Son La Drastic Action to Propel Accelerated Development

9:51:18 AM | 6/7/2024

As 2024 is a decisive year to complete the 5-year socioeconomic development plan (2021 - 2025), Son La province has seriously, consistently and firmly carried out the tasks and solutions stated in the resolution of the 15th Provincial Party Congress and the resolution of the 13th National Party Congress since the start of the year. Mr. Hoang Quoc Khanh, Chairman of the Provincial People's Committee, gives an interview to our reporter about these efforts.

Mr. Nguyen Huu Dong, Secretary of the Son La Provincial Party Committee and Mr. Hoang Quoc Khanh, Chairman of the Son La Provincial People's Committee, pay a visit to the agricultural fair's exhibition booth

What remarkable socioeconomic development achievements has Son La province made in 2023? What are its specific targets and plans for 2024?

In 2023, in the context of many intertwined opportunities, advantages, difficulties and challenges, Son La still managed to achieve or exceed 22 out of 28 targets.

The gross regional domestic product (GRDP) was estimated at VND34,506 billion (US$1.5 billion) in 2023, up 0.75% year on year. State budget revenue was VND4,250 billion as assigned by the central government. The economic structure was shifted towards a desired pattern. Agricultural production was increasingly commercialized, powered by high-tech applications. Industry developed with an increasing share of processing and an increasing domestic value in products and services. The province focused on developing competitive industries and tourism services.

The province invested in a synchronous and modern social and economic infrastructure system. It completed the Son La Provincial Planning for the 2021 - 2030 period, with a vision to 2050, and submitted it to the Prime Minister for approval. Son La focused on making investment preparations for the Son La section of Hoa Binh - Son La Expressway and building Na San Airport socialized investment project. The quality, scale and appearance of urban areas has gradually improved. The face of the countryside became more modern. By the end of 2023, the province had 64 communes certified to meet new rural development standards and eight communes recognized to meet advanced new rural development standards.

Trade and tourism activities are open and thriving. Tourist arrivals to Son La totaled 4.5 million. Tourism revenue was VND4,700 billion. Moc Chau National Tourist Area was honored as “Asia and the world's leading regional destination” for the second time. Son La province took part in various tourism promotion events and successfully hosted the first Son La Coffee Festival in 2023, which left a deep impression on hundreds of thousands of visitors, tourists and local people. The province also paid attention to supporting people and businesses to advertise and sell agricultural products on e-commerce platforms.

Son La province bolstered cultural and social development, expanded healthcare, education and training, and improved the quality of human resources. National defense was strengthened, political security and social order and safety were maintained. Border security was reinforced.

In 2024, the province put forth the following targets: GRDP growth of 7.5% or higher and per capita GRDP of VND55.5 million. In the economic structure, industry and construction accounted for 26.5%; services, 41.7%; agriculture - forestry - fisheries, 25.0%; and product tax minus product subsidies, 6.7%. Other targets included total social investment capital of VND26,000 billion (US$1.13 billion), the export value of US$196.1 million, local budget revenue of VND4,450 billion (US$193 million), urbanization rate of 18%, Tourist arrivals of 4.8 million, and tourism revenue of VND5,500 billion.

To accomplish these goals, since the start of the year, the Provincial People's Committee has applied consistent, specific tasks and solutions: Speeding up economic restructuring, strengthening internal capacity, resilience and adaptability of economic sectors; fostering green economy and environmentally friendly circular economy; accelerating the construction progress of synchronous socioeconomic infrastructure, boosting the scientific and technological application and digital transformation; strictly managing resources and land, environmental protection, actively taking measures to prevent natural disasters and respond to climate change; stepping up administrative reform, upgrading the business and investment environment, enhancing competitiveness and removing difficulties and obstacles for people and businesses.

Resolutions 08-NQ/TU and 06-NQ/TU of the Executive Board of the Provincial Party Committee underline the goal of building Son La into a high-tech agricultural development center and an agricultural processing center of the Northwest region in 2025. After more than half of the current administration term, could you tell us about some outstanding achievements regarding these two major goals?

More than four years of carrying out these two strategic resolutions has produced many positive results. The province has developed more raw material areas for large processing factories (milk, sugar, tea, cassava and juice). The production value of processed agricultural products rose 9.9% annually in 2021 - 2023 (higher than the target of 9.5%). In 2023, the processing and manufacturing industry expanded 8.0% (aimed to reach VND6,500 billion by 2025). The value of processed agricultural products for export rose 18.5% a year in the 2021 - 2022 period (higher than the target of 12%). In 2023, the export value of processed agricultural products was US$159.33 million, up 6.42% year on year. Main exports were coffee, tea, tapioca starch, longan, mango and passion fruit (estimated to reach over US$166 million by 2025).

To build Son La into a high-tech agricultural development center and an agricultural processing center in the Northwest region, the province will continue to strengthen leadership and direction; and boost communications, dissemination and awareness of workers about Party and State policies and laws on industrial development in general and agricultural processing in particular. The province will actively remove difficulties and facilitate industrial infrastructure development, agricultural production, processing and consumption.

The province will continue to propagate and guide the enforcement of Resolution 50/2022/NQ-HDND dated December 9, 2022 of the Provincial People's Council on contents and levels of investment support for input supply development for processing factories of vegetables, tubers and fruits in Son La to 2025; encourage and guide households and cooperatives to sign production cooperation contracts and develop raw material areas to supply agricultural processing factories in the area.

The province will speed up the development of industrial complexes, focus on arranging businesses and production facilities; utilize State advantages and preferential policies to quicken the process of investment attraction into industrial complexes to leverage the development of industrial and service sectors of high added value and strong competitive advantages.

Son La will step up trade promotion to introduce, sell and export agricultural products and develop e-commerce in a focused direction.

The approved Son La Provincial Planning for the 2021 - 2030 period, with a vision to 2050, indicates new aspirations and growth drivers for the province. Which strong areas will Son La focus on attracting investment to create new momentum and effectively unlock local potential advantages?

The Son La Provincial Planning for the 2021 - 2030 period, with a vision to 2050, was approved by the Prime Minister in Decision 1676/QD-TTg dated December 25, 2023. The planning scope includes the entire territory of Son La province with 12 district-level administrative units: Son La City and 11 districts (Van Ho, Moc Chau, Yen Chau, Mai Son, Muong La, Thuan Chau, Quynh Nhai, Song Ma, Sop Cop, Phu Yen and Bac Yen).

The overall goals are to make Son La a rapidly, comprehensively, sustainably and equitably developed province by 2030; turn Son La into a relatively developed province in the Northern Midlands and Mountains region, a center of the Northwest sub-region, a key tourist hub of the Vietnam - Laos border region and the Northern Midlands and Mountains region, and an agricultural product processing center of the Northern Midlands and Mountains region. The province will be conveniently connected with major socioeconomic centers of the region, the country, the international region of the Mekong subregion, neighboring countries and ASEAN. Son La will reinforce defense, security and foreign affairs; protect independence, sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity; and maintain a peaceful and stable environment, thus contributing to the development of the region and the country.

Son La will continue to develop various sectors and fields like industry, services, agriculture, urban and rural development. Among them, high-tech agriculture; ecological, cultural, historical tourism; smart cities and identity-featured new rural areas will be in focus. Green industry and large-scale urban systems are top concerns. The province will develop a synchronous infrastructure system, uphold strong development cooperation with neighboring provinces in the region and the country; promote eco-environment sustainability and effective response to climate change.

In the coming time, Son La will concentrate on carrying out these key tasks:

First, speeding up communications and information of core contents of the master plan to all levels and branches of authority, business community and people of all walks of life to enable them to understand the master plan and recognize the province's development aspirations in the time to come.

Second, all levels and branches of authority need to coordinate in carrying out action plans for implementation of the Provincial Planning to ensure consistency and harmony. Leaders of Party committees, agencies and localities urgently and seriously identify their key tasks to work out action programs and plans. They must enhance the sense of responsibility, quality and efficiency of planning management to make sure that the Provincial Planning is implemented in practice and utilizes available resources during the implementation process.

Third, urgently reviewing and revising specialized plans, especially land and construction plans in line with the Provincial Planning; proactively researching and amending existing mechanisms and policies, proposing new socioeconomic development mechanisms and policies for each period, creating new motivation for development.

Fourth, mobilizing all resources; economically and effectively using State budget fund for development investment, with focus on breakthrough, influential projects like Hoa Binh - Moc Chau Expressway, Moc Chau - Son La Expressway, Na San Airport, Son La City (into a first-grade city), Moc Chau National Tourist Area, Moc Chau district (into a town), Quynh Nhai district (completing new rural construction by 2025), high-tech agriculture with agricultural processing industries; and implementing socialization policies and diversifying investment forms.

Fifth, effectively conducting administrative reform, improving the investment environment and supporting businesses; raising the Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI), the Vietnam Provincial Governance and Public Administration Performance Index (PAPI) and the Public Administration Reform Index (PAR Index); facilitating investment attraction and mobilizing resources for planning implementation.

Sixth, continuing creativity and innovation and promoting digital transformation; developing modern and synchronous information infrastructure, scientific and technological databases; investing in upgrading the capacity and performance of the Startup and Innovation Center; supporting and connecting innovative programs, projects and startups that work effectively.

Seventh, carrying out national target programs in a timely and effective manner; executing employment policies and solutions coupled with improving job quality, prioritizing job support and creating livelihoods, and vocational training for young entrepreneurs and workers in disadvantaged communes, especially poor villages in remote and border areas

Eighth, reinforcing forest protection and development, protecting the environment and developing science, technology and innovation; exploiting and using mineral resources rationally, economically and sustainably, especially nonrenewable resources; promoting investment fund for industries, environmental protection services, green economy, and circular economy to improve the efficiency of mineral resources used.

Thank you very much!

By Duy Binh, Vietnam Business Forum