The Resolution of the 13th Provincial Party Congress of Binh Thuan province has set the local GDP growth of 7-7.5% for the 2015-2020 period. To find out about its solutions and actions to realize it, especially in this banner year, Vietnam Business Forum has an exclusive interview with Mr. Nguyen Ngoc Hai, Chairman of Binh Thuan Provincial People’s Committee. Cong Luan reports.
To soon realize the goal as set in the resolution, from now until the end of the term, what key solutions will Binh Thuan province focus on?
After more than three years of carrying out the resolution, I affirm that Binh Thuan has exceeded the target, evidenced by the gross regional domestic product (GRDP) growth of 7.42% in 2016, 7.08% in 2017, and 8.08% in 2018, averagely 7.53% on an annualized basis from 2016 to 2018. The growth is expected to reach 8% in 2019. With this growth momentum, the GRDP growth is expected at 7.58% a year on average in 2016-2020, exceeding the target as set by the resolution.
In order to achieve basic economic targets as stated in the resolution of the Provincial Party Congress, from now until the end of the term, Binh Thuan province will mobilize all resources, effectively tap potential, and promote comparative advantages for rapid and sustainable economic growth built on the weighted structure of industry, service and agriculture. Binh Thuan will also develop a new master plan for the 2021-2030 period, with a vision to 2050; engage local and central and domestic and international budget resources; and speed up investment socialization. We will continue to improve investment promotion outcomes and attract major and strategic investors. The province will urge and accelerate infrastructure construction for tourism development and hi-tech agriculture. We will proactively create land fund to arrange resettlement for people to speed up ground clearance, build key projects and implement investment projects. We will carry out Governmental resolutions on main tasks and solutions for better business climate and higher competitiveness; boost administrative reforms, with focus placed on administrative procedure reform; deploy positive measures to raise human resource quality; and apply scientific and technical advances to business and management.
How have you focused on development investment of key industries and products?
Binh Thuan province aims to develop tourism as a key economic sector and choose dragon fruit, rubber, seafood processing, shrimp breeding, Vinh Hao mineral water and tourism as advantageous products of the province. On that basis, we have seriously invested in developing spearhead economic sectors and advantageous products to generate motivation for local economic growth.
Tourism has also outperformed all criteria. Tourist revenue has enjoyed quite rapid growth. In the 2010 - 2018 period, tourist arrivals increased by 11% annually and tourism revenue growth climbed 22.5%. In 2018, Binh Thuan welcomed 5.752 million visitors, including 675,700 foreigners; and tourism revenue was VND12,864 billion. The province paid attention to tourism construction investment, infrastructure upgrading and development planning in key areas. The investment environment was constantly improved to draw more tourism investment projects, including large-scale tourism and service complexes. Tourism products and types were increasingly diversified and made appealing. Many hotels and resorts operated stably. Tourist service quality was improved. The image and brand of Binh Thuan tourism continued to be affirmed domestically and internationally.
By 2018, dragon fruit acreage reached 29,272 ha, an increase of 2.37 times over 2010, including 9,854 ha certified to meet VietGAP standards. Dragon fruit output increased from 299,302 tons in 2010 to 591,965 tons in 2018. Binh Thuan dragon fruits were exported to many countries and territories. The export turnover of the fruit amounted at US$7.615 million in 2018, accounting for 66% of the province's agricultural product export value (US$11.474 million).
Rubber is one of locally advantageous crops. Over the past years, the rubber industry has made considerable progress, played an important part in crop restructuring and socioeconomic development in the province. The rubber acreage was 55,657 ha in 2018, an increase of 70.6% over 2010. Latex output also rose from 19,308 tons in 2010 to 55,713 tons in 2018. Rubber export turnover was US$1.926 million in 2018, accounting for 17% of the province's agricultural export turnover (US$11.474 million).
Seafood has continued to play a key role in export, accounting for a high share of the province's export value. Seafood exports valued US$145.8 million in 2018, up 19.2% over 2015 and accounted for 33.8% of the province’s total export turnover.
Seed shrimp is an advantageous product of Binh Thuan province as it has high quality and reputation in the national market. In 2018, seed shrimp output reached 23.7 billion units in the province, an increase of nearly 15.6 billion posts over 2010, to meet demands by breeding facilities in Binh Thuan, southern provinces and some central provinces.
104 million liters of Vinh Hao mineral water was produced in 2018, an increase of more than 50 million liters over 2010. Until now, the product has been increasingly favored by consumers and voted as “Vietnamese high quality goods” and “Vietnamese gold star” for many years.
Phan Thiet Airport and North - South Expressway are two main external transport works of the province. Could you please give more information about these two important projects?
Phan Thiet Airport is defined to be a mixed military and civil airport by the Government. The Prime Minister has assigned the Ministry of Defense and the Binh Thuan Provincial People’s Committee to carry out the construction project. Up to now, the project has finished site clearance of 543 ha. The Ministry of Defense and the Binh Thuan Provincial People’s Committee are carrying out investment procedures, trying to provide the clear site for the project in 2019.
The Ministry of Transport is selecting investors for North - South Expressway section running through Binh Thuan province. In order to ensure site clearance progress as requested by the Government, the Ministry of Transport and the Binh Thuan Provincial People’s Committee has aggressively worked on ground clearance, striving to get it completed by November 30, 2019 at the latest and hand over the site to the ministry for the project construction as planned.
To strongly promote advantages and translate disadvantages into a driving force of development, what is your priority in the coming time?
In the coming time, Binh Thuan province will concentrate resources for five breakthroughs: Quickly become a national tourism destination; promote advantages of clean energy industry; develop logistics services based on Vinh Tan International Port to become a strategic cargo transshipment point connecting the Southern Central Coast and the Central Highlands; develop a synchronous and modern industrial zones in the south to take advantage of proximity to Cai Mep Port and Long Thanh International Airport and connect to Southeastern dynamic industrial ecosystem; develop high-tech agriculture, adapt to climate change and create an effective commodity value chain. At the same time, to further effectively tap potential and advantages, focus on removing bottlenecks in order to accelerate economic growth, soon narrow the development gap and keep up with national development level, Binh Thuan province will focus attracting investment projects into three following pillars:
(1) High-class tourism, entertainment and commercial services, urban areas and residential areas:
Tourism is defined as one key economic sector of Binh Thuan province. The province will realize Decision 1772/QD-TTg dated December 18, 2018. It will focus on calling for high-class tourism projects, high-class entertainment and recreation areas, commercial projects and coastal urban areas. Priority is given to calling for infrastructure investment projects to serve maritime tourism and water sports development.
(2) Processing and manufacturing industry, renewable energy, logistics services
Binh Thuan province draws investment capital for secondary projects into industrial parks, use modern technologies and techniques to ensure environmental friendliness. It will continue to attract investment in renewable energy projects (solar power and wind power), especially offshore wind power and gas power; attract investment capital for auxiliary industries for energy sector (solar panels manufacturing, mechanical engineering, electrical equipment production, etc.); develop logistics service centers, operate and utilize Vinh Tan International Port to interlink economic zones of the Central Highlands and the South Central region to form an east-west economic corridor.
(3) Smart agriculture adaptive to climate change
The province will call for high-tech agriculture projects to apply modern techniques and technologies to build farming value chains according to international standards, adapt to climate change and increase economic values. The planning and approval of high-tech agriculture zones have been planned and approved.
Thank you very much!