PCI shines spotlight on Dong Thap
For over a decade, the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap has been a regular bright spot in the country’s provincial competitiveness index ranking, and placed second in the 2018 tally. VIR’s Nhu Y sat down with Nguyen Van Duong, Chairman of the Dong Thap People’s Committee, to discuss the province’s tireless efforts in improving the local investment and business climate over recent years.
Dong Thap’s rise to second place in the provincial competitiveness index (PCI) rankings has maintained its 11-year record of being listed among the top five in the annual tally. Could you share your sentiments on this?
I am very happy, not only about the ranking, but also because our efforts have been acknowledged by the business community.
I would like to express thanks to the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the US Agency for International Development for creating such a useful and objective information channel which has helped to facilitate the business climate in the province.
I also would like to convey thanks to the investors and the business community for having trust and good appraisals about the business environment within Dong Thap, as well as their enduring dedication to our socio-economic development.
Looking at the PCI rankings over the past 11 years, not many think that Dong Thap, a largely agricultural province with an unfavourable geographical position, could post such noteworthy achievements. How did this come about?
Compared to neighbouring localities, the starting point of Dong Thai was very low because our province is largely based around agricultural production. This was an unfavourable position, but despite this context, the province has ramped up efforts to present more viable solutions that underpin development. Over the past few years, one consistent asset in our management’s operation is to take businesses as a companion, as well as seeing them as a motivating force, to spur development. Businesses, therefore, have received timely support and incentives to develop stably in the province.
I had thought that businesses might miss out on opportunities if the local authorities took action too late. We, therefore, have taken efforts ahead of time to push though administrative reforms to ensure investors that procedures are processed and implemented efficiently.
Some examples exist regarding the time taken to provide investment certificates to projects outside of industrial zones (IZs) and economic zones (EZs) that have been approved to make investment decisions.
These have now reduced to only 16 days compared to 35 days previously. Meanwhile projects inside IZPs and EZs are to be reduced to nine days compared to 15 days in the past.
Similarly, the time to receive land use certificates or certificates proving the ownership of housing and other assets attached to the land has fallen to just 15 days instead of 30 days before.
In addition, Dong Thap has joined forces with domestic and foreign businesses to host investment promotion conferences to increase exposure among investors.
We have paid due attention to facilitate the implementation of memorandums of understanding (MoUs) and launch projects at these meetings. Overall people leave with a good impression on the area whilst investors leave with memories about a dynamic Dong Thap which serves to improve the investment environment. After the PCI ranking announcement, we have gathered to review the past journey, consider limitations, and also present solutions to overcome.
What concrete measures has the province taken to facilitate business operations under the motto of “always acting as a companion to businesses”?
Besides creating an open mechanism and caring about every opportunity of our investors, our province has done more than just helping them to tackle their difficulties. Within the premises of the Dong Thap People’s Committee, we have dedicated a part called The Coffee Corner where businesses can meet the province’s executives to express the difficulties they face, share their future business plans, and even receive consultancy about management activities.
Recently, the Dong Thap People’s Committee has enacted many dispatches on reducing the number of meetings, allowing for leaders, as well as the leaders of a diverse range of authorised agencies to have more time to visit businesses, helping them to solve problems in a timely manner.
In addition, under the provincial management, a special hot-line has been established and made public to receive businesses’ proposals anywhere and at any time. Businesses can also send their proposals and comments through the Facebook of the province’s e-portal, and the province has promised to answer all proposals in a timely manner.
These strenuous efforts have helped to cultivate the “Dong Thap - PCI” brand which has become an important indicator in helping Dong Thap to appeal to both domestic and foreign investors.
In the upcoming month, Dong Thap will engage in assessing the competitive capacity of the province at different levels. Why the need for this as the province’s PCI gets better?
Based on 10 component indexes of the PCI, we will make a number of suitable revisions and supplementations to make the criteria fit with local conditions. We will receive feedback from between 700 to 1,000 businesses, production, trading households, co-operatives, as well as investors in the province. They will all give their opinions on how they perceive the service quality of 22 local departments and sectors, as well as their opinion on the 12 districts, towns, and cities located in the province. This is both important and necessary as the departments, sectors, and localities will look at what they’ve done well and what did not work before devising solutions and plans to create a dynamic and effective operation and management apparatus.
Despite Dong Thap climbing to the second position nationwide in the 2018 PCI ranking with seven out of the 10 indexes recording higher scores compared to the previous year, we are still not content. We are committed to making further endeavours to improve the score in the future. Under the motto “Taking business satisfaction as a standard metric to gauge the province’s success”, Dong Thap commits to further continue accompanying investors on their journey striving for sustainable development.
Source: Vietnam Invesment Review