Northern Hai Duong Province: Remarkable Development in Service Sector

10:53:45 AM | 19/12/2008

On August 30, 2008, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung paid a working visit to Hai Duong Province to assess the local performance of social-economic development tasks in the first eight months of this year and set tasks for the remaining months of the year. After highlighting the province’s achievements, the PM pointed out shortcomings and weaknesses of the province which are needed to be dealt with soon.
The PM noted: Hai Duong should pay much more attention to economic restructure, and effectively tap its potentials on services, human resources, and transport to help the province further develop. The PM’s instruction has urged Hai Duong to further develop its economy which was stated in an action programme at the provincial Party Committee’s 14th congress in 2005.  
Located in the Red River Region, Hai Duong belongs to the northern economic hub, some 57 kilometres East of Hanoi Capital City and 45 kilometres West of Hai Phong. In addition, the province boasts favourable and convenient waterway and road transport. It is also home to important roads including Highway 5, Highway 18, Highway 183,… which play an important role to the provincial as well as regional economic development. Hai Duong has 16 main river branches linking with small rivers which are home to ships and vessels of 500 tonnes; the Hanoi-Hai Phong railway route also runs through the province, making the province a bridge linking Hanoi and northern provinces. With favourable location and convenient transport system, Hai Duong is an entrepot for domestic and foreign goods exchanges. The province is on the way to restructure its economy in line with the national industrialisation process.
Over the past years, Hai Duong has strived to lure domestic and foreign investment for economic development. By June 2008, the province has attracted 188 foreign direct investment projects with total registered capital of US$2.182 million. Of them, some 97 projects have been put into operation including project of Ford Vietnam; project of Phuc Son Cement Co; project of Hoa Ky Animal Feed Ltd., Co… These projects have not only made great contributions to the local economic development but also helped generate jobs for local people, helping improve local people’s living standards and contributing to the local GDP growth rate with the average growth rate of 10.8 per cent in the 2001 – 2005 period.
 Beside achievements, there are shortcomings and weaknesses in Hai Duong’s social-economic development. These were pointed out by the Prime Minister: slow economic restructure, low agricultural growth rate compared to the country’s average 2.8 per cent, and environment pollution… How to speed up Hai Duong’s economic development sustainably is a thorny issue for the local authorities and people. In first days of the 2005 – 2010 period, Hai Duong’s Party Committee has determined to develop industry, agriculture in parallel with service sector and considered the development strategy as future development strategy. 
The 14th Congress of the Party Committee of Hai Duong set tasks and programmes for the 2005 - 2010 period: “Development of service sector in the 2006 – 2010 period” with the aim to raise service sector contribution to the provincial GDP by 2010 to 33 per cent, the set programmes also pointed out problems needed to be solved for each agency and areas and planned five master projects for five specific agencies, including project on development of service sector: trade; tourism; post and telecommunications; transport, banking- insurance. Each project has each target, and solution. For example, one of the goals for the projects to develop service and trade sectors: raising average export turnovers growth rate to 25 per cent per year and earning export turnovers of between US$300 - 350 million by 2010…        To fulfill programmes and projects, Hai Duong has mapped out lots of measures. Boosting propaganda programmes on global economic integration to raise awareness of enterprises, producers about goods production, opportunity and challenges in the post WTO. Hai Duong has given favours to enterprises to help them improve product quality, building trademark and raise market competitiveness. The province has also focused on boosting key export activities to foreign markets such as garment and textile, footwear, processed vegetables and fruits, fine arts handicraft products…In addition, the province has poured investment in construction of markets, wholesale and retail centres and supermarkets… so as to gradually build infrastructure for trade and business activities. For activities in banking, finance, information- communications, tourism and transport,... Hai Duong had pledged to offer favourable conditions to lure domestic and foreign investment for infrastructure upgrade and service development. Notably, the province has always focused on development of potential services such as construction, environment, education, science and technology, labour export... to help it better integrate into the global economy. 
In the way to develop the service sector, the province determined that service development is an indispensable trend to speed up the local economic restructure sustainably. Hai Duong has determined to fulfill the action programmes, as they are not only targets, tasks but also measures to boost social-economic development. With involvement of agencies and the local people, the programme to develop the service sector will be a driving force for the province to be confident in the way to global economic integration.  
To review two-year performance of the action programmes, the Hai Duong Party Committee early this year set up a working group to agencies and areas. The working group’s assessment results showed that beside shortcomings, the action programmes have been carried out widely and brought about considerable results for economic restructure in local agencies and the provincial economic development.
Remarkably, awareness of officials, local people and enterprises about geographical location, important role of service sector to the provincial social-economic development has been raised. Based on the province’s action programmes and projects, areas have worked out specific programmes to concretise them. Lots of areas have taken initiative in fulfilling the programmes and projects: Gia Loc Commune has built plan on service sector development in the 2006 - 2010 period and three other projects to develop the service sector; Ninh Giang District has built plan on service sector development in the 2006 - 2010 period and four others to develop the service sector…  
 Over the past two years, enterprises operating in the service sector have developed strongly in quantity and quality. By the end of 2007, the province had 2,350 enterprises in the service sector, 17 cooperatives and 90,000 households with workforce of more than 50,000. Investment for building and upgrading infrastructure for trade and service sectors has been called on: By the end of 2007, the province has had 35,000 business centres and 176 markets…The service sector has seen increase in quantity and quality with appearance of new services, satisfying local production and consumption demands. 
 With ceaseless efforts, Hai Duong’s the service sector has gained high growth rate. The province reported service values of VND4,575 billion in 2006, accounting for 29.4 per cent of the provincial GDP, the figure reached VND5,564 billion in 2007, making up 30.4 per cent of the local GDP. Specific service activities have also gained fruitful results; total retail sales and revenues from service sector in 2006 hit VND5,687 billion, up 19.1 per cent compared to 2005. The figure reached VND6,868 billion in 2007…Notably, export turnovers has strongly increased years by years: Export turnovers in 2006 hit US$224.6 million, up 99.6 per cent over 2005. The figure reached US$335.7 million in 2007, up 49.5 per cent compared to 2006. Thus, the province has fulfilled export turnover set target for 2010 which aims to fetch US$300 - 350 million from export turnovers.
Over the two-year performance , the programmes on service development has gained achievements, laying a good foundation for development of other sectors and making great contributions to the provincial social-economic development. The achievements have showed determination of Hai Duong to further tap available potentials to boost service sector development so as to soon fulfill the targets set in programmes and projects as said by the Prime Minister and help Hai Duong better integrate into the global economy in the upcoming time.
Le Hong Van, Vice Standing Chairman of Hai Duong People’s Committee