Lam Dong: Always Supportive to Businesses, Investors

2:27:20 PM | 23/12/2014

To learn about the socioeconomic development situations and development orientations of Lam Dong province, Vietnam Business Forum has an interview with Mr Doan Van Viet, Chairman of the Provincial People's Committee of Lam Dong. Hoang Ngoc reports.
Could you please briefly introduce the socio- economic development results of Lam Dong province?
Lam Dong province is well endowed by nature, typically mild climate and fertile soil. The province has favourable conditions to develop tourism, high-tech agriculture and processing industries. By tapping local potential and strengths, powered by the constant efforts of the business community and the people, Lam Dong always maintained high socioeconomic development growth, and ensured political stability, national defence and security. In the past three years, the annual GDP growth was approximately 14 percent. GDP per capita was VND38.4 million in 2013. The economy has a reasonable structure constituted by 42.1 percent of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, 23.2 percent of industry and construction, and 34.7 percent of services. At present, about 15 percent of the province’s arable land is cultivated with high-tech applications. The production value in 2013 was over VND122 million per hectare. The province also saw a good progress in industry, construction and services, particularly tourism services.
Cultural and social aspects made progress, and education and training quality was raised. Disease examination and treatment and healthcare were promoted; social security was guaranteed; and poverty rate decreased rapidly (to 4.13 percent in 2013). The new countryside construction was supported and responded by the people. So far, 12 communes basically fulfilled 19 new countryside criteria.
Growth continued to be seen in many aspects in the first 11 months of 2014 from a year earlier. Gross regional domestic product (GRDP) climbed 14 percent; total exports reached US$400 million, equal 111 percent of the plan; total social investment grossed VND18,500 billion, up 20 percent; jobs were generated for over 23,000 workers; and poverty rate fell by 1.5 percent. Programmes and events in the framework of the National Tourism Year 2014 - Central Highlands - Da Lat were organised as planned to draw more tourists to Lam Dong province and Da Lat City. In 2014, the province was estimated to welcome over 4.8 million tourists, up 9.3 percent from a year earlier.
According to the Lam Dong socio-economic development planning to 2020 approved by the Prime Minister, Lam Dong will become a relatively developed province, driven by services, in the Central Highlands. How do you think about difficulties realising this goal?
The overall plan for Lam Dong social and economic development until 2020 was approved by the Prime Minister in Decision 1462/QD-TTg dated August 23, 2011. The overall objective is to build Lam Dong into a relatively developed province in the Central Highlands by 2020. The province will have a high proportion of service sectors in the economic structure, basically completed and modern infrastructure systems, developed education and training system to meet the human resource development, constantly improved livelihoods and cultural life of the people, and guaranteed national defence and security.
However, the province has faced a lot of difficulties and challenges in implementing the above objectives like its distance from major economic centres, weak and unsynchronised social and economic infrastructure systems, particularly transport systems, thus its investment appeal is weak. The agricultural sector is a major actor of the economy but its structure is slowly transitioned. The processing industry has not been closely tied to agricultural production and created driving forces for agricultural development and added value chains. Tourism and service development is incommensurate to local potential and strengths. Most of local businesses are small and lack competitiveness. The quality of human resources is low and worker qualifications and skills fail to meet requirements of the market and enterprises. In addition, at present, Lam Dong and Da Lat are facing major challenges in ensuring the harmony of conservation and development.
What solutions has Lam Dong province taken to successfully achieve the above objectives?
To achieve the objectives in the master plan approved by the Prime Minister, we have focused on directing fundamental solutions like planning social and economic development, planning industries and products, reviewing plans to have timely changes; effectively managing and utilising State budget; investing to build synchronous infrastructure works; building and improving investment attraction policies and investment environment to attract investment projects into agricultural product processing and consumption fields; boosting international cooperation and deepening coordination with other provinces and cities. The province has also concentrated on developing the market for goods and services; improving quality and competitiveness, and building strong brands for advantageous products.
Has Lam Dong province had any measures to support local businesses to overcome their hardships?
In recent years, business development has given a boost to local social and economic development, created many high-quality products and services, generated well-paid jobs for workers, mobilised social resources for development investment, and increased State budget revenue. Recent global economic downturn and domestic economic slowdown dragged on production and business activities of local enterprises.
To help businesses maintain and develop, since 2010, Lam Dong province has proposed support programmes for local small and medium enterprises with five key contents: Boosting access to capital and credit funds; providing good production spaces; supporting businesses to enhance competitiveness for businesses; measures to speed up administrative procedure reform for the sake of business development; building and strengthening business development support systems to enable businesses to mobilise resources for production development and competitiveness improvement. In 2012, implementing Resolution 13/NQ-CP of the Government, the provincial government directed its affiliated agencies and localities to timely carry out measures to remove difficulties in production and business activities and support the market.
In 2014, Lam Dong province continued to provide business supports in accordance with the Government’s Resolution 02/NQ-CP to remove difficulties against enterprises: Organising government - business dialogue where the government can learn about difficulties against local enterprises; organising bank - business dialogue in accordance with the guidance from the Governor of the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV); coordinating with the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) - HCM City Branch to organise conferences on customs and tax policies; organising training courses on corporate governance; reducing and rescheduling taxes and land-use rights for enterprises; publicising administrative procedures.
As a leader of the province, do you have any message to tourists, entrepreneurs and investors interested in doing business in Lam Dong province?
Lam Dong always calls and welcomes domestic and foreign investors to the province and always sides with investors and businesses to overcome difficulties and attain joint stable development.