Local Economy

Last updated: Thursday, February 21, 2019


Shaping Open Investment and Business Environment

Posted: Thursday, September 27, 2018

Closely engaged by the entire political system, highly-determined Nam Dinh province is carrying out many solutions and activities to accelerate public administration reform, improve the business environment and enhance local competitiveness to draw more investors to boost socioeconomic development. Mr Tran Anh Dung, Director of the Department of Planning and Investment of Nam Dinh province, gives an exclusive interview to Vietnam Business Forum Magazine on this issue. Ngo Khuyen reports.

What do you think about investment attraction results of Nam Dinh province in recent years? To successfully realise the target of attracting US$3 billion of FDI capital and VND30 trillion (US$1.3 billion) of domestic direct investment (DDI) capital in the 2016 - 2020 period, what solutions is the province carrying out?
In recent years, Nam Dinh has made great efforts in promoting, attracting investment and achieving very encouraging results. From 2016 to end-August 2018, the province issued investment licences to new projects and allowed 175 existing DDI projects to add VND4,926 billion to their capital base and 61 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects to supplement US$2,721 million. Thus, the latest two-year FDI was six times more than that in the 2011 - 2015 period. In 2017, Nam Dinh 1 Power Co., Ltd (Singapore) registered to invest US$2,072 million in Nam Dinh 1 BOT Power Plant Project, making Nam Dinh among top recipients of FDI funds in the country.

However, the overall result remained modest relative to local potential and strength. Most projects are small-scale and labour-intensive, mainly garment, textile and footwear using simple technology. Nam Dinh lacks supporting industry projects and high-tech projects.

To achieve its investment targets for 2016 - 2020, the province is carrying out the following measures:

(1) Accelerating planning and revising existing plans like completing the report on revised land-use planning to 2020 and in the final phase (2016 - 2020); supplementing the industrial zone development planning to 2020 and further to 2025 to develop 56 industrial zones covering 1,588 ha; and approving the detailed plan of Thinh Lam Industrial Complex (Giao Thuy district) and expanded Xuan Tien Industrial Complex (Xuan Truong district).

(2) Focusing resources on development of transport infrastructure and industrial zones; speeding up the progress of infrastructure projects like Rang Dong Textile and Garment Industrial Park and My Thuan Industrial Park; revoking and transferring My Trung Industrial Park to new investors; building traffic routes to linking Nam Dinh Coastal Economic Region with Cau Gie - Ninh Binh Highway, Ninh Binh - Nam Dinh - Thai Binh Highway and other trunk roads.

(3) Proactively promoting, contacting and inviting capable, experienced and financially viable investors; growing cooperation between Nam Dinh province and Ibaraki Prefecture (Japan), between local enterprises with agricultural businesses in Miyazaki Prefecture; enhancing its image and investment environment and actively coordinating with foreign diplomatic missions, foreign organisations and embassies in Vietnam for these purposes.

(4) More actively tacking hardships faced by local enterprises; holding government - business dialogues at least twice a year in combination with carrying out programmes and plans for the enforcement of Resolution 35/NQ-CP and Resolution 19/NQ-CP of the Government to pick up the pace of public administration reform, enhance competitiveness, draw more investment value; increase the performance of online hotlines and question and answer (Q&A) column on the province’s official websites; and improving inspections into enterprises, aimed to keep it no more than once a year.

(5) Carrying out regulations on coordination in administrative procedure settlement among competent authorities for non-State funded projects: Investors only need to work with the Nam Dinh Investment Promotion and Business Support Centre, thereby saving much time and cost.

(6) Strengthening the operation of working groups in charge of inspecting and pressing on the implementation of tasks, conclusions and directions of the Provincial People’s Committee and the Chairperson hereto; proposing corrective measures to tackle existing weaknesses across the administrative apparatus to improve investment and business climate and enhance competitiveness.

How do you think about investment administration reform in recent years, especially after two years of enforcing Resolution 05-NQ/TU dated June 9, 2016 of the Provincial Party Committee of Nam Dinh, on accelerating public administration reform and improving competitiveness to draw more investment funds in in the 2016 - 2020 period?
Administrative reform is defined as a key task. Thus, the Provincial People’s Committee directed competent authorities to drastically, consistently implement this task and achieved some initial results.

First of all, the information and propaganda on public administration reform has been carried out continuously, rich in both content and form. Administrative procedures are publicly listed at single-window divisions and on relevant websites. Agencies direct their employees to rectify discipline, rules and ethics of public services and streamline administrative procedures to reduce the time and cost required to handle such procedures for businesses and people.

Up to now, the single-window mechanism has been deployed in all 17 competent agencies, all 10 districts and all 229 communes, wards and towns. This mechanism is also applied to business registration and judicial identification with foreign elements. All fees and charges are posted publicly.

Telephone hotlines and other communication means enable relevant agencies to know and handle any act of violation and harassment caused by public employees and intensify internal inspections.

The province also successfully linked its electronic document management system with the Office of the Government and other ministries, branches and localities. The system has been deployed in all provincial departments and all District People’s Committees. Nam Dinh City also effectively operated the online public service management and delivery system with 1,704 administrative procedures, with all Level 2 administrative procedures and 497 Level 3 procedures. The Department of Planning and Investment and the Industrial Zones Authority deployed the electronic single-window system in receiving and settling administrative procedures concerning foreign direct investment and business registration.

The construction and application of TCVN ISO 9001:2008 quality management system has been deployed in 46 provincial departments, District People’s Committees and 13 communes, wards and towns. The public service e-mail system has worked smoothly and stably. Most public employees have email accounts.

The continuous efforts of all levels and bodies for administrative reform helped create a more open business and investment environment for enterprises and investors.

In the last three years, although its overall scores did not change much, its PCI rankings dropped sharply from 17th place to the 41st out of 63 provinces and cities. How do you feel about this?
Over the past three years, the province’s rankings of Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) slid from 17th position to 41st place among 63 provinces and cities. In 2017, Nam Dinh province’s PCI scores rose by 2.89 points over 2016, but the outcome was lower than the national average by 0.73 points, resulting in a relegation of 11 places on the rankings.

The province saw six PCI component indices to go up, including access to land, time cost, fair competition, business support, labour training, legal institutions and security order. Meanwhile, it witnessed lower scores in three sub-indices: transparency, dynamism, and informal costs and market entry.

Before the fall in PCI rankings in 2016 and 2017, the Department of Planning and Investment researched and compiled annual reports and advised the Provincial People’s Committee to hold analytical conferences on PCI and Public Administration Reform Index (PAR Index) to learn about reasons and responsibility of concerned agencies and individuals for the rise or fall of 10 sub-indices and 128 basis indicators in a bid to have higher performance and outcome in the coming year.

At the meeting in 2018, leaders of the Provincial People’s Committee instructed the Department of Planning and Investment to coordinate with the Department of Home Affairs, the Office of the Provincial People’s Committee and relevant units to drafting the PCI and PAR Index Improvement Plan for 2018 and beyond where the responsibility of every agency/unit is clearly defined.

To boost the PCI score and rankings in 2018, the province set tasks for three group of basic indicators: (1) Upholding and raising 44 indicators in the group of 1-20 top provinces; (2) Positively improving 61 indicators in the group of 21-50 mid-level provinces; (3) and drastically raising 23 indicators ranked among 51-63 bottom provinces, particularly those at the group of lowest 60-63 provinces, including land access information, access to official websites and website quality.

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