PCI Lao Cai: Looking from Top Position

11:24:15 PM | 16/5/2012

According to the provincial competitiveness index (PCI) 2011 report released by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) on February 23, 2012, Lao Cai province kept the top spot among 63 provinces and cities with 73.53 points, far ahead of the runner-up, Bac Ninh province with 67.27 points. This is an extremely commendable achievement of the Party, government and people of Lao Cai province after more than three years of realising the watchword “Businesses thrive, Lao Cai develops.” Holding first position is a huge happiness but also a great challenge to the Party and the government to maintain a friendly business and investment environment.
As a poor mountainous province where the Red River flows into Vietnam, Lao Cai has tried its best to reform administrative procedures and roll out the red carpet to welcome investors. Its efforts were reflected in the PCI component indices. For instance, the dynamism and creativity of provincial authorities scored 9.38 points and the minimisation of time costs achieved 8.28 points. Besides, the market entry and transparency index was top place in the nation. This attainment was attributed to the change in mindset and attitude of provincial leaders to the private sector, and their understanding of current legal provisions to deal with new problems.
Determined leadership
In the past years, despite economic crisis, prolonged inflation, and soaring interest rates, Lao Cai province still thrives, powered by the private sector, production factories and industrial zones. Provincial authorities are resolved to adopt reform policies and take practical actions to develop the economy and turn Lao Cai into a social and economic centre of the northern mountainous provinces. The provincial government put forth 10 commitments to the business community to create a environment conducive for business and investment. Many regular direct dialogues between business leaders and provincial authorities were held to promptly remove obstacles, and assist businesses to solve problems. Phone numbers of Provincial People’s Committee’s Chairman Nguyen Van Vinh and other officials are made public to the business community. These are the best addresses for them to send any requests.
Furthermore, the administrative procedure reform towards a single-window mechanism, quick site clearance for investors, and reduced market entry costs to ensure the rights of and facilitate enterprises to start up business are essential, but not all localities can do as well as Lao Cai province. With effective communication channels like meetings, telephone lines, business associations and young business associations, provincial leaders can hold direct dialogues and listen to what businesses think and want. They are companions and a vital force for economic development. Definitely, “businesses thrive, Lao Cai develops."
United businesses
After 20 years of development since re-establishment, the Party and government of Lao Cai province has shown its people better changes in this far-lying frontier province. Residences are embellished, infrastructures are built and upgraded, industrial zones are set up to accommodate investors, and people’s living standards are therefore improved. Its infrastructure index ranked 14th out of 63 provinces and cities. The number of residents moving from lowland localities to work and live in Lao Cai province is growing, evidence of the attractiveness of the area.
That is perhaps why the overall outlook of the Lao Cai business community always exudes confidence in dynamic and creative leadership and the innovative mindset of provincial leaders, the Party Committee, People's Committee, and functional departments. The very openness of provincial leaders helps businesses to easily express their thinking and straightforwardly contribute opinions and comments for the sake of a prosperous Lao Cai. Mr Dao Duy Bich, Deputy General Director of Viet Trung Mineral and Metallurgy Co., Ltd, said: “Lao Cai province’s policies are very suitable and favourable for business development. To create a better business and investment climate, the province needs to apply more creative policies corresponding to actual local conditions. The province must pay more attention to traffic issues. The amount of traffic is on the rise but local transportation systems such as railways and roads are gradually degrading.” Mr Hoang Van Tuyen, Director of Lao Cai International Tourism Joint Stock Company, added: “To continue to hold the top spot on the provincial competitiveness index, the province should bring its advantages into full play, promote the leadership of the Party, restrict bureaucracy and red tape, and review policies to get rid of unsuitable ones for a better investment and business environment.
Long road ahead
The top position on PCI ranking is a proud achievement that Lao Cai attained in the past year. This is a huge pride, but also a great challenge to the Party and the government to maintain the position in the new context. There are still many people in remote regions living in poverty and searching for assistance to escape their hard luck. There are still traffic systems in need of repair and upgrade, like the road passing Tang Loong Industrial Zone or the road through Bao Ha commune (Bao Yen district). There are still school dropped-outs working as child street vendors in tourist sites.
Mr Pham Van Tan, Director of Lao Cai Urban Environment Co, Ltd, said: "To have a better business and investment environment, the province needs to maintain and strengthen inspection and supervision, especially in administrative units at all levels. It needs to provide better conditions and apply more suitable export and import policies to fully tap its international border gates. The investment environment must be unified and harmonise the interests of businesses and the people. Mr Pham Thanh Xuan, Director Thanh Xuan Mountainous Bee Development Co., Ltd, added that the province should pay greater attention to agriculture and forestry sectors, particularly introducing new beekeeping techniques to farmers to help them improve their incomes and enrich the homeland.
Lao Cai province truly deserves the highest position on the PCI ranking for its endless efforts. To uphold this position, Lao Cai province must raise the awareness of officials and civil servants in business support, effectively enforce anti-corruption laws, and issue and implement regulations on leader accountability. The long road ahead will require the Party and authorities of Lao Cai to continue making every effort for the prosperity of this beautiful land.
Trinh Anh