Binh Phuoc Confident for Great Leap

11:05:38 PM | 1/6/2015

Binh Phuoc province, set up 18 years ago, has always maintained impressive economic growth by rationally and efficiently tapping potential, advantages and social resources, making huge improvement in social life, economic structure and infrastructure and social security. Hence, the province is confident of becoming an economic locomotive in the Southeast region. To learn more about the province’s efforts for industrialisation and modernisation, Vietnam Business Forum interviewed Mr Pham Van Tong, Deputy Chairman of the Provincial People's Committee. My Chau reports.
Could you please tell us more about successes of Binh Phuoc province?
Eighteen years after the re-establishment, the look of Binh Phuoc province has improved significantly. Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) increased seven times since 1997.
GRDP growth was 12 percent a year on average from 1997 to 2014. People's livelihoods have been rising. Per capita income increased 19.4 times over 1997 (from VND2.62 million in 1997 to VND39.1 million in 2014).
The economic structure continues to shift in the right direction: Reducing proportion of agriculture and increasing share of industry, construction and services in GDP. In 1997, agriculture contributed 70.63 percent to GDP, industry and construction accounted for 6.88 percent, and services made up for 22.49 percent. In 2014, the respective shares were 37 percent, 23.5 percent and 39.5 percent.
Society and culture have improved in many aspects and educational level has been raised. The province had 193 schools at all levels of education in 1997, but this figure jumped to 431 in 2014, including 77 national-standard schools, making up for 17.8 percent.
All communes and wards have clinics. The ratio of sick beds to 10,000 residents was 8.7 in 1997 and 23.5 in 2014. The ratio of physicians to 10,000 residents was 2.1 in 1997 and 6.2 in 2014. Poverty reduction - a primary concern - was effective. Poverty rate fell from 17.82 percent in 1997 to 6.1 percent in 2014.
In addition to socioeconomic development, the province’s infrastructure system has been upgraded. Key investment projects have generated development momentums for the province, including National Road 13, National Road 14, and Provincial Roads 741, 753, 759 and 760. So far, all communes have asphalted roads leading to administrative centres. Other major projects of the 2011 - 2015 period have been invested as planned. Particularly, electricity and water supply projects have produced good results. Households with access to electricity was nearly 40 percent in 2000, the rate was 97.3 percent at the end of 2014. Similarly, households with access to clean water increased from 43 percent in 1997 to 90 percent in 2014.
2015 is a special year for Binh Phuoc as it is a final year of the five-year development plan (2010-2015). According to the Resolution of the Provincial Party Congress, the province will accomplish its socioeconomic development objectives set for the year and for the five-year plan. Could you please tell us the province’s policies and measures to achieve those objectives?
In the short term, all levels and sectors in the province will focus on serving the Party meetings at all levels and implementing tasks and measures for the 5-year development plan adopted by the 9th Provincial Party Congress, targeting GRDP growth of 10 - 10.5 percent a year. The province will restructure agriculture along with new countryside construction in accordance with Decree 210/2013/ND-CP dated December 19, 2013 of the Government, while speeding up industrial restructuring and review the progress of cooperation investment in industrial and economic zones to draw investment capital.
Besides, the province will also carry out social security policies, provide vocational training for people, improve medical service quality, reduce poverty and ensure social security. The province will carry out Education Development Strategy and Action Programme of the Government to implement the Central Resolution 8 (11th term) on fundamental and comprehensive education and training; the Central Resolution 6 (11th term) and the Scientific and Technological Development Strategy; Central Resolution 9 (11th term) on cultural development.
Binh Phuoc is one of five Vietnamese provinces engaged in the C-L-V Development Triangle. Would you mind talking about the province’s policies and measures to confirm its dynamic role in the Development Triangle in the coming time?
Binh Phuoc participated in the first Development Partnership Conference in Dak Lak province in April 2014 and attended the Trade Promotion Conference in Kratie province, Cambodia in September 2014. Through these events, Binh Phuoc and other provinces in the C-L-V Development Triangle have strengthened their investment and trade development investment cooperation and appealed to international donors to support infrastructure development investment.
From this successful platform, the province will work with other localities in the Development Triangle to complete procedures for receipt of funds from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for transport infrastructure construction in border districts adjoining Cambodia. The project not only helps promote socioeconomic development in border districts but also creates favourable conditions for the province to upgrade transport infrastructure, accelerate comprehensive development in economical, cultural, scientific and technological cooperation in Cambodian provinces.
Would you talk about investment encouragement policies, incentives and support to draw investment capital to exploit hydropower potential?
Currently, Binh Phuoc province has many hydropower projects like 150-MW Thac Mo hydropower plant, 72-MW Can Don hydropower plant, 51-MW Srok Phu Mieng hydropower plant, 18-MW Dak Glun hydropower plant, 4-MW Bu Ca Mau hydropower plant, 2.4-MW Dak U hydropower plant, and some other projects approved by the Ministry of Industry and Trade. Every year, hydroelectric plants in the province produce 1.5 billion kWh of electricity for national power grid, thus contributing to the overall development of electricity industry.
According to present trends, hydropower development is more favourable than other energy sources. Apart from withdrawing and removing infeasible hydropower projects, the Provincial People's Committee has assigned functional branches and local governments to work closely with investors and consultants to perform project surveys and assessments of potential locations for hydropower power plant construction. For feasible projects, the Provincial People's Committee contacts and works with the Ministry of Industry and Trade to supplement those projects into the national power development programme and guides functional departments to coordinate with local governments and project investors to carry out their projects in the most scientific, close and lawful way to ensure the smooth construction and operation. This new approach is expected to open up new opportunities to attract investors to Binh Phuoc province to tap local hidden potential.