Efforts for Open Business Environment

10:29:22 AM | 12/5/2023

Long An province is consistently carrying out solutions to improve the business environment and enhance competitiveness while striving to reform investment promotion to create new impulses and attract new resources for economic and social development. The following is the interview with Mr. Truong Van Liep, Acting Director of the Long An Department of Planning and Investment, on this content.

Long An provincial leaders award the Prime Minister's decisions on investment policy to four projects

Over the years, Long An has become a leading light of the Mekong Delta region in investment attraction. Could you please introduce some achievements in the past time as well as the goals of the province for the coming time?

With many reasonable and timely support policies, plus effective deployment of investment promotion activities to tap local potential and strengths, Long An province has achieved many important results in investment attraction, especially in foreign direct investment (FDI) attraction.

Up to now, the province has licensed 1,160 FDI projects with a total registered fund of over US$10 billion from 40 countries and territories. Most FDI projects are located in industrial zones. The province also has nearly 2,200 domestic investment projects with over VND222,000 billion (US$10 billion) of registered investment capital.

In addition, the province is home to 15,300 operational companies with a total registered capital of over VND363,000 billion (nearly US$16 billion) and over 73,000 business households. Hence, Long An is currently among the most favored destinations for FDI investors in the country as well as in the Mekong Delta.

Currently, the province is accelerating economic restructuring by enhancing industrialization and modernization and taking industry, trade, service and urbanization as driving forces for development. Long An is carrying out the final steps of the Long An Master Plan for the 2021-2030 period, with a vision to 2050. This is expected to be a strategic plan to provide a solid foundation for development in the coming time, aiming to continue its leadership in the Mekong Delta by 2025 and become a well-developed urban and industrial development engine in the Southern Key Economic Region by 2030.

In the 2021-2030 period, Long An province will strive for an average annual GRDP growth of 9-9.5% and shift the economic structure toward a higher share of industry. By 2030, the land fund for industrial, urban and service development is expected to increase by 4-4.3 times and the economic scale by 2-2.5 times from 2021, while per capita income will reach VND180 million (US$7,800)

To achieve these goals, the province will take advantage of its important strategic location: bordering Ho Chi Minh City, serving as a gateway for the largest and most dynamic economic center in the country, the Mekong Delta and Cambodia to realize its aspirations of becoming the largest high-tech agricultural product export coordination center in the Mekong Delta in the next 10 years.

Recently, Long An has strongly reformed its investment attraction approach. What are the "highlights" and "new features" as compared with previous periods and to other localities in the region?

Effectively tapping competitive advantages, promoting regional linkages, upgrading infrastructure, accelerating administrative reform, changing mindsets and practices in investment promotion, actively contacting and providing information for large, potential investors, and digitizing and publicizing information documents are consistent, innovative solutions for the province to drastically improve the business investment environment and enable Long An to gradually realize its goal of becoming a "friendly and effective investment destination".

In addition to carrying out investment promotion, provincial leaders always show their interest in cooperating with businesses with practical actions. Specifically, in 2021, even during the complicated development of the COVID-19 pandemic, leaders of the Provincial Party Committee and the Provincial People's Committee visited every industrial zone and every enterprise to encourage them and learn about their difficulties and recommendations to introduce prompt business support.

In 2022, the province granted investment registration certificates for projects in industrial parks within one day from the date of receipt of complete and valid documents.  Relevant agencies worked together to support investors.

In addition, Long An Investment Promotion and Support Center is willing to give free advice on business establishment procedures and administrative procedures on investment and business. At the same time, the center provides information on socioeconomic development planning and orientation, introduces business locations and accompanies investors to survey investment locations that are suitable for planning.

The activeness, goodwill and consistency in carrying out guidelines and policies are trusted and appreciated by foreign investors and enterprises.

How have you enhanced administrative reform, investment climate and competitiveness? In recent years, Long An has always stood among the best performers of the Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI). While other provinces and cities are trying to conduct reforms and make breakthroughs, is this placing pressure on the province? What are its missions?

Carrying out administrative reform, improving the business investment environment and enhancing competitiveness are top priorities of the Provincial People's Committee and the Provincial People's Committee to raise their appeal.

Accordingly, the Department of Planning and Investment advised the provincial government to launch the District and Department Competitiveness Index (DDCI) in different aspects of economic management capacity and business climate. According to the DDCI results, relevant agencies and localities will assess, adjust and offer appropriate solutions. With such significance and importance, DDCI is considered a set of dual indicators for giving a score to two tiers of agency in the province and one of the new directions to improve the current PCI. Moreover, the Provincial People's Committee also launched a plan to further enhance PCI performance in 2022 and decided to establish a steering committee and working group to implement solutions to improve PCI and public administration reform. With its efforts, Long An province advanced greatly in PCI rankings in 2022, scoring 68.45 points and climbing six places from 2021 to stand among the Top 10 performers nationwide.

To improve the business investment environment and create favorable conditions for businesses and investors, the Department of Planning and Investment has reduced the time needed to handle administrative procedures relating to business registration to one day, including granting, replacement, revision and suspension of business operation certificate. Furthermore, the department will continue to control, update and promptly supplement the list of projects seeking investment funds, announce and publicize administrative procedures, with priority given to stages such as business and investment registration.

Business support, consulting and development activities have been gradually reformed and improved in quality. Solutions to difficulties faced by enterprises have also been fostered. Provincial leaders regularly organize meetings and dialogues with businesses in order to help them deal with emerging problems, as well as listen to their opinions and proposals on key policies for a better investment environment. The department organizes visits to companies to grasp their operations via various channels and instructs potential investors to survey locations and investment procedures. At the same time, the role of the Long An Business Association, the Long An Young Entrepreneurs Association is strengthened; the connectivity between the government and businesses is reinforced. Backlogs and pressing issues emerging in business operations are promptly reported.

In particular, through cooperation or competition with foreign firms, local companies can learn from their business management experience while creating jobs, speeding up economic growth, and expanding the market through access to customers of investment partners.

Long An province is committed to siding with businesses and investors and seriously solving difficulties for them. The provincial government, the business community and investors have worked closely together to realize the common goal of turning Long An into a leading province in the Mekong Delta by 2025 and a fairly developed province in the Southern Key Economic Region by 2030.

Thank you very much!

Source: Vietnam Business Forum