local investment and business environment to 2020; the Provincial People's Committee promulgated Decision 1316/QD-UBND dated May 27, 2016 approving the Administrative Reform Project, enhancing competitiveness and improving the business and investment environment in Thai Binh in the 2016 - 2020 period and beyond. In the coming years, administrative reform measures will be firmly directed and implemented to accelerate administrative reform concerning investment and business activities like shortening service time and simplifying administrative procedures. The Provincial Public Administration Centre has gone into a good and orderly manner. 100 per cent of administrative procedures related to businesses and people are carried out at the Level 2 public administrative centre (provincial and district levels) and reviewed to reduce 50 per cent of settlement time. Telephone hotline services of the Provincial People’s Committee, departments and localities are carried out effectively.

With the efforts for better business and investment environment and higher provincial competitiveness, in 2016 and 2107, the Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) of Thai Binh picked up, with the 2016 PCI score rising 0.08 points to 57.72 points and the 2017 PCI score adding 4.25 points to 61.97 points. However, its PCI rankings fluctuated, placing 40th in 2016 (down two places from 2015) and 34th in 2017 (up six places from 2016).

In general, some PCI components improved significantly and increased scores, including business support services, labour training, dynamism of the provincial government, and transparency. This demonstrates that efforts in administrative reform and business and investment environment improvement to enhance competitiveness have been realised and appreciated by the business community. However, among 10 PCI indicators, some are not stable. The province will direct concerned branches and localities to stop the downturn and ensure the continuity of PCI progress in 2018 and the following years.

To carry out Decision 36/2017/QD-TTg dated July 29, 2017, of the Prime Minister on the establishment of Thai Binh Economic Zone, what solutions and tasks has the province focused on?
Currently, Thai Binh province is directing provincial authorities to focus on the master plan for construction of Thai Binh Economic Zone, ensure the plan, schedule and in compliance with Decision 1089/QD-TTg dated 31/8/2018 of the Prime Minister approving the Master Plan for Thai Binh Economic Zone Construction to 2040 and further to 2050.

In the first half of 2018, Thai Binh was the only province to accomplish all tasks assigned by the Government, one of the three Red River Delta provinces recording a highest growth rate. The province took strong action to attract more investors and reform administrative procedures, handling over 10,000 records as concluded by the Prime Minister’s taskforce at the working session on May 29, 2018.
Thai Binh province is in the early stage of industrial development featured by limited budget revenue. To speed up construction progress and operate Thai Binh Economic Zone, Thai Binh province suggested that the Government balance and increase centrally funded capital to support traffic infrastructure system construction to connect Thai Binh Economic Zone with other localities (initially coastal roads and National Highway 37 to link Thai Binh Economic Zone with Hai Phong International Port and Lach Huyen Port); build technical, social and economic infrastructure works and important public utility works to ensure operations of the economic zone (external traffic system, water drainage system, wastewater treatment facilities, schools, hospitals and State administrative agencies). The province, at the same time, asked central government and ministries to assist Thai Binh to promote and attract investment projects into Thai Binh Economic Zone in order to utilise its potential and advantages and boost local socioeconomic development.