Nghe An More Open for Higher Development

3:51:19 PM | 2/3/2015

After one year of implementing Resolution 26-NQ/TW of the Politburo on Nghe An development directions and tasks to 2020, under the close guidance of the central government, Nghe An province has made constant efforts to achieve important socioeconomic development results. On the sidelines of the 2015 Lunar New Year Meeting with investors, Nguyen Xuan Duong, Chairman of Nghe An Provincial People's Committee, granted an exclusive interview to Vietnam Business Forum. Ngo San reports.
How do you think about economic development results of Nghe An province in 2014?
In spite of many tough challenges, Nghe An province’s economy still developed well in 2014.
In 2014, the total value of products reached VND56,689 billion, an increase of 7.24 percent over 2013. Of the sum, the production value of agro-forestry-fishery was VND14,337 billion, up 3.85 percent year on year; industrial and construction value was VND18,496 billion, up 8.72 percent; and services value was VND23,856 billion, up 8.22 percent. The growth was higher than in 2012 (6.1 percent) and in 2013 (6.5 percent), and was higher than the national growth of 5.8 percent in 2014. The proportion of agro-forestry-fishery value in GDP was also reduced from 27.77 percent in 2013 to 25.42 percent in 2014, while the rate of industry and construction was raised from 31.36 percent to 31.85 percent, and services from 41.69 percent to 42.74 percent. GDP per capita was VND25 million in 2014, compared with VND22.96 million in 2013.
Although agricultural production was not very favourable, grain production still reached 1,203,574 tonnes, the highest ever. Farming areas of staples were steady, with 187,910 ha of rice, 55,652 ha of maize, 29,320 ha of sugar cane, 17,914 ha of peanuts, 2,946 ha of orange, 10,912 ha of rubber, 553 ha of coffee, and 6,944 ha of tea. Livestock husbandry was kept on a large scale, with 296,241 buffaloes, 391,155 cows, 971,000 pigs and 17,960 fowls. The province had 380 husbandry farms, including 90 pig farms, 32 poultry farms and 210 bovine farms. Leading milk companies like Vinamilk and TH Milk are expanding dairy farms in the province. In 2014, Nghe An planted 15,915 ha of forests and tended 21,500 ha of forests, while farming fish on 22,000 ha of water surface. The province also had a fleet of 4,090 motorised fishing boats (1,211 boats with engine capacity of 90 CV or higher) which caught 144,545 tonnes of fish last year. The province also produced 550 million baby fish, 1,100 million baby shrimp and 9.5 million aquatic species.
Industrial production revived growth, with the outputs of key products in excess of the plans. The province turned out 99.85 million litres of fresh milk, 741.54 million bricks and 1.53 million tonnes of cement. The province has 32 industrial complexes covering 467 ha, of which nine were fully filled, five were partially filled, eight were under construction, and 10 were planned. Industrial complexes are housing 160 projects, including three FDI projects, which generate VND2 trillion in production value a year, accounting for 12 percent of the province’s industrial production value. These tenants are employing 8,500 workers.
The construction industry also thrived. The province mobilised VND36 trillion of investment capital last year. Completed projects produce good effects on production and livelihoods. Site clearance for key projects, particularly National Road 1A upgrading project, was firmly carried out. Work also resumed on stopped projects. In 2014, the province commenced and accelerated many projects like Dung Bridge, three railway bridges, Khe Ang Bridge, a 700-bed hospital and Truong Bon Monument.
Trade was vibrant. People continued to respond to the “Buy Vietnamese” Campaign which encouraged Vietnamese people to give priority to Vietnamese goods on their shopping lists. Retail revenue grossed VND34,653 billion and exports fetched US$415.4 million. In 2014, Nghe An also focused on developing a civilised, secure, friendly and high-quality tourism environment.
In 2014, Nghe An province started many big projects, showing a bright picture of investment attraction. Would you mind telling us more about these developments?
In 2014, Nghe An started Hoa Sen Steel Sheet Plant, Nguyen Kim Supermarket and other projects of great significance to local socioeconomic development. This affirmed the right way that Nghe An has taken in investment attraction.
Nghe An province granted investment licences for 127 projects with registered investment capital of VND27,27.384 billion in the year to November, of which 105 were fresh projects with VND18,522 billion. Large-scale projects included Lan Chau - Song Ngu ecotourism, villa residence, sporting and entertaining complex valued at VND1,969 billion, a MDF medium-density fibreboard factory with VND1,558.0 billion, a food project worth VND1,200 billion invested by Ma San Group, a steel sheet mill worth VND2,300 billion invested by Hoa Sen Group, and a VND2,392-billion project invested by Vingroup. The province now has 31 official assistance development (ODA) projects with a total investment capital of VND15,050 billion (VND12,109 billion of ODA capital and VND2,941 billion of counterpart capital). Typical projects include WB-funded Vinh urbanisation development project and Saudi Arabia-funded Nam Nam flooding village project. In addition to external resources, local businesses are reviving growth momentum. In the first 11 months of 2014, the province licensed 1,025 new businesses, bringing the total number of businesses to 12,386, including 8,461 active ones.
These results came from Nghe An province’s focus on foreign investment promotion. In 2014, the province hosted many important events such as Lunar New Year Investor Meeting 2014 and investment promotion events in Japan, the United Kingdom and South Korea. Particularly, the province kept close relations with central investment promotion agencies, foreign organisations (JETRO and KOTRA) and local organisations. Also last year, Nghe An organised many executive personnel training classes for local enterprises, and many business dialogues to learn about existing difficulties facing the business community.
Would you talk about major socioeconomic development targets of Nghe An province in 2015?
Vietnamese and world economies were projected to revive growth in 2015. 2015 is the final year of the five-year socioeconomic development plan from 2011 to 2015. Nghe An province will also continue to implement Resolution 26-NQ/TW of the Politburo and host the Provincial Congress Party of the 2015-2020 term. Ongoing and upcoming projects will create more jobs for local people, increase State budget revenue and give a facelift to the province’s socioeconomic picture.
Seizing this opportunity, Nghe An will deploy many solutions to support and encourage the development of agriculture, forestry and fisheries to create jobs and income for workers; accelerate the construction of household-enterprise business cooperation model; invest in groundbreaking agricultural products like dairy cows and high-tech agricultural products. The province targets to keep the growth of agriculture, fisheries and forestry at 4-4.5 percent this year.
The province will base on local resources to develop industry and construction. It will promote restructuring and give priority to high-quality and value-added products using advanced environment-friendly and energy-saving technologies. It will speed up the construction progress of key industrial projects. Nghe An targets to keep industrial and construction production value growth at 12-13 percent in 2015.
Nghe An province will vigorously develop the service sector with huge potential and advantages, high scientific and technological content to generate high added value; develop such services as tourism, finance, banking, insurance, and production and business support; focus on building brand names for local products; and speed up exportation, particularly highly-valued products. The province will proactively expand markets, boost trade promotion, encourage Vietnamese people to give priority to Vietnamese products, ensure stable supply of goods, stabilise market prices, and regulate the market to bring up retail revenues by 14-15 percent from a year previous. The province expects to earn US$550-600 million from exports, up 14-15 percent year on year and spend US$300-350 million on imports.
Nghe An will also rearrange its tourism service system, continue to invest in key services projects across the province, open some new travel tours and complexes like Cua Lo - Dao Ngu (Song Ngu Son Project), Vinh - Con Cuong, Vinh - Que Phong (Hua Na Hydropower Plant). The province hopes to welcome 4.8 million tourists in 2015 and boost tourism revenue by 18 - 20 percent against 2014.
On the occasion of the province hosting the Lunar New Year Investor Meeting 2015, would you be kind enough to talk about its groundbreaking work to improve the investment environment?
Improving the investment climate and creating breakthroughs in investment attraction is of strategic importance. To open this difficult door, we determine to focus on the following "keys":
1. Public administration reform is defined as a breakthrough stage to ensure production and business development and help State agencies work with organisations and citizens more easily and effectively.
2. Improving and professionalising investment promotion: The province will actively introduce domestic and foreign investment promotion programmes and key project lists to lure investors. Specifically, in early 2015, the province held the Lunar New Year Investor Meeting 2015. This biggest-ever annual investor meeting gave a strong boost to the province’s investment promotion.
3. Improving overall socioeconomic development planning: Nghe An is attempting to set up the overall socioeconomic development plan. Once approved, this will be the foundation for attracting investment into the province.
4. Improving human resources training quality: The province will focus on demand-based human resources training. The training must be based on actual demand of enterprises. It will open more business start-up training courses for SMEs.
5. Focusing on socioeconomic infrastructure investment: The province will speed up infrastructure construction, particularly transport, water, electricity, waste treatment systems and supporting facilities.
6. Reviewing investment projects: The province will revoke slow-moving projects to give the opportunity for new investors, create a clean land fund for new projects, and ensure smooth site clearance to provide the space to investors in the shortest time possible.