Long An: Embracing and Facilitating Businesses

1:34:48 PM | 11/5/2023

With its efforts to revive the economy, conduct administrative reform and carry out consistent business support policies, Long An province advanced greatly in PCI rankings in 2022, climbing six places from 2021 to stand among the Top 10 performers nationwide. Mr. Nguyen Van Ut, Chairman of the Provincial People's Committee, said Long An province always provides the most favorable conditions for businesses. In 2023, the province will focus on improving PCI subindices and creating an open, transparent investment environment to encourage businesses and investors to play a significant role in economic development.

Mr. Nguyen Van Ut, Chairman of the Provincial People's Committee, receives the PCI trophy and certificate of recognition as one of the best performers in the 2022 PCI rankings

Overcoming many challenges in 2022, Long An province achieved impressive results in economic growth (GRDP growth of 8.46%, ranking 12th out of 63 cities and provinces) and investment attraction (VND23,800 billion, more than twice that of 2021). So, how will you continue this result in this important year of 2023?

Long An province was one of the localities heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, with united, drastic and effective action, in 2022, the province achieved all 20 key social and economic targets. Notably, its gross regional domestic product (GRDP) grew 8.46% to secure the 12th largest economy in the country and its total budget revenue reached an all-time high of nearly VND22,000 billion, up 17.7% year on year. Besides, the province promoted cultural and artistic activities, sports events, tourism and digital transformation; fully and promptly implemented social security policies; and well maintained national defense, security and internal affairs. The working of the political system became more and more effective, with many positive changes in many aspects.

In 2023, the world economy and political context were forecast to continue facing uncertainty. Domestically, the country will continue to confront numerous difficulties and challenges such as tightening credit policy, supply chain disruption and high input costs that hit economic recovery and development.

In that context, the province defined 2023 as a pivotal year with many fundamental changes to create momentum for the following years to successfully implement the resolution of the 11th Provincial Party Congress. Continuing the achievements in 2022 and identifying opportunities and challenges; upholding the spirit of solidarity and determination; advancing the new mindset toward self-reliance; placing people and businesses at the center of service; regarding businesses as a driving force and resource for development, the province will strive for GRDP growth of 8-8.5% in 2023.

Long An province has been taking drastic and consistent action to carry out three breakthrough programs and three key projects in the spirit of the resolution of the 11th Provincial Party Congress. Would you tell us more about this determination as well as the results achieved so far?

The resolution of the 11th Provincial Party Congress (of 2020-2025 term) states 17 important targets aimed to ensure the steady development of the province in the coming time, including the 5-year average GRDP growth of 9.2-10% in the 2021-2025 period and GRDP per capita of VND 115-120 million by 2025. To achieve the above goals, Long An province defined three key projects and three breakthrough programs. Up to now, the implementation of these projects and programs has produced positive outcomes as follows.

- Three key projects: (1) Ring Road of Tan An City: under construction with progress as scheduled, expected to be open to traffic in 2023; (2) Provincial Road 830E (from the intersection with the expressway to Provincial Road 830): Ben Luc District People's Committee is paying for reclaimed land, the investor is clearing site for construction, started April 21, 2023; (3) Provincial Road 827E (the section from Ho Chi Minh City to the Vam Co Dong River): The Personnel Affairs Department of the Provincial People's Committee is proposing again the investment plan to the Provincial Party Committee. Accordingly, the reclaimed land for the traffic route will be kept unchanged from the investment plan approved by the Provincial People's Council to avoid upsetting local people. For construction investment, in the near term, the province will focus resources for site clearance and road construction to major bridges (Can Giuoc, Vam Co Dong and Vam Co Tay bridges) to connect with provincial roads and national highways to boost the performance of these three ODA-funded bridges. The section from the boundary of Ho Chi Minh City to the first roundabout (the intersection with Provincial Road 826E, about 700m long) will be assigned to the winning investor of Long Hau New Urban Area who will carry out site clearance and construction investment as per the approved plan, while the rest will be executed in the public-private partnership (PPP) form.

- Three breakthrough programs:

(1) High-tech agricultural development program associated with agricultural restructuring: The program helps farmers gradually change their mindset from agricultural production to agricultural commercialization, aligned with enhancing efficiency, competitiveness, environment-friendliness and climate responsiveness. By the first quarter, the area of high-tech applied rice farming reached 73% of the plan; the area of high-tech vegetable farming climbed to 97.2% of the plan; the area of high-tech dragon fruit farming was 68.1% of the plan; the area of high-tech lemon farming was 71% of the plan; and the area of high-tech shrimp farming was 22.6% of the plan.

(2) Human resource training program to meet the needs of industrial and agricultural development: The Provincial People's Committee launched many action plans such as the health sector human resources training project in 2021-2025, foreign language training program for public employees, and contractual overseas guest worker training program. Currently, relevant agencies and localities are carrying out their approved plans. At the same time, Long An College is being invested by the State budget to improve human resource training for the province. The construction investment progress is kept as scheduled (VND14,955 billion was allocated in 2022 and VND80 billion was arranged for it in 2023).

(3) The program to mobilize all resources for a synchronous transport infrastructure construction for industrial and urban development of the key economic region: As for projects funded by the State budget, the implementation progress will be kept as scheduled, including: (1) Provincial Road 824 upgrading and expansion project, for section from Tua Mot to Kenh Ranh Bridge; and (2) Hung Vuong Street-National Highway 62 intersection project (Tan An City). Remaining projects will depend on the planning and bidding to select investors. In the coming time, the province will continue to accelerate the implementation of these projects.

With specific plans for each project and program plus high determination and great effort, I firmly believe that, by 2025, Long An will successfully implement three key projects and three breakthrough programs to create a premise for the province to maintain its leading position in the Mekong Delta region as stated in the resolution of the 11th Provincial Party Congress.

Would you tell us about the highlights in the Long An Master Plan for the 2021-2030 period, with a vision to 2050? What commitments has Long An province made to attract more investors?

In the first week of April 2023, the Provincial People's Committee signed a document to ask the Prime Minister to ratify the Long An Master Plan for the 2021-2030 period, with a vision to 2050. The plan is a guideline to define the vision and development goals of sectors, regions and localities. This is also an important basis for promoting investment attraction, addressing the situation that some strategic investors study investment opportunities in Long An but do not choose the province for their projects because they have to wait for the provincial master plan.

The master plan aims to tap potential and geo-economic advantages to make Long An province a gateway on the urban, industrial and economic corridor of the Mekong Delta region that is closely connected to Ho Chi Minh City and the Southeast region, an important trading hub for cooperation with Cambodia for rapid and sustainable socioeconomic development. The development space of Long An province is effectively organized, bolstered by a synchronous and modern infrastructure system. It will focus on developing some areas with favorable conditions, support poor areas, and harmoniously develop urban and rural areas.

In addition, the master plan defines the human factor as the center, actor, resource and goal of development; and focuses on attracting and developing high quality human resources. It advocates strongly developing science, technology and innovation, actively taking advantage of the opportunities of the fourth industrial revolution, encouraging and facilitating digital transformation and applying new economic models to boost productivity and growth quality.

The provincial government is committed to always embracing and facilitating businesses in the province, as well as potential investors, to promote their aggressive role in economic development. At the same time, it further enhances the image of Long An to international friends and connects reliable, potential and good-will partners to invest in the province.

Thank you very much!

By Ngo Khuyen, Vietnam Business Forum