Lao Cai Continues Improving Investment Environment

4:56:59 PM | 29/1/2013

Overcoming many difficulties in 2012, Lao Cai province managed to achieve many considerable results, namely GDP growth of 14 percent, State Budget contribution of VND3,200 billion (up 1.3 percent over the year of 2011), and licensing 46 investment projects with total capital of over VND1,285.8 billion. On the occasion of the new year, the Vietnam Business Forum had an interview with Mr Nguyen Van Vinh, Chairman of People’s Committee of Lao Cai. Hoang Tham reports.
Could you share something about Lao Cai province, especially regarding advantages for socio-economic development?
Lao Cai is a mountainous area in northwest Vietnam, sharing a border of about 200 km with China. Lao Cai has 8 districts and one city with population of 635,000, of which ethnic people account for 64 percent.
Lao Cai has many advantages in nature, minerals, location and the unique culture of local people to develop industry, border gates, agriculture and forestry, tourism and commerce.
Lao Cai possesses many precious minerals of high quality and some of the largest deposits in Vietnam, such as: apatite, iron, copper, gold, feldspar and graphite. Many minerals are exploited to serve deep production and are factors to promote effective, stable industrial development.
Lao Cai has a diverse natural environment with many sub – climates: tropical, sub – temperate, and temperate climates that are very suitable for diversifying agriculture and forestry. The Hoang Lien Mountain Range with Fansipan peak of 3,143 m, hosts a rich natural ecosystem accounting for 50 percent of all rare plant species in Vietnam. Advantages of climate, landscape and culture of the 25 local ethnic groups bring Lao Cai many famous tourism attractions such as: Sapa, Bac Ha and Bat Xat with unique tourism products like eco-tourism, culture, mountain and adventure tours.
Besides, situated on the economic corridor of Kunming – Lao Cai – Hanoi – Hai Phong, as a gate connecting Vietnam and ASEAN countries with the western provinces of China, Lao Cai International Border Gate is now attracting more and more export – import and tourism activities.
What achievements has Lao Cai gained in exploiting its advantages?
The year 2012 has seen many difficulties in Lao Cai due to prolonged cold, disease, high goods prices, fluctuating interest rates and degraded transport infrastructure. However, Lao Cai province has exploited many effective policies of the Government, implementing proper, flexible solutions to help the provincial economy overcome many difficulties, maintain high economic growth and achieve comprehensive results in many fields; while well – exploited advantages of border gates, industry, service and tourism are creating strong development. Specifically, GDP growth was 14 percent, of which: agriculture 4.2 percent, industry 23 percent and service 26.7 percent; grain production: 259.8 thousand tonnes; provincial industrial value: VND3,150 billion; total returns of retail goods and social service: VND9,500 billion; total exporting – importing revenues: US$1,150 million; tourism revenues: VND840 billion with 948.6 thousand tourists to Lao Cai; state budget contribution: VND3,200 billion; total investment of the whole society of the area: VND14,000 billion; poverty reduction: 6 percent over the year of 2011; new jobs created: 11,290; investment certificate ratified and renewed: 46 projects with total capital of over VND1,285.5 billion (the whole province has 413 investment projects with total capital of over VND43,845 billion; 28 FDI projects with total registered capital of US$501.0 million). As of 20th December 2012, the province had 2,135 enterprises with total capital of VND24,832 billion.
For the past years, Lao Cai province has focused on improving its investment environment and provincial competitiveness index (PCI). Could you talk more about this?
Recently, investment attraction activities of Lao Cai have gained many positive results: the business environment is highly appreciated by the enterprise community; our PCI ranking always is in the top ten of the country (third position in 2009, second position in 2010, first position in 2011). To have these results, Lao Cai has been striving to improve administrative procedures. Provincial leaders have actively directed their departments, sectors, especially staff and officials, to upgrade responsibilities when working with enterprises under the motto “Once enterprises go prospective, Lao Cai goes forward”. Lao Cai has cooperated with the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) to organise a seminar on PCI to assess strong and weak points of the investment environment in the province to elaborate detailed solutions to promote and improve PCI components. Besides, it promotes administrative procedures improvement, of which procedures of establishing enterprises are reduced to only 3 days; provincial leaders enhance meetings with local enterprises to hear their aspirations to quickly deal with their difficulties. The province founded a team to receive information and deal with difficulties of enterprises, established in the Office of provincial People’s Committee, aiming to receive, collect ideas of enterprises on issues related to investment, production in the province, as well as to advise provincial People’s Committee Standing to have timely solutions.
Electronic Portal about PCI Lao Cai was established and put into operation in 2011 and upgraded in 2012, with full and detailed data base system on PCI of the province, helping enterprises and investors effectively search for PCI information to assess and judge properly about business and investment environment of Lao Cai.
The economy is forecast to face many difficulties in 2013. What is the development direction of Lao Cai province?
In 2013, Lao Cai will continue developing internal resources, taking advantage of external resources to have rapid and sustainable socio-economic development. The province is striving to gain over 70 percent of targets compared to aims of Provincial Party Congress Resolution XIV.
Accordingly, the province has several proposals to develop several major industries and sectors in 2013 as follows:
- Develop agriculture, forestry, fishery and economy of rural area: improve application of science, technology; effectively promote advantages of plants and animals to push up industries restructures; develop agriculture, forestry, goods to serve domestic demand and export. Invest resources for agriculture, farmers and agricultural areas, aiming to construct new rural areas, of which in 2013, 4 communes are planned to be renewed (Nam Cang – Sapa , Phu Nhuan – Bao Thang, Van Hoa – Lao Cai city, Quang Kim – Bat Xat) in 2013, to 2015 strive to have 35 communes (accounting for 24.5 percent of rural communes in the areas) complete new rural areas construction, 01 district – level unit (Lao Cai city) gains standards of new rural areas.
- Industrial development: improve product quality, production effectiveness and product competitiveness. Concentrate on developing advantaged industries, high value industrial products and completing infrastructure in industrial zone of Tang Loong, Dong Pho Moi, complementing building handicraft clusters to attract all economic activities into this sector. Frequently supervise newly-operated factories: Bac Nhac Son apatite plant, Bao Thang wood processing plant, and factory of animal feed additive DCP. Operate steel plant with capacity of 500,000 tonnes per year and Thanh Binh factory of high quality tea production. Construct Ban Qua factory producing iron and steel, factory producing calcined phosphate with capacity of 100,000 tonnes per year, increase capacity of Lao Cai super phosphate plant to 200,000 tonnes per year, factory producing DQP no. 2 with capacity of 330,000 tonnes per year, MDF wood plant Bao Yen, project expanding copper Sin Quyen, and hydropower projects.
- Transport: Cooperate with the Ministry of Transport to speed up progress to complete Hanoi – Lao Cai highway of Lao Cai area in 2013, supervise progress of the project improving Yen Vien – Lao Cai railway, Pho Lu street and improve highways 4E, 4D, road 279 Tan An – Van Ban; improve and repair provincial roads.
- Construction, urban areas: construct and develop central city of Lao Cai to become a large economic centre and modern city of northern midland and mountainous areas, an important region of international cooperation with southwest China and the whole country; expand Sapa into a key tourism attraction of the whole country; improve Pho Lu town into a business centre by 2015.
- Commerce – service: Concentrate on strongly developing advantaged sectors and service types like export and import, tourism and financial service. Encourage economic subjects to develop appropriate commercial infrastructure (supermarket, market, restaurant, hotel, warehouses, yards…), of which prioritise elaborating projects, options to invest and attract enterprises to develop market network in the area. Improve effectiveness of commercial promotion, concentrate on research and market forecast, especially southwest China, to push up service activities through border gates of the province. Develop tourism in the direction of upgrading quality and diversifying tourism types. Complete inter-discipline supervision house, constructing warehouses, parking lots at Kim Thanh border gate; improve transport infrastructure from Kim Thanh border gate to Highway no 70, Lao Cai station to push up commercial activities in industrial – commercial area of Kim Thanh. Exploit effectively the position and role of Lao Cai as a “bridge” between ASEAN and southwest China through taking advantages of strong points of Lao Cai border gate.
Moreover, develop education – training, healthcare, poverty reduction, create jobs, solve issues related to culture, information and social problems.
Thank you very much!