11:41:49 AM | 26/10/2006
In 2005, Tien Giang witnessed major events with My Tho recognised as a second grade city, the province’s admission to the key southern economic region and the establishment of the Tien Giang University. Nguyen Huu Chi, chairman of the Tien Giang People’s Committee had an interview with Vietnam Business Forum about the achievements and new opportunities of the province.
Can you tell us about some outstanding socio-economic achievements recorded by Tien Giang province in the past?
Over the past five years, Tien Giang province has gained a GDP growth rate of nine per cent per annum on average. In its 2005 economic structure, agriculture, fisheries and forestry contributed 48 per cent; industry and construction, 22.5 per cent; and trade and services, 29.5 per cent. Tien Giang is one of the Mekong delta with a narrow area and a condensed population. Per capita income of local people remains lower than other provinces in the region. It now stands at VND 7.52 million per year per annum (or US$ 480). Total export turnover in the last five years reached US$537 million. Budget revenues from the local economy reached VND 4,290 billion. Total investment capital of the last five years reached VND 17,280 billion, accounting for 35.4 per cent of the province’s GDP.
In the first final of 2006, Tien Giang witnessed a socio-economic change for the better. Despite many difficulties, the province’s GDP reached VND 4,650 billion, or an growth rate of 9.83 per cent, higher than that of the same period last year. The industry and construction sector alone saw a growth rate of 24.39 per cent, higher than its yearly plan.
In 2005, My Tho was recognised as a second grade city and Tien Giang joined the key southern economic region. How has Tien Giang done to tap its potential for socio-economic development?
Even though My Tho has been recognised as a second grade city, its population and infrastructure remain under the average norms. Therefore, the province is reviewing and adjusting its master plans and developing solutions to tap its potential fully when it joins the key southern economic region. In the coming time, the province will plan the expansion of My Tho city, so it is worth being a second grade city.
At the same time, the province has planned to supply water from My Tho to Go Cong with a capacity of between 170,000 and 200,000 cubic metres per day and night. Estimated capital for the project is around VND 850 billion and the province is calling for investment for the project. In addition, Tien Giang is planning a shipyard on around 500 hectares at the Soai Rap-Go Cong Dong gate. When the project is completed and starts operation, it will create jobs for 10,000 people. Apart from the My Tho industrial park, which is being filled up, Tien Giang province is building and calling for investment to the Tan Huong industrial park and many other industrial complexes in districts and My Tho city. With the appearance of industrial parks and complexes alongside the province’s investment strategies and priority policies, we hope that more investors will come to Tien Giang and the province’s economy will see a great development leap.
What are the socio-economic development norms of Tien Giang in the coming time? Which field will the province prioritise for investment?
In the coming time, Tien Giang province will strive to gain an average GDP growth rate of between 11 and 12 per cent per annum, per capita income of between US$900 and 930, and an average export turnover increase of between 16 and 18 per cent, reaching US$360 million and 400 million. Alongside the establishment of the Tien Giang University, the province will strive to have trained workers accounting for 35 per cent of its labour force in 2010, thus helping reduce the unemployment rate in urban areas to less than four per cent in 2010. Tien Giang will complete its programme on strengthening schools and universalisation of the junior secondary education in 2006. It is now targeting 100 per cent of its communes and wards reaching the national standard of health care in 2010.
In the 2006-2010 period, apart from a concentration on developing fisheries as a spearhead economic sector, Tien Giang province will focus on developing trade and services, in particular tourism. At the same time, the province has developed plans and programmes for promoting its co-operation with other localities, including Ho Chi Minh City. Many projects on infrastructure development, public transportation, health care, offshore fishing, aquaculture, seafood and farm-produce processing will be prioritised by Tien Giang province.
What will the local authorities do to improve Tien Giang’s competitiveness in investment attraction?
According to the provincial competitiveness index released recently by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), Tien Giang is now 33rd out of 64 cities and provinces. The result has left many concerns and worries for local authorities. For Tien Giang to become a destination for attracting investors, we are concentrating on further improving the local investment environment. In particular, the province will accelerate its administrative reform and improving skills and knowledge of cadres and officials, thus helping improve the image of Tien Giang. In the short term, the province will review administrative procedures and remove troublesome procedures. We will also concentrate on developing vocational training for young people in rural areas. Post graduate degrees and foreign language training will be promoted by the province to meet the demand of local enterprises and agencies.
Reported by Le Tan and Ngoc Huong