To make breakthroughs in administrative reform, enhance competitiveness and improve the investment and business environment as per the Resolution of the 20th Provincial Party Congress (2020-2025 term), Thai Binh province has carried out many solutions and actions for further remove existing bottlenecks in the investment and business environment and obtained initial practical results. To find out more, Vietnam Business Forum’s reporter has an interview with Mr. Vu Kim Cu, Director of Thai Binh Department of Planning and Investment. Song Uyen reports.
Investment promotion and attraction in Thai Binh province has achieved encouraging results over the past time. Could you please briefly introduce these results as well as reasons for this success?
In 2020 and the first months of 2021, investment promotion and attraction sank in many localities across the country due to the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and Thai Binh province is no exception.
However, with the close and drastic direction of the Provincial Party Committee and the Provincial People's Committee, the province has obtained some positive achievements in investment promotion and attraction. On September 1, 2021, Thai Binh province successfully held a meeting to hand investment certificates to five projects with a combined registered capital of nearly US$600 million, including three large-scale FDI projects with US$395 million, including Lottes Thai Thuy Vietnam factory, Greenworks Thai Binh Vietnam factory (Lien Ha Thai Industrial Park) and a home appliance, indoor and outdoor furniture manufacturing factory in Tien Hai Industrial Park. In the first nine months of 2021, the province granted 59 investment licenses for 30 new projects and 29 existing projects with a total investment fund of over VND16,723 billion (4.5 times more than that in the same period of 2020).
Indeed, for some localities, this value is not great, but it is significant for Thai Binh province. First of all, in the last 20 years, the province attracted 94 FDI projects with US$900 million and most FDI projects are labor-intensive. But only three FDI projects licensed on September 1, 2021 equaled nearly half of the value attracted in 20 years. Moreover, these investment projects are located in Thai Binh Economic Zone, a key and driving force for local economic development in the 2021-2025 phase and beyond.
This result came from stable political security, rapid economic growth, abundant human resources, competitive costs, attractive preferential policies and an intensively integrated economy. In addition, knowing that administrative reform is an important solution for socioeconomic development, the Thai Binh Provincial Party Committee has seriously and drastically directed authorities of all levels and relevant bodies to reform administrative procedures and create positive changes.
Moreover, in recent years, investment attraction has been closely and consistently directed by all levels of the Party and government. The province issued and carried out many investment attraction and encouragement mechanisms and policies; reviewed and revised investment fields in industrial zones. The province advertised and introduced the local investment environment, policies, potential and opportunities; actively contacted, worked and invited investors; and readily supported businesses during their investment time in the locality.
With these efforts, the Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) of Thai Binh has been improved significantly, the increasingly open business environment has attracted more investors and made Thai Binh a leading light in investment attraction for the time being.
The entire political system is determined to act to remove "bottlenecks" and unlock local potential and resources to make Thai Binh a developed province in the Red River Delta. How are these determinations and efforts being made?
To successfully realize the goal of making Thai Binh a developed province in the Red River Delta, the province pointed out seven "bottlenecks" affecting socioeconomic development, including: slow site clearance for many projects that affects the progress of implementation and investment attraction; the insufficient infrastructure system, especially transport infrastructure, which fails to meet current development requirements; inconsistent laws and policies on economic development; inadequate planning; unsatisfactory investment promotion and attraction, especially in large-scale projects with advanced technology and high added value; slow administrative reform; and insufficient human resources, especially high-quality human resources.
Among these seven "bottlenecks", Thai Binh is determined to speed up site clearance for slow-moving projects. The Standing Board of the Provincial Party Committee issued Directive 08-CT/TU dated July 5, 2021 on strengthening leadership and implementation of site clearance for investment projects; the Provincial People's Committee issued Plan 116/KH-UBND dated August 18, 2021 on implementation of Directive 08-CT/TU dated July 5, 2021 and Plan 117/KH-UBND dated August 18, 2021 on emulation movement on "Speeding up implementation of site clearance for investment projects in the province”; and requested all relevant agencies and localities for implementation. With the drastic and close engagement involvement of the whole political system, ground clearance has been much improved. Many “bottlenecks” which have been stuck for a long time have been resolved, including a 4-5-storey dormitory in Le Hong Phong Ward, Chu Van An Street, Dinh Tien Hoang Street. Key projects such as Lien Ha Thai Industrial Park, Thaco Industrial Park and a road from Thai Binh City to Cau Ngan have their site clearance sped up to keep up with their progress schedule.
To clear "bottlenecks" in traffic infrastructure, the Provincial People's Committee directed the Department of Transport and other relevant agencies and sectors to speed up consultation and effective implementation of projects; accelerate the progress of projects with important impacts; and promote construction of coastal roads, a road from Thai Binh City to Cau Nghin, Provincial Road 462 (Road 221A), Provincial Road 454 (Road 223), trunk roads in Thai Binh Economic Zone and some other important traffic routes.
The province has sped up administrative reform, with focus on reforms of administrative procedures, to facilitate people, organizations and businesses to do their business; promptly removed difficulties in business for them; amended, supplemented and completed mechanisms and policies for investment management, encouragement and attraction.
The province has always thoroughly grasped, flexibly applied to specific conditions, clearly defined goals, key tasks and innovative solutions to deal with existing and emerging problems in order to unlock all resources to accelerate development in the coming years.
In 2020, the province's Market Entry Index reached 8.95 points, an increase of 2.25 points over 2019, ranking No. 2 out of 63 provinces and cities. This index is always higher than other component indices. What solutions did the Department of Planning and Investment advise the provincial government to apply to further improve PCI component indices in the coming time?
In recent years, Thai Binh province has reduced the time needed to deal with administrative procedures and applied the single-window policy. The Provincial People's Committee has directed departments and branches to handle administrative procedures at the Provincial Public Administration Service Center. All of the departments and sectors have registered to carry out the administrative procedure settlement process at the center, and have reviewed and reduced on average by nearly 50% of the processing time compared to current regulations.
With the above efforts, it takes much less time to complete administrative procedures relating to business registration: Three days for business registration service provided by the Department of Planning and Investment at the Thai Binh Public Administration Service Center and 1.5 days for revising a business registration license. Many applications for change of business registration are resolved within working days. The processing time for the application for approval of the investment policy is reduced to 56.25% compared to the regulations. The settlement of sublicenses for an established business (concerning tax, insurance, construction and professional certification) is also facilitated by all levels and branches of authority, thus reducing the execution time.
These achievements are the result of close and consistent coordination of all relevant agencies and localities, not only in reforming administrative procedures and ensuring publicity and transparency but also in improving the quality, service attitude of professional staff. By reforming administrative procedures and reducing the service time plus the dedicated efforts and attitude of every public employee, more companies have been established in Thai Binh province.
With the consistent and serious engagement and action of all levels and branches of authority in administrative reform and capacity building plus improved service attitude of public employees, the constant growth of the Market Entry Index, including 6 out of 10 PCI indicators having an increase in scores and ranks is proof of business satisfaction. This is also a valuable experience for the Department of Planning and Investment to advise the Provincial People's Committee on solutions to maintain and increase the PCI score, thus creating a fair business environment and improving the local competitiveness to attract more investment projects from enterprises.
Thank you very much!
Mr. Nguyen Quoc Huy
Vinacomin - Mining Chemical Industry Corporation (Micco)
Micco invested in Amon Nitrate Manufacturing Plant in Thai Binh province from 2011 to 2015 and put it into commercial operation later. The facility has a yearly output capacity of 200,000 tons, but it is currently producing 170,000-180,000 tons a year and is expected to reach its fully designed capacity in 2022.
Over the years, the plant has been supported by local authorities and people who have provided all advantages for its operation. Provincial leaders always take care, encourage and directly visit the plant to learn about its difficulties and apply solutions in a timely manner.
However, in my opinion, the investment environment in Thai Binh has certain limits: unsynchronized socioeconomic infrastructure, especially narrow roads, insufficient wharves and means of transport, thus hindering exportation to a certain extent. Local businesses hope that local authorities will more firmly accelerate the progress of key transport projects - lifeblood and driving force for business development and investment attraction in Thai Binh.