Yen Bai: Top Priority for Sustainability-oriented Investment Projects

11:54:04 AM | 14/8/2019

With close leadership, all tiers of Yen Bai authorities have been carrying out aggressive measures to promote public administration reform, improve the business environment and enhance competitiveness in order to build a dynamic, enabling government. Mr. Nguyen Minh Toan, Director of Yen Bai Department of Planning and Investment, gives an exclusive interview to Vietnam Business Forum Magazine on the above contents. Ngo Khuyen reports.

What do you think about the provincial investment results? To get these results, what directions and solutions have you adopted?

By the end of May 2019, Yen Bai province had 482 licensed projects with a total registered investment capital of VND70,864 billion and US$434.36 million (VND9,550 billion), including 358 industrial production projects, 46 agricultural projects and 93 investment projects in trade, service and other economic sectors. Particularly, some projects had huge investment value, for example, VND4,980-billion Thac Ba Lake cultural park, tourism, sport and auxiliary zone invested by Thac Ba Lake Cultural Park, Tourism, Sport and Auxiliary Zone Investment Joint Stock Company (a member company of Alphanam Group) and VND2,700-billion Van Hoi International Ecological Tourism and Resort Complex Project invested by Van Hoi International Tourism and Resort Development Joint Stock Company (affiliated to TH Group).

Needless to say, under the decisive leadership and direction of the province, in recent years, Yen Bai province has made many breakthroughs in drawing investment capital and mobilizing various financial resources for local socioeconomic development.

Based on its functions and tasks, the Department of Planning and Investment has advised competent authorities to consider and introduce consistent solutions and orientations for investment attraction, specifically as follows:

- On infrastructure planning and development: Improving planning quality; establishing missing plans, adjusting inappropriate plans, and publicizing plans for investors and people to understand the province’s development orientation; engaging businesses, investors and communities in planning.

- Strengthening industrial zone management; prioritizing investment funds for industrial zone infrastructure construction; encouraging domestic and foreign economic sectors and financially, technologically capable investors to invest in construction and operate industrial zone infrastructure and court investors, particularly foreign direct investment (FDI) flows.

- Focusing resources for key projects, particularly building, upgrading provincial roads, truck roads and arterial roads in the province, bridges overpassing the Red River; mobilizing local investment resources for synchronous construction of technical infrastructure systems such as water supply and drainage, power grids, technical infrastructure, social infrastructure and services.

- Continuously reviewing and advising on abolition of unnecessary administrative procedures; shortening the time for handling administrative procedures relating to business and investment for enterprises; boosting information technology application to operations of State agencies; appraising dossiers within its jurisdiction to submit them to competent authorities for approval in time; completing business establishment procedures in one working day and investment licensing procedures in two days (for FDI investors).

- Improving human resource quality; reviewing and restructuring local vocational training institution system, focusing on market demand-based training.

- Raising the effectiveness of focused investment promotion activities; diversifying investment promotion channels such as agencies and forums, large and prestigious domestic and foreign economic organizations, overseas Vietnamese representative offices and foreign investment promotion organizations in Vietnam; contacting and convincing existing investors to invite others to the province by supporting them to deal with emerging hardships and quickly solving their requests; studying and proposing mechanisms, policies or forms to promote, support and attract high-quality investment projects and ensure the development of priority sectors and fields.

How significant is it to successfully attract big investors in the current period?  How is Yen Bai province looking for ‘strategic investors’ as partners?

The province’s investment expansion policies have interested many investors to study and survey investment opportunities in the locality. The advent of big investors has exerted a strong pull on more investors to Yen Bai province.

In the first five months of 2019, investors expressed their interests in 23 projects, including 19 projects approved by the Provincial People’s Committee. Other projects are being considered by competent agencies and reported to the Provincial People’s Committee for permission to conduct research and surveys.

The province licensed some projects invested by big domestic companies: High-tech organic medicinal plant cultivation project invested by GFS Group; a solar cell and solar power production research project invested by NEVN Investment and Development Joint Stock Company; Yen Thinh New Urban Area invested by Hoang Nhat Nam Investment Joint Stock Company in Yen Thinh Ward, Yen Bai City; four urban area projects invested by Asia - Pacific Investment Joint Stock Company (affiliated to APEC Group); a new urban area construction investment project of ​​TMS Global Joint Stock Company; a new urban area investment project of Eurowindow Holding Joint Stock Company; and Thac Ba Lake construction project of Fansipan Sapa Cable Car Joint Stock Company (affiliated to Sungroup Group).

Seeking capable strategic investors who advocate sustainable development is the top priority in selecting project investors in Yen Bai. The province has actively approached investors to introduce its potential, strengths, socioeconomic development orientations, preferential policies and investment projects. Thus, many capable enterprises have come to the province to seek investment and cooperation opportunities in many fields. The province is attracting strategic investors to following key areas: High-tech agriculture developed with value chains, processing industry, electronics, high technology application, smart and sustainable city development, tourism and service development towards sustainable development and environmental protection.

What do you think about the quality and effectiveness of investment administrative procedures in recent years?

The quality and effectiveness of investment administrative procedures has significantly improved in recent years, featured by gradual reduction of administrative procedures and shorter service time of departments, branches, localities and relevant agencies.

In particular, in 2018, the Yen Bai Provincial People’s Committee issued Decision 2776/QD-UBND dated December 24, 2018 on coordinated mechanism of investment procedure settlement for investment projects under the Investment Law 2014 in Yen Bai province. The province managed to reduce the time of settling investment administrative procedures by 30-35% relative to the time provided in the Investment Law.

The Yen Bai Public Administration Service Center initially produced certain effectiveness in simplifying procedures of receiving applications and delivering results. Yen Bai province pledges to strongly and transparently reform administrative procedures, remove difficulties and obstacles, assure enterprises of doing business in a stable, reliable and clear legal environment.

In 2018, Yen Bai province’s PCI reached the all-time high of 62.22 points, 1.50 points higher than in 2017, ranking 42nd out of 63 provinces and cities in the country, four places higher than 2017. What do you think about this result?

In the past years, Yen Bai province has gradually improved its business and investment environment and raised its Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI). Accordingly, from 2013 to 2018, the province climbed 18 places on the rankings (from 60th position in 2013 to 42nd position in 2018).

The Provincial People’s Committee has established the PCI Steering Committee and issued an action plan aimed to improve its PCI. Every year, it launches specific plans and takes every step to uplift its PCI rankings to the high-standing group in the country and stand top among northern mountainous provinces. To achieve these goals, Yen Bai province has put forth the following specific solutions:

(1) The province issued Decision 458/QD-UBND dated March 20, 2019 on the action plan for implementation of Resolution 02/NQ-CP dated January 1, 2019 of the Government on continued execution of main tasks and solutions for a better business environment and higher national competitiveness in 2019, with an eye to 2021. Provincial and local agencies based on their tasks assigned in Decision 1443/QD-UBND dated August 10, 2015 and Decision 458/QD-UBND dated March 20, 2019 to coordinate with related units to drastically overcome weak component indexes.

(2) Improving the active leadership of provincial and local authorities in the efforts to raise the provincial competitiveness index.

(3) Further reforming administrative procedures: Publicizing administrative procedures (including forms, procedures, fees and charges) on the website and public offices where organizations and individuals can easily access and execute; propagating and guiding organizations and individuals on receipt and delivery of Level 3 and Level 4 online public services to improve service quality, publicity and transparency of State administrative agencies; raising the operating quality of public administration service centers of the province, districts and communes; strictly complying with time regulations on receipt of applications and delivery of results at administrative centers.

In 2018, Yen Bai province had 1,941 new enterprises and 332 cooperatives. Business entities have contributed significantly to local economic growth and increased industrial value by 10% annually on average. They accounted for over 60% of total fiscal revenue. They created about 35,400 jobs for local workers who were paid about VND4.7 million a month each.

(4) Raising planning and management quality: Publicizing plans on relevant websites of agencies and localities (publishing full information about planning: Planning approval decisions, planning interpretations, maps and drawings) for businesses and investors to easily access and look up.

(5) Ensuring business rights, equal rights to access business resources and business opportunities.

(6) Continuing to evaluate, score and announce the annual District and Department Competitiveness Index (DDCI) which measures performance of departmental and local authorities.

(7) Developing consistent inspection plans for departments, branches and localities to avoid overlapping and duplication; complying with the law on inspection; ensuring accuracy, objectivity, publicity and no obstruction to enterprise operations; effectively carrying on tax inspections.

(8) Renovating and diversifying forms of business dialogue and meeting, actively removing obstacles faced by businesses to shape the most favorable business conditions and regulatory framework.

Thank you very much!