Can Tho Improving Economic Competitiveness

5:01:34 PM | 4/12/2013

After 10 years operating as a centrally governed city, Can Tho has overcome plenty of challenges to achieve socioeconomic development successes. Vietnam Business Forum interviewed Mr Le Hung Dung, Vice Chairman of Can Tho People’s Committee, on remarkable achievements the city has made in the past 10 years as well as economic development orientations and solutions the city plans for upcoming years. Hoang Ngoc reports.
Would you be kind enough to introduce the remarkable achievements Can Tho City has made in the past years, particularly after 10 years being a centrally run city?
Nearly two-thirds of the time since becoming a centrally run city in 2004, Can Tho has confronted enormous difficulties and challenges caused by global economic crisis and domestic economic slowdown. In this context, with the support of the central government and the effort of the entire local political system, the business community and the people, Can Tho City has achieved important and comprehensive results in many aspects. The look of the city is increasingly civilised and modernised, while social security is guaranteed and people's living standards are improved.
Specifically, the annual economic growth averaged 15.35 per cent in the 10 years' time. In 2013, GDP per capita was estimated at nearly VND60 million; takings from goods sold were projected at VND110 trillion, compared to VND18.2 trillion in 2004; export turnover was forecast at US$1.276 billion, compared to US$317 million in 2004; and total local investments were expected at VND37 trillion, compared to VND4,088 billion in 2004.
Cultural, social, health and education aspects are stably strengthened and developed. As many as 50,000 people are forecast to gain jobs in 2013, compared to 28,227 people in 2004. The poverty rate has dropped an average of 1 per cent a year.
However, the city's economy is still faced with some difficulties. Particularly, the results of implementing itemised targets remain low relative to the Resolution of the City People's Council, and economic growth is not as high as expected and still incommensurate to the city's potential and position.
What solutions has the city taken to maintain economic growth indicators and ensure social security amid economic difficulty as in the past time?
During 10 years being a centrally run city, half of the time was in economic crisis. Therefore, it is particularly difficult for the city to fulfil development targets. Anticipating hardships in 2013, the Can Tho City Party Committee, the People's Council and the People's Committee defined the tasks for the year as follows: "Effectively executing solutions to administer economic development and curb inflation; raising growth quality, competitiveness and cooperation efficiency, mobilising resources for development, ensuring social security." Besides, to accelerate economic development and implement these goals, the city chose the theme for this year as "Performing administrative reform, mobilising all resources, looking towards the grassroots" and performed some important solutions since the start of the year. Specifically, the city has focused on overcoming difficulties, promoting business development, and improving the quality, efficiency and competitiveness of the economy; mobilised managed and used resources for development investment effectively; strengthened management over the financial and monetary sectors and carried out inflation-taming measures effectively; accelerated public administration reform, improved human resources quality, perfected organisational structure of state administrative agencies; intensified the fight against corruption and waste, and settled complaints and denunciations; strengthened planning and forecasting works; managed urban development and rural construction; protected natural resources, the environment, and responded to climate change; and effectively ensured social security.
Industrial production is seen as one of economic spearheads of the city, but this field is clearly placed under heavy pressures of economic crisis. How has Can Tho City supported and helped local businesses to deal with difficulties?
As I said above, one of leading solutions of the municipal government is to focus on supporting businesses to deal with difficulties in general and industrial companies in particular under the spirit of the Government's Resolution 02/NQ-CP dated January 7, 2013 on a number of solutions to remove difficulties against businesses, support market and settle bad debts.
The Can Tho Municipal People's Committee has established a business support team in a bid to timely resolve difficulties against enterprises and send their proposals to competent authorities. Particularly regarding industrial production, the city's government has directed the Department of Industry and Trade to collaborate with other relevant agencies and units to immediately execute important and urgent solutions, specifically reviewing, complementing and completing industrial development and industrial product plans and strategies to match the city's overall socioeconomic development strategy towards 2020. The city has actively implemented the Decision 12/2011/QD-TTg of the Prime Minister dated February 24, 2011 on policies on the development of some supporting industries. The city has also executed measures to support and encourage the development of agricultural, forestry and fisheries processing industries in order to raise the quality and value of agricultural, forest and aquatic products.
Besides, to support the development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), including industrial production businesses, the Can Tho Municipal People's Committee decided to establish a not-for-profit credit guarantee fund for small and medium businesses in Can Tho City, guided investment promotion activities, issued a list of projects calling for investment from 2013 to 2015 and the list of pre-feasibility projects calling for foreign direct investment.
Global and domestic economies are forecast to continue to face difficulties in late 2013 and early 2014. Could you please tell about Can Tho City's socioeconomic development targets for the coming time?
For the last months of 2013 and early 2014, the city will continue to stick to the Government's development orientations; continue to give priority to curbing inflation, improved growth quality, competitiveness and cooperation efficiency, mobilising resources for development, and ensuring social security. The city will also enhance the quality of education and training, technology transfer, public healthcare, environmental protection and natural resources protection. Can Tho will uphold the perfection of State administrative apparatus, accelerate public administration reform, prevent corruption and waste, and promote thrift practice while ensuring national defence and security, political stability and social order and safety.
In subsequent years, the economy is forecast to prosper. The city will prioritise the development goals and orientation stated in the Resolution 45-NQ/TW of the Politburo dated February 17, 2005 on "Building and developing Can Tho City in the process of national industrialisation and modernisation" and the Resolution of the 12th City Party Congress. Particularly, the city will strive to maintain economic stability, keep growth at a reasonable level in association with changing growth patterns, restructuring and enhancing economic quality, efficiency and competitiveness, restructure the economy towards the weighted order of industry - trade, services - high-tech agriculture, and ensure social welfare and social security. Can Tho City will also consolidate national defence, political security, social order and safety and improve the efficiency of foreign affairs and international integration.