According to the PCI rankings in 2021, Ba Ria - Vung Tau province scored 69.03 points, ranking No. 9 out of 63 provinces and cities, six places higher than in 2020, to stand among excellent performers of economic administration. This outcome evidenced efforts of all levels and branches of authority in the province to actively solve difficulties for businesses amid the epidemic outbreak, reduce informal costs and enhance publicity and transparency of land information for enterprises to access land more easily. However, according to Deputy Director of the Department of Planning and Investment, Mr. Nguyen Tan Cuong, Ba Ria - Vung Tau province is still not satisfied with the current result and is working hard to get higher in the PCI rankings in the coming years. Cong Luan reports.
Could you please introduce encouraging results of investment attraction of Ba Ria - Vung Tau province in the past time?
The COVID-19 epidemic negatively impacted the economic development of Ba Ria - Vung Tau province, especially in foreign direct investment (FDI) attraction because foreign investors were restricted from travelling and studying investment opportunities in the province. However, with the close direction and leadership of the Provincial Party Committee and the Provincial People's Committee, the province managed to achieve relatively positive results of investment attraction in 2021 and the first four months of 2022. Specifically, in 2021, the province attracted 74 new domestic and foreign projects with US$347.11 million and VND23,452.4 billion (US$1 billion) of investment capital and licensed 37 existing domestic and foreign projects to add US$295 million and VND10,010.7 billion to their investment base.
Ba Ria - Vung Tau provincial leaders award the Investment Policy Decision and Investment Registration Certificate to investors
In the first four months of 2022, the province licensed 14 newly invested and capital-adjusted projects with a total revised fund of VND4,909.4 billion. Specifically, seven fresh projects registered to invest VND2,673.9 billion; five existing projects registered to add VND2,235.5 billion to their investment base; and two projects terminated operation with a total registered capital of VND110 billion.
During the two years of the ranging COVID-19 pandemic, especially the 4th outbreak in 2021, Ba Ria - Vung Tau was an epicenter. In that context, what specific measures did the province take to support investors and businesses to overcome difficulties and gradually restore and stabilize their operations?
In September 2021, given the complicated development of the COVID-19 epidemic, investors and businesses faced numerous difficulties because of prolonged anti-epidemic measures. In order to support enterprises to maintain business operations, strengthen their confidence, and increase their resilience to the pandemic, the Provincial Party Committee and Provincial People's Committee sent an urgent requirement regarding establishment of a focal point to promptly receive, handle and remove difficulties and obstacles to support the business community to work and develop stably.
In response to Notice 671-TB/TU dated September 8, 2021 of the Standing Board of the Provincial Party Committee on COVID-19 epidemic prevention and control in the province and Official Letter 1623-CV/TU dated September 17, 2021 of the Standing Board of the Provincial Party Committee on formation of a special working group responsible for reviewing and removing difficulties and promoting investment projects, the Provincial People's Committee issued Decision 2786/QD-UBND dated September 15, 2021 on establishment of Support Working Group under the Provincial People's Committee assigned to solve difficulties for businesses affected by the COVID-19 epidemic (referred to as Working Group 2786). The group responsibly helps the Provincial People's Committee and the Chairman of the Provincial People's Committee to research, direct and coordinate in solution of important and inter-agency work concerning eradication of difficulties for businesses and people affected by the epidemic.
In 2021 (after three months of operation), Working Group 2786 received 131 recommendations from businesses and investors and processed 111 of them through the Business Feedback Portal (http://pakndn.baria-vungtau.gov.vn), email of Working Group 2786 and online conference on October 2, 2021 to guide epidemic prevention and control at local enterprises; and announced processing results of 80 requests collected from six online government-business conferences at the Portal (from September 14 to 17, 2021). Their recommendations were concentrated at the time of operation. Online recommendations, filed at the Portal, were mainly related to quarantine distancing, testing costs, mobility and freight. From October 16, 2021, temporary application of safe, flexible adaptation measures and effective control of the COVID-19 epidemic in the province according to Official Document 15467/UBND-VP dated October 15, 2021 and Resolution 128/NQ-CP dated October 11, 2021 of the Government helped address above matters and enterprises did not send any question about the COVID-19 epidemic but mainly about land, planning and investment procedures in the province.
How does the province plan to attract investment in the coming time?
To create a premise to invite and attract investors, in the coming time, the province will give priority to perfecting the infrastructure system, especially traffic infrastructure; focus on investing in traffic along the Cai Mep - Thi Vai seaport system; connecting tourism projects along the coastal traffic route from Vung Tau to Binh Chau and routes linked to the Southern Key Economic Zone such as Ring Road 4 and strengthening investment for expressways and Bien Hoa - Vung Tau Railway; upgrade and complete investment on national highways 51, 55 and 56 and provincial roads linked to Dong Nai and Binh Thuan provinces; upgrade inland waterways, and maintain Can Gio - Vung Tau ferry route to Ho Chi Minh City.
The province will continue to advocate the policy of selecting capable investors. To strongly develop industry, seaport, tourism and high-tech agriculture, Ba Ria - Vung Tau province will facilitate investors to access land fund; carry out preparatory procedures to call for key tourism, urbanization, seaport and logistics projects; and review planning, land and infrastructure. The province will implement the action plan on enforcement of Resolution 02/NQ-CP of the Government on continued implementation of key tasks and solutions for a better business environment and stronger national competitiveness as well as annual plans for higher PCI standing. The province will focus on reviewing, reducing and simplifying investment-related administrative procedures; reviewing and simplifying ineffective administrative procedures (no records are found, obstructive and costly for people and businesses) as directed by the Provincial People's Committee.
At the same time, the province will focus on diversifying investment promotion activities and methods; enhance local investment promotion based on successful cooperation projects; and constantly reform and improve investment promotion efficiency in a flexible manner, based on local requirements and characteristics. Ba Ria - Vung Tau will intensify coordination and connectivity of central and local governments, among regions, and among governmental agencies and professional associations in investment promotion. It will actively draw investment fund with focused objectives and new investment cooperation criteria, maintain traditional markets and partners and expand new partners.
Scoring 69.03 points, Ba Ria - Vung Tau rose to No. 9 out of 63 provinces and cities in the 2021 PCI Ranking and to No. 2 in the Southeast region. Would you mind telling more about this success as well as the province’s goal of improving its PCI in the coming time?
The Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) 2021 was announced by VCCI on April 27, 2022. Ba Ria - Vung Tau province ranked No. 9 out of 63 provinces and cities with a score of 69.03 points, an increase of 3.55 points and 6 ranking places from 2020, to stand among good performers of economic administration. This is the highest position of Ba Ria - Vung Tau province since 2017, showing its great efforts to improve the business investment environment and taking public and business satisfaction as sustainable development goals.
Ba Ria - Vung Tau had seven gainers out of 10 sub-indices (Proactivity of Provincial Leadership; Informal Charges; Equal competition; Land Access and Security of Tenure; Transparency and Access to Information; Business Support Services; Legal Institutions - Security and Order). Many sub-indices jumped high, including Access to Land rising from 6.84 points to 7.01 points; Transparency from 5.64 points to 6.07 points; and Business Support Services from 6.22 points to 7.81 points.
Resolution 09-NQ/DH of the 7th Provincial Party Congress (2020-2025 term) set the goal of “Bringing the PCI Index to Top 10 in the country”. To do so, basing on opinions from the Legal Department under the Provincial People’s Council in Report No. 75/BC-BPC dated July 29, 2020, the Department of Planning and Investment advised the Provincial People’s Committee to issue Directive 05/CT-UBND dated March 26, 2021 on improving the PCI index in 2020 - 2025 and to launch the Action Plan for PCI Index improvement in 2021 (promulgated with Decision 1880/QD-UBND dated July 9, 2021).
In the coming time, Ba Ria - Vung Tau aims not only to stand among Top 10 but also to reach a higher rank. In the short term, the province will focus on carrying out four groups of key tasks: Further reviewing the process, procedures and time of solution of records; focus on training lean, capable, dynamic, effective and efficient workforce; fostering information technology application to settling records; and strengthening inspection and supervision of organizations, apparatuses, individuals and units which will be commended for good performance and retrained because of poor performance. With falling indices, the province will review and reassess them to have specific solutions for improvement and lift up Ba Ria - Vung Tau province’s PCI rankings in the coming years.
Thank you very much!
Source: Vietnam Business Forum