Phu Tho: Prompt Action to Help Businesses in Facing Difficulties

10:07:02 AM | 11/12/2023

After over two years of implementing the resolution of the 19th Provincial Party Congress and Resolution 61-NQ/TU dated October 13, 2021 of the Executive Board of the Provincial Party Committee on strongly improving the business investment environment, Phu Tho province has achieved many encouraging results in economic growth and investment attraction. To support businesses to adapt to new challenges, the province continues to apply many drastic solutions and actions, capture the thoughts and aspirations of local enterprises; clearly understand their difficulties and problems to have workable solutions and prompt interventions. Our reporter has an interview with Mr. Trinh The Truyen, Director of the Department of Planning and Investment, Phu Tho province, around these efforts.

Outstanding entrepreneurs and businesses are honored for their exceptional contributions to the growth of Phu Tho province

Strongly improving the business investment environment is defined as the most important breakthrough stage in the 2020 - 2025 term. What does this mean for direction and administration? How has the province acted on these?

A new point in the 2020 - 2025 term is that the Provincial Party Committee issued only one resolution on achieving a breakthrough stage to strongly improve the business investment environment - Resolution 61-NQ/TU dated October 13, 2021. This helps focus direction and administration and also demonstrates the business-centric spirit of the province.

To carry out Resolution 61-NQ/TU, the Provincial People's Committee issued Plan 5246/KH-UBND with five goals, eight groups of solutions and 33 specific tasks and directed relevant departments, agencies and localities to implement their assigned tasks and solutions.

Clearly knowing that site clearance is the biggest “bottleneck” to improve the investment and business environment, the province asked relevant agencies to review and identify key project groups to solve their problems, with an average of 17-18 projects a year in the last three years. The Provincial Party Committee also established a steering committee for key projects, chaired by the Secretary of the Provincial Party Committee.

Moreover, the steering committees of districts, cities and towns worked out specific plans from investment preparation, land compensation, site clearance and investment procedures. Site Clearance Steering Committee and Land Compensation, Support and Resettlement Council hold weekly briefings and even unscheduled meetings to immediately resolve emerging problems with the highest spirit of determination and responsibility.

At the same time, the province reviewed and strengthened capacity and reorganized land use registration offices in districts; inspected, monitored, supervised and urged relevant bodies to promptly remove problems, attach responsibility and accountability to each level and sector in carrying out their tasks.

While clearing bottlenecks in site clearance, the Provincial People’s Council and the Provincial People’s Committee reviewed and introduced various mechanisms and policies relating to land and administrative reform; accelerated investment progress in key infrastructure; trained and developed human resources; prepared and completed planning documents for the 2021 - 2030 period, with a vision to 2050; reviewed land use plans, adjusted land use targets for the 2021 - 2030 period in a bid to further upgrade the business investment environment.

After half of the current administration term, what outstanding results has the province achieved with the above breakthrough stage?

In the three years from 2021 to 2023, the province reclaimed 766 ha of land, including over 500 ha of unused land handed over to projects. Many important projects promptly had the ground for implementation. Even, some slow-moving projects were assisted to be accelerated.

In addition, the province mobilized a large amount of investment capital: In the past three years, VND118 trillion was raised for development investment, reaching 74.2% of the target. The share of non-State investment fund increased sharply, with the FDI fund rising from 78.3% in 2016-2020 to 80.8% in 2021-2023). From 2021 to June 2023, Phu Tho attracted 472 domestic direct investment (DDI) projects with a registered capital of VND51 trillion and 77 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects with US$1.33 billion. On average, a DDI project has VND188 billion (an increase of VND27.7 billion) and a FDI project has US$33.8 million (an increase of US$24.2 million as compared to the previous period). New investment projects are largely engaged in modern processing and manufacturing. The province also had 2,150 new companies established with a total registered capital of VND30.3 trillion, bringing total companies to 11,083, reaching 100.8% of the term target.

The province invested much in transport infrastructure and industrial zones. As of the third quarter of 2023, 18 out of 20 key projects funded by the Central Budget were being implemented (expectedly, seven projects will be completed in 2023 and 13 projects will be completed in 2024, completing at least one year ahead of schedule). In 2021-2023, 18 roads with a length of 251km were restored, repaired and upgraded. Phu Tho invested in completing the technical infrastructure in Phu Ha Industrial Park (phase 1 - 356ha), expanded Thuy Van Industrial Park (335ha), Cam Khe Industrial Park (450ha) and Trung Ha Industrial Park (200ha). To date, the province has completed infrastructure construction for 4/7 industrial parks and 26/28 industrial complexes for full use or partial use.

Another highlight is that the drastic administrative reform, with many clear changes. Investment and land procedures are resolved quickly to facilitate people and businesses to start their work. Currently, 1,961 online public services are provided on the province's Public Service Portal and 1,116 services are integrated into the National Public Service Portal (an increase of 758 services from 2020). Online settlement has reached 71.1% (up 65% in 2020). The province’s standing on PAR Index, PCI, SIPAS and PAPI rankings was quite good in the last three years.

As a result, the province's economic growth is always good in the country as well as in the northern middle and mountainous region. Phu Tho’s average GRDP was 7.29% a year in three years (2021-2023), driven by industry (over 11%). The economic scale is increasingly expanding, with GRDP topping VND100 trillion in 2023. The export and import performance always stands among top localities, with the export value exceeding US$12.1 billion in 2022 (2.6 times higher than in 2020).

Center of Viet Tri city, Phu Tho province

What are the tasks to further improve the local business investment environment in the coming time?

In the coming time, the province will continue to thoroughly implement breakthrough tasks and solutions on improving the business investment environment, focusing on completing and exceeding the goals: Economic growth of 7.5% or more, investment capital of VND160-180 trillion, and 11,000 companies in operation.

Phu Tho is also resolved to complete key infrastructure projects, including 13/20 key State-funded projects in 2024; coordinate to accelerate the progress of centrally invested projects (Tuyen Quang - Phu Tho Highway, Phu Tho - Ba Vi Highway) and passing national highways; complete investment procedures to start construction of two industrial parks (Tam Nong and Ha Hoa), accelerate the progress of Phu Ha Industrial Park - Phase 1 and start Phase 2 of Phu Ha Industrial Park and Cam Khe Industrial Park; speed up infrastructure progress (Bac Lam Thao, Van Xuan, Thuc Luyen, Bai Ba 2 and other industrial complexes).

The province will regularly grasp production and business situations of local enterprises; facilitate them to access credit, land and labor; promptly handle related issues; introduce timely and effective credit support policies (preferential interest rates, debt restructuring and debt grouping) and tax incentive policies (extended payment terms, VAT, corporate income tax and personal income tax reductions).

The province will continue to direct the drastic implementation of site clearance; strengthen supervisory roles of the Provincial Fatherland Front Committee and mass organizations at all levels. It expects to have 200 - 300 ha of clean land to attract investors.

Besides, Phu Tho will focus on directing full, timely and effective implementation of tasks, conclusions and directions of the Provincial Party Committee and Provincial People's Committee; assign work responsibility and accountability to agency leaders; Improve the effectiveness and efficiency of administrative discipline, and especially complete the District and Department Competitiveness Index (DDCI).

In response to Resolution 41-NQ/TW dated October 10, 2023 of the Politburo on building and promoting the role of Vietnamese entrepreneurs in the new era and policies of the Government and Prime Minister, what tasks and solutions will Phu Tho province continue to adopt to create an enabling investment and business climate?

In the coming time, the province will further reform its leadership; introduce more synchronous and decisive solutions to ensure a favorable business and investment environment for business development. Phu Tho will continue to review and improve mechanisms and policies appropriate to the new context and situation; accelerate administrative reform, especially administrative procedures relating to investment, production and business; strengthen dialogues and seek joint solutions to difficulties and deal with bad deeds in service to businesses.

On August 21, 2023, the Provincial People's Committee issued Document 3216/UBND-KTTH on periodical reception and settlement of feedback, prompt settlement of difficulties and obstacles, and effective support for businesses and investors. Accordingly, starting from September 2023, the Chairperson of the Provincial People's Committee will receive and work with businesses and investors once a month at the Provincial People's Committee Office and organize receptions and meetings with businesses to grasp, better understand their operating situations and promptly resolve their problems.

This is also a specific activity to implement Resolution 41-NQ/TW dated October 10, 2023 of the Politburo and Resolution 58/NQ-CP dated April 21, 2023 of the Government on some key support policies and solutions for active adaptation, quick recovery and sustainable development of enterprises to 2025 as well as Official Dispatch 470/CD-TTg dated May 26, 2023 of the Prime Minister on continued implementation of drastic and effective tasks and solutions to remove business difficulties for enterprises.

Thank you very much!

By Ngo Khuyen, Vietnam Business Forum