Investment promotion has produced positive effects on socioeconomic development for Thai Binh province. However, to increase investment value, the province needs to take stronger actions to enhance the investment and business environment and sharpen competitiveness. Mr. Vu Kim Cu, Member of the Provincial Party Committee and Director of Thai Binh Department of Planning and Investment, gave an interview to Vietnam Business Forum’s correspondent on this issue. Song Uyen reports.
How do you evaluate the implementation of promotion and investment attraction activities in Thai Binh province in recent years? Orientations to attract investment of the province in 2020-2025 and in the coming years?
While firmly directing all levels and sectors to join hands to improve the investment and business environment, the Provincial Party Committee, the Provincial People’s Council and the Provincial People’s Committee also have seriously guided relevant departments, branches and localities to carry out investment promotion activities and attract more investors to the province. The province has effectively combined foreign and local investment promotion to produce positive effects on local socioeconomic development. All investment promotion programs and activities have been well-planned and adhered to Party guidelines and State laws and policies to make sure that domestic and foreign investment capital matches local socioeconomic development orientation. While directing departments and agencies to actively conduct administrative reforms, especially administrative procedure reforms, to create an open investment environment and issue priority mechanisms and policies on investment attraction for specific areas, every year, the Provincial People’s Committee and provincial agencies have held many dialogues with the local business community to understand their concerns and promptly introduce investment attraction solutions, especially for major projects such as Coastal Road Project and Thermal Power Plant 2 Project, and urged industrial zone infrastructure investors to quickly complete infrastructure construction to welcome secondary investors to explore investment and business opportunities in the locality.
Thanks to these efforts, the province achieved relatively satisfactory social and economic results. The economy has grown continuously at a 2-digit pace. The gross regional domestic product (GRDP) expanded by 10.6% in 2016, by 11.12% in 2017, 10.53% in 2018 and 10.3% in 2019. All economic sectors have made strong headway. The province has witnessed robust growth in investment value and business development, with a rising number of projects and enterprises and a growing investment value year after year. Thai Binh province has attracted a number of large economic groups and many domestic and foreign investors to study and carry out investment projects and accelerate local economic development.
In the coming time, Thai Binh province will attract more investment funds, build coastal areas into key economic development zones to unlock local potential and strengths of coastal land fund, gas, electricity and coal energy sources, and further develop Thai Binh Economic Zone. Priority is given to large-scale environment-friendly high-tech investment projects qualified to join global value chains; supporting industries (electronic equipment, component, automotive engine, apparel accessories); mechanical engineering; and high-tech agriculture. At the same time, the province gives priority to developing urban centers and eco-housing projects in both urban and rural areas to facilitate local trade and service development.
Thai Binh province has increased its PCI score in recent years, but its rankings have not improved much, usually classified into the group of well-governed provinces. What tasks and solutions should the province focus on to boost its PCI performance in the coming years?
According to the PCI rankings 2019 released by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), Thai Binh scored 65.38 points to rank No. 28 out of 63 provinces and cities, four places higher than its standing in 2018, and rank No. 6 out of 11 Red River Delta provinces. The province had seven component indexes advance and three component indexes decline as compared to 2018.
2019 was the fifth consecutive year that the province’s PCI advanced (its score in 2019 was 7.74 points higher than in 2015). This proved the province's efforts to improve the business environment and facilitate business development. Although the province made great efforts, its peers nationwide were also determined to do the same for a better business investment environment, stronger competitiveness, and more investment funds. As a result, the ranking of Thai Binh province in the country’s PCI rankings has not been much improved. In the coming time, the province should continue to promote its achievements and propose new innovative solutions to further reform administrative procedures, improve the business environment, and maintain growth momentum for higher PCI rankings. To do so, the whole political system, from provincial to local levels, must take stronger actions and consider the work of improving and raising the PCI as a central and urgent task.
First of all, local authorities at all levels must raise awareness of the goal and the importance of improving the business investment environment and enhancing competitiveness; further inform economic development, business development, investment development, and business support and incentive policies; strictly comply with regulations of the Provincial Party Committee and the Provincial People’s Committee on accountability of the government apparatus, agency leaders, public servants and officials to the progression of the business investment environment and competitiveness. For industries and sectors where the PCI component indices dipped, agency leaders must inspect and propose specific and practical solutions to address shortcomings and study concerns raised by enterprises in PCI questionnaires in order to lift the declining indices in the following years. They will necessarily accelerate administrative reform in all areas relating to business and investment; effectively operate the Provincial Public Administration Service Center and District/Commune Public Service Divisions; and actively use local resources to better serve enterprises and citizens to carry out administrative procedures at the Provincial Public Administration Center. The province will clearly decentralize the authority and responsibility of governmental agencies for providing information on investment opportunities, planning and land map; and investment licensing, investment registration and land registration procedures. In addition, the province will put a premium on directing public investment plans for the 2016-2020 period, working out the medium-term public investment plans for the 2021-2025 period, with focus placed on traffic infrastructure that interlinks local traffic axes and connects with regional economic centers of the country. Thai Binh province will elaborate detailed development plans for Thai Binh Economic Zone, industrial zones, tourist resorts, and service and urban centers in economic zones. It will give priority to building coastal roads to court investors and tap local potential advantages in coastal areas. The locality will actively review land demand for local socioeconomic development to ensure an appropriate land fund for investment and business projects. Relevant agencies will actively launch seminars and conferences to promptly answer concerns about business activity raised by enterprises. Thai Binh province will well support small and medium enterprises in the province.
In 2020, Thai Binh province will apply the Department and District Competitiveness Index (DDCI) to provincial departments and districts. What do you think about the application of this index, especially to improve the local business investment environment?
On February 27, 2020, the Thai Binh Provincial People’s Committee issued Decision 634/QD-UBND approving the launch of Department and District Competitiveness Index (DDCI) to provincial departments and districts. The Provincial People's Committee assigned the Thai Binh Business Association to coordinate with relevant departments and agencies and experts to develop and apply it right from the first quarter of 2020.
DDCI will be an important tool for the Provincial People’s Committee to monitor and direct provincial agencies and district governments to improve administration quality and carry out effective reforms and solutions to support enterprises to do business, create a forum for authorities and enterprises to understand each other more, and play a greater role in improving business investment environment and competitiveness of the province.
Source: Vietnam Business Forum