Thai Nguyen province has made a lot of innovations in investment promotion and attraction and achieved positive results in the past years. Mr. Dang Van Huy, Deputy Director of the Department of Planning and Investment of Thai Nguyen province, grants an exclusive interview to Vietnam Business Forum's reporter on this topic.
What do you think about the investment promotion and attraction results of Thai Nguyen province in the past five years?
In the 2015-2020 period, Thai Nguyen province has promoted renovation and improvement of investment promotion and attraction performance and achieved positive results. Carrying out its assigned functions and tasks, the Department of Planning and Investment has advised the Provincial People's Committee and coordinated with other departments, branches and localities to organize and participate in many investment-related activities, seminars and conferences such as GMS Business Summit, 30-year Exhibition on FDI Attraction in Vietnam held in Hanoi; Trade and tourism promotion programs in Brazil and Canada; seminar on Vietnam - China economic, trade, agricultural and logistic promotion in Sichuan - China; and trade promotion programs in Russia, Hungary and Czech Republic.
Especially in July 2018, the province successfully organized the 2018 Thai Nguyen Investment Promotion Conference themed “Thai Nguyen - Development potential and investment opportunities”, which attracted 1,360 attendants from government agencies, financial institutions, domestic and foreign banks, companies and investors. At the conference, the province handed investment decisions/certificates and memorandums of understanding to 50 projects with a total registered capital of VND46,785 billion (US$2 billion). Particularly, 41 investors registered to carry out 53 projects with a total investment fund of VND108,961 billion. As of July 31, 2020, they disbursed a total of VND5,496 billion, mainly for 29 projects that completed investment procedures, equal to 30% of their total fund.
With that effort, more and more investors have come to study and make investment in Thai Nguyen and expanded their investment and operation. Specifically, in the five years from 2015 to 2020, the province has licensed 251 projects with a total registered capital of VND39,460 billion and leased 7,580.86 ha of land to them.
Currently, the province is home to 156 valid FDI projects with a total registered capital of over US$8,245 billion. Effective investment projects have strong effects and boosted local socioeconomic development.
All investment projects have contributed to socio-economic development in the province. The face of the province, from urban to rural areas, has prospered. The economic structure has changed rapidly and strongly, driven by the industrial sector.
Would you tell us about strengths to be promoted and limitations that need to be addressed?
Looking back on the past five years, Thai Nguyen has carried out very well main solutions to mobilize, promote and attract investment as follows:
Law and policy group: The province has reviewed laws and policies on investment and business to amend inconsistent contents, supplement missing contents and remove inappropriate conditions for applying investment incentives.
Planning solution group: The province has accelerated construction and approval of missing plans; conducted periodical reviews to supplement and adjust outdated planning; completed land-use planning, widely publicized planning, speeded up site clearance for investment projects; reviewed, examined and adjusted effective land use planning.
Infrastructure solution group: Thai Nguyen has continued to review, adjust, approve and announce infrastructure plans to lay the groundwork for attracting investment in infrastructure development.
Human resource solution group: The province has promoted the implementation of master plans for training to increase the rate of trained labor to meet new requirements and keep up with the educational and training model in the region and around the world.
Site clearance solution group: The province has strengthened site clearance to create a clean land fund to attract investors.
Investment promotion solution group: Thai Nguyen has researched and proposed policies to mobilize and attract investment from multinational corporations and key partners; combined domestic and foreign investment promotion activities; closely coordinated and improved the outcome of investment - trade - tourism promotion. In particular, the province has established a communication hotline channel for the Secretary of the Provincial Party Committee and the Chairman of the Provincial People's Committee to receive information and immediately resolve petitions from investors.
However, curtained limitations are revealed in investment promotion and attraction. For example, the budget for investment promotion was not enough for actual needs, mainly sourced from the provincial budget. The link of domestic companies and foreign partners in production and business chains was still weak. Foreign investment attraction faced a lot of difficulty due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Unsynchronized infrastructure inhibited big investors from launching their projects in the province although they came to study. Last but not least, the coordination of agencies and localities in investment promotion and attraction was still inconsistent.
According to the PCI rankings in 2019, the Market Entry Index of Thai Nguyen reached 7.36 points, slightly higher than in 2018 but much lower than the previous years. What do you think about this result? What solutions is the Department of Planning and Investment adopting to improve the PCI Index in the coming time?
In 2019, the Market Entry Index of Thai Nguyen province reached 7.36 points, an increase of 0.45 points over 2018, ending the three-year losing streak. The province ranked No. 29 out of 63 provinces and cities, 22 places higher than in 2018. This was one of three PCI component indexes scoring more than 7 points.
The survey showed that the time of business registration was 7 days, unchanged from 2018; the time for business registration update took 7 days (2 days more than in 2018); 26% of businesses had to wait for more than one month to complete all procedures to launch official operation (18% more than in 2018 with just 8%); 4% had to wait more than three months to complete procedures for official operation (compared to 0% in 2018); and 87% said public employees had good professional knowledge, an increase of 47% against 2018.
Although the overall performance picked up, component indices did not come up with expectations. In fact, the Market Entry Index relates to planning and investment, business registration, tax declaration and other permits. Currently, the Law on Enterprises only stipulates three days for business registration procedures and Thai Nguyen manages to do it in fewer than two days.
In the coming time, the Department of Planning and Investment will continue to carry out the following activities.
+ Fostering information technology application to settlement of administrative procedures; applying information technology to business registration licensing; further shortening the time to process business registration procedures.
+ Perfecting the single-window mechanism to handle procedures related to investment, construction and land at the provincial level.
+ Reviewing and streamlining administrative procedures concerning investment licensing for projects using non-State financial sources; completing and publicizing procedures for credit guarantee and investment support from investment support funds.
+ Completing and operating the provincial administrative center to ensure the implementation of the interagency single-window mechanism in the province.
+ Developing the District and Department Competitiveness Index (DDCI) to gauge economic governance of provincial departments and localities.
Would you share about investment attraction approaches of the province in the coming years?
Thai Nguyen province will renovate investment promotion, diversify activities, give priority to large-scale projects that bring with advanced and modern technology and environmentally friendly manufacturing approach, investors with potential and long-term investment strategy. The province will also attract investment into industry, agriculture, ecotourism infrastructure, resort and urban development.
Source: Vietnam Business Forum