Phu Tho Joining Forces to Improve Investment and Business Environment

2:48:50 PM | 25/3/2021

Carrying out the Resolution of the 19th Provincial Party Congress (2020-2025 term) on “Mobilizing resources for breakthroughs in improving the investment and business environment”, Phu Tho province is concretizing it with programs, plans and solutions. Vietnam Business Forum has an interview with Mr. Bui Van Quang, Chairman of Phu Tho Provincial People's Committee, on this topic.

In the 2016-2020 period, in addition to achieving remarkable economic growth, Phu Tho made great efforts for a better investment and business environment. Could you please tell us about this?

In the past five years, with the relentless resolution of the Party, authorities, people and businesses, Phu Tho province has obtained many important achievements: Completing and exceeding 19 out of 20 targets; GRDP growth of 7.86% a year; per capita GRDP of VND52.5 million; export growth of 30.2% a year; and total social investment capital of VND125 trillion in five years. The four breakthrough stages (investment resources for infrastructure development; human resource development; administration reform and tourism development) have achieved remarkable results. The province has mobilized over VND50 trillion for infrastructure investment (an increase of 1.38 times over the 2011-2015 period); and built more than 1,100km of roads. Human resources have strongly developed in both size and quality. Commercial infrastructure and service infrastructure projects have produced a strong driving force for development.

In the past period, the province has stepped up building e-government, effectively operating the Public Administration Center and the Smart Operation Center. By the end of 2020, as many as 1,810 out of 1,950 administrative procedures were brought to the Public Administration at Category 3, applied to provincial, district and communal levels; 938 procedures were brought online at Category 3 and 529 online public services of Category 4 were made electronic, thus significantly reducing the settlement time. Particularly, administrative procedures for business investment were slashed by 40-60% from regulatory norms. As a result, by 2020, the Vietnam Provincial Governance and Public Administration Performance Index (PAPI) ranked 4 out of 63 provinces in the country.

That progress was highly appreciated by people and businesses. Thus, the Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) went up from 35 in 2015 to 26 out of 63 provinces and cities in 2019, entering the well-performing group. Over the past five years, Phu Tho has licensed 700 more direct investment projects with a total registered fund of VND48 trillion (3.6 times more projects and 2.4 times more capital compared to the 2011-2015 period). The province has witnessed 3,600 companies founded, with a combined registered capital of VND21 trillion, bringing total projects to 8,700, ranking second among the Northern Midland and Mountainous Region.

Without a doubt, promoting the improvement of the business and investment environment is a central task of all-tiers of authorities of Phu Tho province in the past years. In 2016-2020, with innovative thinking, consistent direction and carrying-out of solutions, the province witnessed more positive changes. We believe that these results will open up new opportunities and create confidence for businesses and investors in the province.

What are the development goals of the province and what does the improvement of the investment and business environment mean for 2021-2025?

Phu Tho province is located at the western gateway of Hanoi - the capital of Vietnam, a hub for transshipment and economic exchange between Red River Delta provinces and northern mountainous region; a chain in the Kunming - Hai Phong Economic Corridor, near Noi Bai International Airport and Lao Cai International Border Gate. Thus, the province has many advantages to expand development cooperation. In recent years, the strong investment in infrastructure, especially in external transport, has improved its economic geographic position. The province has a vast agricultural and forest land; abundant human resources of high qualifications and skills; historical and cultural values, and intangible cultural heritages, enabling it to boost development as stated by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc that Phu Tho has all favorable conditions for development.

Grasping great opportunities, in the 2021-2025 period Phu Tho province will strive to become one of the most developed provinces in the northern midland and mountainous region, expecting to achieve the GRDP growth of over 7.5% a year. By 2025, the industry, construction and services will account for over 82% of the GDP; the export value will exceed US$3.8 billion; the total social investment capital will amount to VND190 trillion in five years; and budget revenue will climb to over VND10 trillion in 2025. To successfully realize its objectives, Phu Tho must effectively mobilize and use resources for development which may need 1.5-2 times more funds for the 2015-2020 period. The provincial authority is determined to further enhance the investment and business environment as a breakthrough stage in 2020 - 2025 and sharpen the competitive edge as a central and continuous task.

What are the tasks to improve the investment and business environment in the coming time?

The Resolution of the 19th Phu Tho Provincial Party Congress defined tasks and solutions as follows:

(1) Develop and supplement mechanisms and policies, create an enabling investment climate for business, social and economic development.

Specifically, Phu Tho will focus on building, completing and carrying out the provincial planning for the 2021 - 2030 period, with a vision to 2050; regional and sectoral plans; introducing mechanisms and policies to engage social investment resources and promote local comparative advantages for development; attracting key infrastructure investment projects; cutting-edge projects generating high added value; enticing businesses to invest in industrial zones; supporting manufacturing development and innovation investment.

The province will study building and promulgating mechanisms and policies and establish an innovative center in Viet Tri City; encourage startup businesses to innovate and apply science and technology, grow digital technology enterprises, and develop some new industries.

(2) Strongly improve the investment and business environment, develop economic sectors; mobilize most investment resources for key infrastructure systems, with potential and advantageous industries, fields and localities.

Accordingly, the province will review, renovate and streamline administrative processes with respect to investment, land and construction; remove "bottlenecks" in site clearance to provide ready land for investors; appraise projects to ensure regulatory compliance, foster socioeconomic performance and protect the environment; increase dialogues and meetings with local businesses; and grasp investor needs to speed up major projects.

Phu Tho will accelerate economic development, ensure a fair climate for all businesses; facilitate centrally-run enterprises to invest and expand manufacturing and business operations; attract giant firms and chain investors; enable private economic development; support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to invest in technological innovation in priority sectors; stimulate startups and business households to transform into corporate entities so as to have over 11,000 active businesses by 2025.

Besides, the province will mobilize investment resources for key infrastructure, especially industrial zones, tourist sites and important projects to create ripple effects and inter-regional connectivity. While building and carrying out the 5-year medium-term public investment plan (2021-2025), the province will prioritize public investment funds for important programs and projects, encourage enterprises to engage in public-private partnerships (PPP), socialize healthcare, education, training, culture and sports. Key tasks are to invest in infrastructure facilities for Phu Ha, Trung Ha, Cam Khe, Tam Nong, Ha Hoa and Phu Ninh industrial parks; traffic routes linking the industrial parks and production areas like Vinh Phu Bridge, Au Co Road, Phu Tho - Tuyen Quang Expressway; investing in tourism service development in Viet Tri City center, Thanh Thuy, Ha Hoa and Xuan Son National Park; develop financial, banking, telecommunications, post and information technology services, electrical infrastructure, urban technical infrastructure, commercial centers, and agricultural infrastructure.

The year 2021 has numerous advantages, coupled with a lot of challenges to local development. How will the province support businesses and investors to grasp opportunities and overcome challenges?

2021 is the first year of carrying out the 5-year plan to 2025 in accordance with the Resolution of the Provincial Party Congress where many high and far targets were set, including the dual goal of preventing the COVID-19 pandemic and boosting economic development. Therefore, Phu Tho province hopes that businesses and investors will continue to share their matters of concern, constantly renovate and upgrade technology to enhance business performance and ensure the environment. The provincial government always invites and welcomes investors to seek investment, production and business opportunities and to go alongside local development.

In order to accelerate the disruptive stage of improving the investment and business environment, carrying out the Resolution of the 19th Provincial Party Congress, the Provincial Party Committee and Provincial People's Committee are directing all levels, branches and localities to work out specific programs and plans, define clear objectives, tasks and solutions as well as responsibilities to coordinate actions to achieve the highest results.

The province has also drastically directed departments, branches and localities to implement consistent solutions to accelerate more substantive administrative reforms; change investment promotion approaches to obtain better outcomes; increase meetings and dialogues with businesses and investors to capture their needs, inspire existing investors to recommend the province to potential investors and side with them for mutual development.

Source: Vietnam Business Forum