Engaging External Resources for Breakthrough Development

10:22:36 AM | 3/7/2020

By unlocking advantageous local potential strengths and companying the business community, Kien Giang province has made impressive progress in economy, culture and society. In particular, the province has risen to become one of the biggest recipients of domestic and foreign investment. Vietnam Business Forum’s correspondent has an interview with Mr. Pham Vu Hong, Chairman of Kien Giang Provincial People’s Committee. Cong Luan reports.

What do you think about the result of carrying out the Resolution of the 10th Provincial Party Congress and the Resolution of the 8th Provincial People’s Council on Kien Giang socio-economic development in five years from 2016 to 2020?

Carrying out the 5-year socioeconomic development plan (2016 - 2020), Kien Giang province achieved important and inclusive economic development in all sectors. The average economic growth was 7.22% in the 2016-2020 period. The economic structure was gradually shifted toward a desired pattern. The province clearly identified potential strengths and advantages to unlock comparative advantages and pave the way for ongoing development. Many key socioeconomic indicators reached and exceeded the plan set to 2020, such as: budget revenue, rural transport, new countryside construction, birth rate reduction and job creation. The province increased investment in social and economic infrastructure and created favorable conditions for new development.

However, the province also saw bad aspects. The GDP growth rate did not come as expected because of underperforming agricultural production and low economic competitiveness. Despite being developed, Kien Giang province’s potential advantages have not been fully utilized and promoted. The economic development is uneven across the province, with the focus mainly placed on Phu Quoc District and Rach Gia City, while the province holds great untapped potential for developing agriculture, forestry, fisheries and tourism in Ha Tien, Kien Luong, U Minh Thuong, Hon Dat and Kien Hai. Specifically, the province has the largest fishing ground and the largest fishing boat fleet in the country. The annual fishing output is more than 500,000 tons, but product preservation is still weak. Given the weak fishing value chain, the value and effect of the fishing industry is still very low.

The province has attracted good investment capital into industrial zones. Nevertheless, the fund has been concentrated in Thanh Loc Industrial Park (Chau Thanh District) and Thuan Yen Industrial Park (Ha Tien City), while Kien Giang still has many industrial zones with good infrastructure for investors to carry out their projects. The province also faces difficulties in mobilizing investment resources for environmental treatment, green development and renewable energy, especially in island communes.

To overcome these limitations and shortcomings, we must first find ways to fully unlock local potential and strengths because Kien Giang wants to develop sustainably. To do so, the province must rely on its internal resources and importantly attract external resources to make breakthrough development.  The locality continues to improve the business investment environment, remove bottlenecks in administrative procedures, and complete the legal framework to quickly release external resources. The province has completed development plans; formulated incentive mechanisms and investment support policies based on common and local specific policy framework; reformed administrative procedures and operated the Provincial Public Service Center. Besides, the province focused on upgrading local transport infrastructure such as National Highway 63, Vam Cong Bridge, An Thoi Seaport, Dam Bay, Rach Gia Airport and Phu Quoc Airport. Kien Giang also sped up the progress of ongoing projects such as National Highway 80 - Lo Te - Vam Cong Road, Hon Chong Seaport and Duong Dong. The above guidelines and solutions are ultimately aimed at better supporting and siding with companies to carry out investment projects in the province.

To create a driving force for socio-economic development, Kien Giang province always gives top priority to infrastructure investment. So, could you please tell us how much key projects have impacted people's lives and local socioeconomic development?

Recently, the infrastructure system has been developed to basically meet development requirements - an important premise for localities to construct new urban centers, upgrade and expand urban centers and promote provincial economic growth. With central and local budgetary sources, the province carried out public investment projects in 2016-2020: Lo Te - Rach Soi Road, Rach Gia - Hon Dat Coastal Road, Rach Gia - Chau Thanh Road, Duong Dong - Cua Can - Ganh Dau Road, Provincial Road 963B (Ben Nhut - Giong Rieng), Phu Quoc International Passenger Port, and Rach Gia Passenger Port. The province completed and operated 120 km out of 286 km of provincial roads, reaching 41.96% of the plan and 87 km out of 187 km of district and city roads and tourism infrastructure.

The province completed investing in electrical grids for seaside districts and supplied electricity to Khmer ethnic people. Typical projects include the 22kV power line for Lai Son island commune - Kien Hai district, the power supply project for Hon Nghe and Son Hai Island communes - Kien Luong district, the power supply project for Tien Hai Island commune - Ha Tien City and Hon Thom Island commune - Phu Quoc district.

The province constructed 117 dike watersheds, 2,704-km solidified canals, 609 upgraded irrigation works, and 1,252 pump stations. The basically completed irrigation system and freshwater drainage canals in Long Xuyen quadrangle area and West Hau River meet irrigation demand and prevent saltwater intrusion to cultivate two stable rice crops. It has completed and opened storm shelters for fishing ships in Hon Tre, Kien Hai district, and storm shelters for fishing vessels in Luy Huynh, Xeo Non fishing port and An Thoi fishing port.

In the past time, the province’s urban network has been expanded, developed and taken clear shape. To date, Kien Giang has developed two second-grade urban centers, one third-grade urban area, one fourth grade urban area and 10 fifth-grade urban areas to gradually complete the urban network to match local socioeconomic development stages. Water supply and management has been upgraded in network coverage and water quality to match urbanization expansion. By the end of 2020, 89% of urban residents will have access to tap water and 89% of municipal solid waste will be collected. The quality of life in urban areas has been increasingly improved.

2020 is a very significant and last year of the 5-year plan for the 2016-2020 period, and the step year to prepare for the 5-year plan from 2021 to 2025. What are key solutions to successfully accomplish socioeconomic development tasks for the 2016-2020 term?

The province will further focus on building the socioeconomic development plan, public investment and the 5-year financial plan for the 2021-2025 period; further review, amend, supplement and promulgate mechanisms and policies to unlock investment resources and create new impetus for development. The province will strongly improve the business investment environment, sharpen competitiveness, raise its Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) to the country’s best performer group and boost innovation, entrepreneurship and business development.

Kien Giang province will further renovate investment promotion and convince existing investors to call for others to the province in a selective manner. The province will give priority to high-quality projects of supporting industries, green industries, urban infrastructure, tourism, services, and hi-tech agriculture. Investors are encouraged and supported to upgrade technologies and equipment, improve production processes, develop advanced industries, processing agricultural, forest and aquatic products, and develop environmentally friendly supporting industries. The province will continue to promote and bring products with safety certificates and certificates of origin to supermarkets and distribution centers; and support businesses to take full advantage of new generation free trade agreements.

In addition, the province will attach special importance to fully tap local potentials and advantages of natural landscapes and cultural heritages for tourism development; and support the development of tourism human resources. Kien Giang will review and remove difficulties and obstacles, speed up the progress, complete and operate tourist sites and destinations; mobilize and effectively use investment resources for infrastructure development and urban development. The province will accelerate agricultural restructuring and upgrade countryside construction; develop maritime economy together with environmental protection, firmly protect national sovereignty, give priority to cultural and social development, and improve the material and spiritual life of the people.

Thank you very much!