Strongly Improving Business Environment to Create Miracles in Attracting Investment

10:48:43 AM | 10/25/2023

Hai Phong has not only leveraged its modern and comprehensive infrastructure and skilled workforce but also prioritized administrative reform and enhancement of the investment and business climate. In the first nine months of 2023, the city topped the nation in attracting foreign investment capital and fulfilled its annual target ahead of schedule. Our reporter interviewed Mr. Nguyen Hoang Long, Director of the Department of Planning and Investment of Hai Phong City, about these efforts.

The development investment for synchronous transport infrastructure and economic and technical infrastructure is sped up

In the first nine months of 2023, Hai Phong has made an impressive breakthrough in FDI attraction. Could you please tell us more about the results? To maintain this growing momentum in 2023 and the following years, what solutions is the city focusing on?

In the first nine months of 2023, the value of licensed FDI funds reached US$3.06 billion, a 2.4-fold increase from the same period in 2022 and 152.78% of the full-year target (US$2-2.5 billion), ranked first in the country by value.

To maintain the momentum in 2023 and the following years, in addition to the continued reform of the administrative system towards digitalization and gradual quality improvement of online public services, Hai Phong City is focusing on preparing to build new industrial zones to provide available land for worker housing.

First of all, the city will tackle site clearance for licensed industrial zones like Deep C3, VSIP, An Duong, Hai Phong International Port Industrial Park, expanded Trang Due - Phase 3 and Giang Bien - Vinh Bao. To do so, the city will provide available land and synchronous modern infrastructure for investors.

Besides economic growth and investment inflow, Hai Phong is also leading the country in innovation and administrative reform. To help the city achieve the above outcomes, what actions have the Department of Planning and Investment taken?

In recent years, Hai Phong has made strong progress in improving the investment environment and enhancing its competitiveness. Its Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) ranked Top 3 in the country. Its Public Administration Reform Index (PAR Index) led the nation in 2021 and ranked second among 63 provinces and cities in 2022. The Vietnam Provincial Governance and Public Administration Performance Index (PAPI) topped the country in 2021 - 2022. The Satisfaction Index of Public Administrative Services (SIPAS) ranked second in 2021 63 and in 10th in 2022.

Contributing to this success, the Department of Planning and Investment advised the City People's Committee to direct and adopt many solutions for a better business and investment climate. In 2023, the city organized thematic business dialogues and conferences at all levels on a quarterly basis.

In particular, in August 2023, the Standing Board of the Hai Phong City Party Committee hosted a business meeting themed “Hai Phong businesses are united, proud, resilient and sustainable”. The event received and responded to 122 recommendations, including 42 new recommendations and 16 proposed initiatives in situ. To date, out of 58 recommendations received directly at the conference, 30 were answered and resolved and the remaining 28 recommendations are being tackled by relevant bodies. The Department of Planning and Investment was assigned by the Provincial People’s Committee to monitor and urge relevant bodies to completely resolve recommendations and report the outcome to the committee on a monthly basis.

In addition, the department advised and allocated the fund for developing socioeconomic infrastructure systems such as Hai Phong Political - Administrative Center, synchronous traffic infrastructure and technical infrastructure in Bac Song Cam Urban Area, Hai Phong Convention and Performance Center and synchronous technical infrastructure systems in Bac Song Cam New Urban Area.

Moreover, to administer investment promotion, the department regularly keeps contact and connects with domestic and foreign investment promotion agencies, updates information and learns about potential investors to entice them to the city. It actively reforms investment promotion; intensifies localized investment promotion and captures information and opportunities for investment promotion to investors through FDI investors.

The department consults the City People's Committee to approve the annual investment promotion plan and submits to the City People's Committee the list of projects seeking FDI funds in compliance with regulatory policies and development orientations in each period.

A dialogue between businesses and the Department of Planning and Investment

From the potential and advantages that were clearly shaped after the Hai Phong Plan for the 2021 - 2030 period, with a vision to 2050, was approved, in which industries and fields will Hai Phong focus on attracting investment funds?

The Hai Phong Plan for the 2021 - 2030 period, with a vision to 2050, is expected to be a visionary turning point for the city's 10-year socioeconomic development. Accordingly, the city is directed to become an international connection center with modern logistics services; lead the country in digital transformation, digital government, digital society and digital economy; and become a tourism center well-linked to the region and the world.

On that basis, Hai Phong City determined that, in the coming period, it is necessary to enable prioritized development of key industries that play a leading role in the city's economic growth, including (1) Electronic and ICT products, (2) Seaport and logistics services, and (3) Commerce. These three growth engines will account for 55 - 60% of the added value in the city by 2030.

The city will encourage emerging economic sectors with many development prospects such as (1) Digital economy, (2) Real estate business, (3) Financial, banking and insurance services, (4) Tourism, culture and art services, (5) Medical services, (6) High quality human resource education and training services, and (7) Offshore wind power.

Hai Phong City will continue to maintain reasonable, effective and sustainable industries that tap local traditional strengths, including (1) Apparel production; (2) Electrical equipment manufacturing; (3) Machinery and equipment manufacturing; (4) Consumer mechanics and traffic mechanics; (5) and Plastic and rubber processing.

While the overall score of PCI and its six component indices in 2022 all advanced, the Market Entry Cost Index slipped for a second straight year (from 7.34 points to 6.52 points and to 6.45 points). Would you be kind enough to tell us the causes of this, as well as solutions advised and adopted by the Department of Planning and Investment to improve this index in the coming time?

In the last two years, the Market Entry Cost Index of Hai Phong City dropped consecutively due to increased time for business registration and revised business registration as well as conditional business licensing procedures.

In order to strongly uplift the PCI Index, including the Market Entry Cost Index, the Department of Planning and Investment recently advised the City People's Committee to issue Plan 243/KH-UBND dated September 21, 2023 on PCI Improvement in 2023 - 2024 in which the Market Entry Cost Index is aimed for 7.5 points or higher, ranked No. 40 or better.

The recommended solutions include conducting insightful analysis and research on every PCI component indicator in the District and Department Competitiveness Index (DDCI); and fostering new initiatives and models for better conditional business licensing at departments and localities.

The department will accelerate and reform administrative procedures, simplify paperwork and boost the use of public postal services; and encourage digital application to solve administrative tasks.

Coupled with those key solutions are specific tasks assigned to departments and localities such as effectively implementing the “Connecting conditional business licensing procedures” model; effectively operating the “Support for preparing valid business registration documents” system; informing and meeting with enterprises to remove bottlenecks and provide maximum support for them; inspecting the settlement of procedures for conditional business licensing at departments and localities on an annual basis.

Thank you very much!

By Ha Thanh - Ngo San, Vietnam Business Forum