In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as guided by the Government, Phu Yen province has urgently adopted solutions to foster production, business and economic recovery like removing hardships faced by enterprises, speeding up public investment disbursement, carrying out investment projects and ensuring social security. At the same time, the province has continued to forecast and prevent the coronavirus pandemic and ensure socio-economic development goals. Mr. Tran Huu The, Chairman of the Provincial People's Committee, gave an exclusive interview to Vietnam Business Forum in this regard. Ngoc Tung reports.
Could you tell us about the outstanding socioeconomic development results of Phu Yen in the 2015 - 2020 term, and the development orientation for the next five years?
Phu Yen province has executed the Resolution of the 16th Provincial Party Congress in a mixed landscape, featuring both favorable conditions and difficulties and challenges, especially the COVID-19 pandemic, natural disasters, floods and storms, that negatively impacted all aspects of life. However, above all, Phu Yen has obtained many encouraging achievements.
The provincial economy has been stable in the past five years, with the gross regional domestic product (GRDP) expanding by 7% a year on average. The size of the economy was 1.6 times that in 2015. The economic structure has continued to shift in the right direction. Per capita GRDP in 2020 was estimated at VND52.9 million, 1.6 times that of 2015.
The National Target Program on New Rural Development has produced many positive results. To date, the province has 55 out of 83 communes certified to meet new countryside standards, accounting for 66.2%; two districts and Tuy Hoa City are qualified for new countryside standards. The province has focused on mobilizing a lot of investment resources for building infrastructure, especially in traffic and urban areas.
Social security has been ensured. The poverty rate was reduced by an average of 2% a year to about 2.5% by the end of 2020. Political security and social order and safety have been maintained. 57.25% of schools meet national standards, an increase of nearly 27% compared to 2015. Up to 955 communes meet national standards on health.
The achievements in the past five years have laid the foundation for obtaining targets and tasks in the 2020 - 2025 term. The province will focus on the marine economy, apply scientific and technological advances, environmental protection and national defense - security for fast and sustainable development. The province will basically complete the important technical foundation and infrastructure for some key economic sectors by 2025 and have a thriving service, agriculture and industry by 2030.
To address the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, what did you do to boost production and quickly restart the economy?
Like other localities in the country, in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on all areas of production, business and people's life in the province. In order to quickly deal with emerging difficulties, we focused on carrying out the Government’s directions, proposed solutions and requested relevant agencies to promptly and drastically carry out the following tasks: Applying risk prevention tasks to stabilize social and economic development; focusing on removing difficulties for businesses and people to soon restore production and business; and fulfilling local political, social and economic development tasks.
Accordingly, we directed enforcement agencies to support enterprises to deal with difficulties, stabilize business development and help people restore their normal life. Specifically, the Provincial People's Committee issued Official Letter 1351/UBND-KT dated March 18, 2020 on supporting businesses and solving difficulties for businesses in the context of COVID-19 pandemic outbreak; Plan 68/KH-UBND dated March 25, 2020 on implementation of Directive 11/CT-TTg dated March 4, 2020, of the Prime Minister on urgent tasks and solutions to remove production and business difficulties for enterprises and ensure social security in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Besides, we directed competent bodies to promptly carry out policies to support people and businesses in trouble because of the COVID-19 pandemic according to instructions of central authorities such as Resolution 42/NQ-CP of the Government, Decision 15/2020/QD-TTg of the Prime Minister (financed VND169.3 billion for 167,644 beneficiaries); Decree 41/NQ-CP of the Government (VND133 billion of tax was extended the payment term, including VND8.2 billion of land rents and VND124.8 billion of value added tax and corporate income).
Moreover, to achieve the highest social and economic indicators in the difficult context of the COVID-19 pandemic, we worked out the economic growth scenario in 2020. We focused on directing all levels and branches of authority, the business community and people all over the province to effectively carry out solutions of the Prime Minister, the Provincial Party Committee, the Standing Committee of the Provincial Party Committee and the Provincial People's Council to realize the dual goal of preventing the pandemic and developing the economy.
To speed up public investment disbursement and support economic growth, the Provincial People's Committee directed departments, branches, localities and investors to implement consistent tasks and solutions to clear difficulties and accelerate public investment disbursement. Provincial leaders regularly conducted field inspections and quickened construction progress of infrastructure projects, especially revenue-generating projects.
From the above efforts, the province managed to keep stable social, economic, defense and security situations in 2020, with 12 out of 17 targets meeting or exceeding the targets. This was an important foundation for the province to successfully realize main socio-economic goals and targets in 2021 and in the 2021-2025 term.
What solutions will you focus on in the coming time to further improve the business environment and raise the Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) to better support businesses?
We have paid due attention to enhancing the PCI Index and identified it as a breakthrough solution to create a foundation to boost investment attraction and socio-economic development. In particular, the Provincial Party Committee issued Action Program 06-CTr/TU dated April 26, 2016 on administrative reform, PCI and PAPI improvements to build an open and enabling investment environment. The Provincial People's Committee also issued the Plan 84/KH-UBND dated June 10, 2016 to implement this program.
After four years of implementing Action Program 06-CTr/TU and Plan 84/KH-UBND, the province has managed to increase PCI scores. The score increased by 0.78 points to climb up four places in 2016 (from No. 55 to No. 51); by 3.66 points to go up four places in 2017 (from No. 51 to No. 47); by 1.1 points but slid four places in 2018 (from No. 47 to No. 51); and by 2.45 points to look up eight places in 2019 (from No. 51 to No. 43).
However, in the national landscape, Phu Yen’s PCI rankings are not stable, especially as compared to other provinces/cities in the South Central Coast. Its standing is usually at the bottom of the region. This reality forced Phu Yen leaders to verify whether the local investment environment is really favorable and attractive to investors, where shortcomings lie and what fundamental and drastic measures are needed to resolve any issues?
Knowing limitations and bottlenecks needing to be eliminated, in the coming time, we will carry out many consistent solutions where administrative reform and administrative procedure reform will be strengthened and considered a leading approach to realize other tasks. Therefore, we are resolved to build an e-government as guided by the Prime Minister, to modernize the administration, apply information technology at administrative agencies; and upgrade qualifications and service public employees to be really wholeheartedly devoted to their work. The province will advocate enhancing “transparency and publicity” of administrative procedures and processes by bringing public services online and speeding up the settlement of administrative procedures. This will eventually help raise public services and improve the PCI Index.
Last but not least, the province will effectively deal with site clearance, create a clean land fund, carry out joint training and development of skilled human resources for enterprises; boost support for local investors; increase dialogues and expand the methods of receiving proposals and feedback from investors.
Source: Vietnam Business Forum