9:43:19 PM | 27/9/2011
Hoa Binh province has applied many open policies and mechanisms to attract investment projects and achieved positive results in recent years. However, the province still has a lot of untapped potentials, especially tourism. On the occasion of a conference on tourism investment promotion into Hoa Binh province held in late September 2011, the Vietnam Business Forum Magazine has an interview with Mr Bui Van Tinh, Chairman of Hoa Binh People's Committee, on this matter. Ngo Khuyen and Tran Trang report.
Since a part of Hoa Binh province was joined to the capital city of Hanoi in August 2008, Hoa Binh province has had more comparative advantages. Could you tell more about this?
Hoa Binh province has long been known for having Hoa Binh hydropower plant, Ban Lac tourist site or Mai Chau tourist site, but it is little known that the province has lots of untapped potentials: Mining (gold, iron, mineral water, granite stone, limestone, coal, clay, kaolin, etc.), metallurgy, and construction material production. The vast forestland can be used to plant forest trees, medicinal herbs and industrial crops. Hoa Binh features low mountains filled with valleys to create enchanting sceneries, and cultural identities of Thai and Muong ethnic groups.
National Road 6 links Hanoi with northwest provinces via Hoa Binh. Ho Chi Minh Road runs past its four districts of the province, starting from Xuan Mai town, Chuong My district (Hanoi) to Thach Thanh district (Thanh Hoa province). National Road 12B stretches from Hoa Binh to Ninh Binh province. National Road 21 connects Hoa Binh with Phu Ly City (Ha Nam province). With 151 km of Da River flowing past, Hoa Binh has many advantages in water transport and goods exchange. Remarkably, the blueprint Hoa Lac - Hoa Binh Highway will bring high socioeconomic efficiency, promote the development of many sectors, fill development gap between urban zones with rural and mountainous areas, and attract more domestic and foreign investors into the province.
According to the Resolution of the 12th National Assembly, from August 2008, Hoa Binh became a neighbour of Hanoi and a gateway to the northwest. Hoa Binh City, the provincial capital, is only 70 km from Hanoi, 93 km from Noi Bai International Airport, and 170 km from Hai Phong Port. With its position, Hoa Binh province will be a green belt and satellite urban zone of Hanoi with a broad effect on the entire northwest region. Prime Minister also approved building eight concentrated industrial parks in the province and Hoa Binh has also planned to build 17 smaller industrial complexes to pave the way for local development acceleration.
Obviously, the adjacency to Hanoi helps quicken the development of infrastructure systems and services in the province. To date, Hoa Binh has relatively modern power systems, roads, schools and medical facilities. Other modern services are also being introduced here, including phone banking, home banking, and ATM.
Apart from the aforesaid advantages, the province also pays attention to improving the investment environment, reforming administrative procedures, training human resources, innovating thinking and working methods from the provincial to local levels, etc. to create a new position for the province when it embarks on the 10-year social and economic development strategy from 2010 to 2020 and the 5-year socioeconomic development plan for from 2011to 2015.
What has Hoa Binh province gained by unlocking its potential and advantages?
With its initiatives and efforts to tap local strengths and attract external resources, Hoa Binh province attained important socioeconomic development results in 2006 - 2010. Particularly, the annual economic growth averaged 12 percent. The economy was positively restructured, with an increasing proportion of industry and services. In 2010, the industry contributed to 31.5 percent of the provincial GDP (up 8 percent from 2005), services made up 33.5 percent, and agriculture, forestry and fisheries took up 35 percent (down 8.1 percent from 2005). Other development indicators progressed tremendously. Per capita GDP reached VND13.45 million (an increase of 3 times against 2005), State budget revenues topped VND1,322 billion (a rise of 4 times over 2005), and the poverty rate slid to 13.88 percent.
The industrial and construction fields thrived with a growing value, topping VND4,030 billion in 2010, representing an 2.5 fold increase over 2005. Industrial sectors of local advantages like cement, construction material, hydropower, clean water and agro-forestry product processing moved forward quickly. Many industrial products have been launched onto the market like electronic components, lenses, cement, sugar, mechanical products, water and agricultural products. Also in 2010, total retail sales of goods and services reached VND5,089 billion, rising 4.5 times over 2005. Agriculture still kept growth of 4.63 percent a year in spite of difficulties. Many specialised farming zones like coffee and sugarcane were set up. Tied to quick and sustainable development, Hoa Binh raised forest coverage to 46 percent in 2010.
Nonetheless, Hoa Binh province also encountered certain weaknesses in socioeconomic development. Economic growth was high but unsustainable. The province lacked leading industrial products. The tourism sector remained weak owing to the absence of investment projects. To overcome these limitations and quickly speed up provincial development, using external resources effectively is an increasingly important concern of Hoa Binh province. The government and people of Hoa Binh are sparing no effort toward improving the investment and business environment to attract more projects.
What solutions has Hoa Binh province proposed and implemented to mobilise resources for sustainable development?
The Resolution of the 15th Party Congress (2010 - 2015 term) defined: “Creating a conducive environment and conditions to attract external investment, maximally mobilising all available resources in the province, strongly developing industry and services, and laying the foundation for rapid and sustainable growth in the next stage.” Given that basis, Hoa Binh province is concentrating on the following solutions:
Firstly, effectively spreading investment attraction policies and legal knowledge for all concerned parties to understand the roles, functions and benefits of investment projects; cooperating with investors to motivate economic development; enhancing the popularity of provincial potentials and advantages to catch the fancy of investors.
Secondly, reviewing, adjusting and supplementing the socioeconomic development master planning, industry planning, urban planning, and land-use planning. Hoa Binh also spends rational budget for construction of industrial park infrastructure to provide premises for investors to do business here.
Thirdly, paying more attention to training special knowledge and skills for civil servants, strengthening State management over investment projects, improving public service quality, and reforming administrative procedures. The Provincial People's Committee has issued documents to create an attractive investment environment, including Decision 16/2010/QD-UBND dated December 17, 2010 on regulations on coordinating responsibility in resolving works of administrative units, and Decision 04/2011/QD-UBND dated April 21, 2011 on regulations on investment management and encouragement in Hoa Binh province, etc.
Fourthly, studying policies in support of people giving up their land for investment projects.
As a poor mountainous province, investment projects have given a facelift to local socioeconomic development. This will be an important foundation for Hoa Binh province to have more determination and efforts to create an increasingly attractive investment and business environment. With its potentials and advantages plus our readiness to create the best conditions, we believe that Hoa Binh province will be the ideal address for all investors.