Quang Binh province always pays attention to accelerating public administration reform (PAR) and improving the business investment environment. Especially, under the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Provincial People’s Committee is closely directing branches and localities to carry out solutions to remove difficulties for enterprises and investors. Mr. Tran Cong Thuat, Chairman of the Quang Binh Provincial People’s Committee, tells Vietnam Business Forum’s reporter about this issue. Ngo Khuyen reports.
The PCI scores and rankings of Quang Binh province picked up steadily in recent years, but did not make a leap as expected. Could you please tell the reason why?
Quang Binh province always pays attention to promoting PAR and improving competitiveness, strengthening investment attraction and facilitating business activities. Every year, the Provincial People's Committee issues action programs and plans to carry out Government Resolutions 19 and 02 on tasks and solutions for better business environment, higher national competitiveness and easier business development.
The province also applies information technology to modernize and synchronize services at the Public Administration Center; receives records by post; and provides online public administrative procedures of Level 3 and Level 4. Administrative procedure reform has been drastically carried out at all levels and branches of government, especially investment and business-related procedures. All localities, branches and agencies have announced the set of administrative procedures, and strictly complied with the single-window mechanism. The Provincial People’s Committee also took the initiative in reviewing and amending consistent regulations and policies on business and investment to match general regulations and local reality and imposed the minimum investment value as a basis for agencies to call for qualified investors. Adhering to its principle of “Always accompanying and standing side by side with enterprises in the development process", the province organized many meetings and dialogues with businesses and investors in order to timely grasp and remove their difficulties and obstacles.
These efforts have been acknowledged by enterprises, as shown in its Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) rankings in 2019 with many component indicators higher than in 2018: Six out of 10 indices increased, with the informal charge index jumping 31 places and the proactivity of the leadership climbing 21 places to bring the overall PCI score to 63.71 points, an increase of 2.65 points from a year ago, the highest-ever score. The province’s PCI Index added two places to No. 52 out of 63 provinces and cities.
However, the above progress remained slow and did not make a breakthrough, showing the administration’s limitations. Enterprises expected more changes and administrative reforms. This reality existed because other provinces and cities also made great efforts to better their investment and business environment and raise their PCI standings. The average PCI score increased gradually and the distance from top to bottom narrowed (59.95-73.4 points), showing the above trend.
For Quang Binh, authorities of all levels and branches are always active to direct the realization of solutions to improve competitiveness, but enforcement forces still have a certain degree of lag. The province has a low starting point and remains a poor province far away from major economic centers. Its weak infrastructure fails to meet development needs. The information technology application to provide and handle online public services is limited. The quality of human resources is not high, resulting in low productivity and shortages of skilled labor in many industries. Furthermore, some licensed investment projects are being carried out slowly. FDI projects have difficulty finding the market. These factors have become “barriers that have hindered the province’s PCI from making breakthroughs in recent years, forcing the province to add more effort in the coming time.
On October 31, 2019, the Provincial People's Committee issued Decision 4291/QD-UBND approving the Department and District Competitiveness Index (DDCI) of Quang Binh Province, which was launched in 2020. Could you tell us about this index in detail?
In 2020, Quang Binh province has focused on building and completing the DDCI Index to trigger competition among departments, branches and localities in administration quality, thus creating dynamic and drastic reforms in solving investment and business administrative procedures and improving the effect of guidance delivered by provincial leaders to leaders of departments, branches and agencies.
The DDCI Index will enable the province to capture business opinions to understand their situations and assist them to deal with emerging difficulties in investment and business activities; study solutions for better competitiveness in the following years, and propose solutions to rectify and overcome limitations existing among localities and agencies. With the DDCI Index, agencies and localities will self-assess and analyze their undone jobs to find and propose solutions for stronger management and administration capacity, build an open business investment environment in Quang Binh province and become a reliable and attractive destination for investors.
To solve difficulties for enterprises and businesses and go with them in the time of COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, what supportive measures and activities has the province taken?
So far, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has spread to many industries and fields. Specifically, for the tourism industry, tourist arrivals to Quang Binh decreased by 50-60% year on year in the first five months of 2020. Restaurants and hotels halted operations for a long time. The arrivals have not recovered to the normal rate. For agriculture, given export hardships, agricultural products and related products were slowly marketed and inventories were high while some input items picked up 5-10% in prices due to import restrictions. Industrial manufacturing was also greatly affected, with manufacturers having to suspend operations or narrow scale on shrinking consumption markets. For the transport sector, the number of passengers, the volume of freight and the number of vehicles decreased sharply.
In the spirit of sharing and supporting businesses, Quang Binh province has been focusing on firmly executing solutions to support and help businesses deal with emerging difficulties. The Provincial People's Committee has directed concerned agencies and authorities to update situations to guide and find suitable solutions to advise or remove difficulties for businesses; Focused on speeding up investment fund disbursement, especially public funds, for economic growth. The Provincial People's Committee has actively reviewed and reduced administrative procedures and costs for businesses, facilitated them to do successful business; and guiding enterprises to access incentives and support. The province has strengthened strict State management of budget spending and thrift; concentrated on addressing COVID-19 epidemic consequences and other key and urgent tasks for socioeconomic development.
The Taxation Department has promptly implemented and extended the deadline for tax and land rent payment according to Government Decree 41/2020/ND-CP dated April 8, 2020. The State Bank of Vietnam - Quang Binh Branch and credit institutions have deployed credit packages to support enterprises to stabilize and restore business operations. The Tourism Department has advised and drastically carried out solutions to restore and develop tourism, mobilized enterprises to launch stimulus programs and reduce product and service prices to attract tourists.
With the resolute and consistent participation of all relevant agencies and localities, it will be much easier for the province to deal with emerging hardships faced by enterprises and launch prompt actions to help them overcome the tough times and stabilize business operations.
Source: Vietnam Business Forum