In recent years, Thua Thien Hue province has adopted various solutions and activities to further improve the business environment and facilitate enterprises to boost investment, production and business, especially by accelerating information technology application in public administration at all levels of government. Vietnam Business Forum Magazine has an interview with Mr. Phan Ngoc Tho, Chairman of Thua Thien Hue Provincial People’s Committee, on this content.
Could you please briefly introduce your socioeconomic and urbanization outcomes in the past 10 years?
In the period of 2009 - 2019, Thua Thien Hue province’s economy achieved dramatic growth and positive economic structure.
- Socioeconomic development:
After 10 years (2009 - 2019) of implementing the Conclusion 48-KL/TW, Thua Thien Hue province has achieved remarkable results. The annual economic growth reached 7.2% on average. The gross regional domestic product (GRDP) more than doubled, from VND17,500 billion to VND35,400 billion. The GRDP per capita increased 2.4 times, reaching US$1,900 in 2019. The economic structure shifted towards the order of service, industry and agriculture: 45.9% - 37.6% - 16.5% in 2009 and 49.35% - 30.86% - 11.28% in 2018. State budget revenue was over VND7,788 billion in 2018, 2.8 times higher than in 2009, representing an average growth of 12% a year. The average labor productivity reached VND77.6 million per worker in 2018, an increase of 2.6 times over 2009.
The tourism and service sectors are focused on tapping cultural values. The tourism sector has gradually affirmed itself as a key economic sector with more than 4.3 million visitors in 2018, an average increase of 11.6% yearly; tourism revenue was nearly VND4,500 billion, up 22% a year average; and visitor arrivals totaled 4.33 million, a year on year growth of 11.6%, expected to top 5 million visitors by 2020.
The industrial production expanded an average of 13.8% yearly in the last 10 years (to VND30,100 billion in 2018). Processing and manufacturing increased from 62.4% to 75.4% of the industry (The garment and textile sector accounted for 47% and the construction materials sector made up for 17%). Thua Thien Hue developed some high-tech, deep-processing and export-driven industries.
Agriculture, forestry and fisheries kept growing stably, at 4.65% a year on average.
- Urbanization development
Thua Thien Hue has promoted urbanization planning and development based on its “heritage, culture, ecology, landscape and environmental friendliness”. To date, the rate of covering the master urbanization construction planning reached 100% and the rate of covering detailed construction planning to construction land area was 58.12%. Locally, the rate of covering the urbanization planning in Hue City was 95.26%, Huong Tra Town, 18.24%, and Huong Thuy Town, 17.83%. All 92 communes completed rural planning.
Thua Thien Hue formed the dynamic urban cluster of Hue, Tu Ha, Phu Bai and Thuan An (including one first-grade urban area - Hue City and three fourth-grade urban centers - Huong Thuy, Huong Tra and Thuan An towns) and one fifth-grade urban zone - Phu Da Town (the province has not carried out a third-grade urban zone - Chan May-Lang Co and seven fifth-grade urban centers - Binh Dien, Phong Thu, Thuy Tan, Thanh Ha, Vinh Thanh, A Dot and Hong Van. To date, the whole has 11 urban centers: one first-grade urban area (Hue City), three fourth-grade urban areas (Huong Thuy, Huong Tra and Thuan An towns) and seven fifth-grade urban areas (Phong Dien, Sia, Phu Loc, Lang Co, Phu Da, A Luoi and Khe Tre towns). The province’s urbanization rate reached 52.7% (an increase of 9.6% over 2009.
What are the vision and development highlights of the province in the coming years?
Featuring heritage, ecological culture and environment-friendly landscape, Thua Thien Hue province proposed hiring a foreign consultant to set up a provincial development planning to tap different advantages for faster and more sustainable socioeconomic development.
As for our viewpoints, Thua Thien Hue province will be constructed and developed into a centrally-governed city based on heritage, cultural, green and smart urban areas; a national, regional and international urban center; one of the major economic, cultural, scientific - technological, medical and training centers of the country and the Southeast Asian region. The locality will have a strengthened defense and security, political and social stability, a clean and strong political system, and increasing material and spiritual life of the people.
The future provincial planning needs to be consistent with the process of changing the growth model, restructuring the economy, and pursuing inclusive development towards modernization, efficiency, rapid and sustainable development. The province will accelerate the development of services, especially tourism, trade, finance, banking and high value-added services; focus on developing industry and construction to have a strong foundation, clear comparative advantages, rapid, effective and sustainable development, enhanced economic independence and autonomy, and a higher standing in global production and distribution networks. It will develop comprehensively modernized and industrialized agriculture, forestry and fishery by accumulating land, promoting mechanization and applying modern technologies (especially biotechnology); rearrange the crop and livestock structure; develop household, cooperative economy based on agricultural cooperative groups, specialized areas, high-tech agricultural zones and large production complexes.
Thua Thien Hue province will need to improve the investment and business environment, apply various and attractive investment attraction forms to mobilize and effectively use all domestic and foreign resources; encouraging investment in industry, agriculture and services using innovative technologies and solutions to make new products, taking part in stages of high scientific content, high added value in global production and distribution networks.
Thua Thien Hue province will construct and develop modern, synchronous economic infrastructure projects in the driving force areas to develop hi-tech parks, industrial zones and economic zones to form breakthroughs in economic infrastructure systems to meet local development requirements. It will basically improve crucial transport networks, coastal roads and border belt roads; modernize airports and seaports; and develop key roads linking regional development and urban transport systems.
By 2030, Thua Thien Hue will become a city of heritage, culture, ecology and environment-friendly landscape to be a cultural, tourist, health, education - training, scientific - technological center of the whole country and the region; pursue green economic growth where tourism is a spearhead economic sector and the industry is a driving force of economic development. It will focus on developing information technology, high-tech, environmentally friendly industries; develop clean and sustainable agriculture; and apply high technology.
What do you think about the process of improving the local business environment in recent years? What are bottlenecks that the province will focus on clearing up in 2019?
In recent years, the local investment and business environment has seen a lot of progress, but it still has certain bottlenecks such as time-consuming ground clearance and slow infrastructure construction projects. In a bid to make the investment and business climate better and effectively implement the government’s Resolution 02/NQ-CP dated January 1, 2019, the Provincial People's Committee has centrally directed the following troubleshooting solutions:
First, the Provincial People's Committee developed Plan 57/KH-UBND dated March 15, 2019 in order to further improve the business environment and enhance competitiveness under Resolution 02/NQ-CP of the Government on “Ensuring and maintain high PCI rankings.
Second, the committee issued decisions on consolidating the Advisory Council to address problems arising from land compensation, ground clearance and resettlement in the province. The composition of the Advisory Council is comprised of leaders of departments, branches and localities where projects are being carried out.
Third, it established and operated a development investment and credit guarantee fund for SMEs to consider supporting investment loans for local socioeconomic infrastructure development projects and guaranteed credit for local small and medium enterprises.
Fourth, it issued a decision on establishing a working group to support investment procedures, which will work around the clock to assist investors of important projects and foreign investors.
Fifth, it established a cross-sector inspection workgroup to advise the Provincial People’s Committee on solutions for key infrastructure projects to be implemented slowly.
Sixth, it promoted focused investment to woo capable and experienced investors to build key infrastructure projects.
In addition to the above solutions, the current legal corridor relating to land, investment and construction such as the Land Law 2013, the Construction Law 2014, the Investment Law 2014 and other directive documents is an important basis for dealing with the above difficulties.
What are the commitments of the provincial government to enterprises and investors?
Thua Thien Hue province holds different advantages for economic development. However, over the past time, due to many subjective and objective reasons, the local potential has not been tapped and promoted properly to create competitive advantages and promote investment in economic development. To have fundamental changes, the province needs to closely cooperate and coordinate with the investors and business community.
As for the government, as the Chairman of the Provincial People’s Committee, to support the business and investor community, I am committed and resolved to change and make breakthroughs in administrative and development thinking, specifically:
First, drastically directing and focusing on administrative procedure reform, bettering the business environment, especially in such areas as tax payment, customs, land, construction and business registration; providing Level 4 public services online, e.g. business registration (Thua Thien Hue leads the country in the rate of online business registration), tax and customs; maintaining online dialogue channel called “Exchange and solution” held every two months for local authorities with businesses and individuals; ensuring 100% of agencies having a division in charge of receiving and settling administrative procedures.
Second, reviewing, supplementing and implementing policies and investors and business support mechanisms.
In addition, the Provincial People’s Committee established a Joint Workgroup to keep regular working with businesses and investors, provide them with policy advice and legal support.
For the business and investor community, I hope to see their practical contributions to local policies on socioeconomic development so as to make development policies more practical, feasible and lay a premise for investors and businesses to invest and do business effectively and gradually create a Thua Thien Hue province that is dynamic and sustainable in socioeconomic development.
Thank you very much!