Ca Mau: Three Pillars of Development

3:52:11 PM | 18/11/2015

18 years after re-establishment (January 1, 1997 - 2015), by taking advantage of resources for construction and development, Ca Mau province has reaped extremely important successes, continuously maintained high economic growth, and ensured growing economic scale and strength. To learn more about these achievements, Vietnam Business Forum has an interview with Mr Nguyen Tien Hai, Chairman of Ca Mau Provincial People’s Committee. Quoc Hung - Han Luong report.
Could you please introduce more about the socioeconomic achievements that the Party, government and people of Ca Mau have gained in the 18 years since re-establishment?
After 18 years of re-establishment, Ca Mau has attained relatively high economic growth, sometimes very high, even exceeding 10 percent a year. Specifically, the average annual growth rate was 8.4 percent in the 1996 - 2000 period, 11.8 percent in the 2001 - 2015 period, and 13.8 percent in the 2006 - 2010 phase. Due to impacts of US financial crisis and domestic inflationary control policy, the average growth fell to 6 percent a year on average in the 2011 - 2015 phase. The province's regional gross domestic product GRDP was estimated at VND33,640 billion in 2015. The economic structure has rapidly changed as expected, with the share of industry and construction in the province's GDP rising from 16.96 percent in 1997 to 29.1 percent in 2015, the share of service climbing from 19.64 percent to 36.0 percent and the share of agriculture, forestry and fishery declining from 63.4 percent to 31.1 percent. Incomes and living standards of the people have been remarkably improved, with GDP per capita reaching VND35.37 million in 2015.
In the cultural and social field, spiritual and material life and living conditions of the people have been generally improved. By the end by 2015, up to 97 percent of households are expected to have access to electricity and the poverty rate will be brought to below 1.8 percent. Every year, the province provides over 36,000 new jobs. National defence and security are maintained and social order and security are kept stable.
The current economic size is 6.3 times bigger from 1997 (based on reference value in 1994). Gross regional domestic product (GRDP) is expected to reach VND21,826 billion (US$1 billion) in 2015, compared with VND3,488 billion in 1997, representing an average annual growth of 10.7 percent in this period. The province’s economic structure is shifting rapidly in the right direction. The share of industry and construction in the economy increased from 16.96 percent in 1997 to 36.3 percent in 2015; the share of services rose from 19.64 percent to 27.6 percent; and the share of agriculture, forestry and fisher fell from 63.4 to 36.1 percent to percent. GDP per capita has markedly improved, reaching VND36.25 million in 2015.
Since the province carries out the Central Resolution 4 of the 11th term on “Building synchronous infrastructure systems to make Vietnam a basically modern industrialised nation by 2020,” the infrastructure system in Ca Mau province has been invested substantially, particularly in transport, irrigation, power grid, education, medical, cultural, sports, urban and rural infrastructure. Many important projects are completed and put into use to accelerate local socioeconomic development.
Currently, the province is implementing many important large-scale projects like Ca Mau Gas - Electricity - Fertiliser Complex and Nam Can Economic Zone. Could you please tell us more about the progress of these projects until the present time, as well as their roles and importance to economic development and investment attraction in Ca Mau?
The deployment and operation of important large-scale projects have boosted local socioeconomic conditions, increased budget revenues, and provided jobs for local workers. Ca Mau Gas - Electricity and Fertiliser Complex with two 1,500-MW power plants (generating 9 billion kWh of electricity a year) and a fertiliser plant with an annual output capacity 800,000 tonnes (went into operation in late 2011) have had the greatest effect and impact. The Prime Minister approved the overall development plan for Nam Can Economic Zone to 2030. This economic zone plays an important role in economic development, defence and security strategy and serves a magnet to investment flows into Ca Mau province.
Ca Mau province holds unique advantages for marine economic development. Would you be kind enough to tell us more about these advantages?
Ca Mau seas have three near-shore islands, namely Hon Khoai (577 ha), Hon Chuoi (14.5 ha) and Hon Da Bac (6.3 ha). Particularly, Hon Khoai and Hon Chuoi have potential for tourism and marine economic development and play an important position in security and defence. Hon Khoai Island lies between the Gulf of Thailand and the East Sea, thus being capable of developing a general port for the Mekong Delta key economic zone to reach other nations in Southeast Asia and the world. Moreover, the eastern coastal area of the Khai Long region has huge potential for wind power development, a source of renewable clean energy for sustainable development.
With such geographic location and conditions, Ca Mau province has a lot of advantages for marine economic development, especially commercial fishing and aquaculture. Currently, the Ca Mau sea water is one of four major fishing grounds of the country and the province has the largest aquaculture area in the country. On March 12, 2009, the Provincial People’s Committee issued Decision 407/QD-UBND to approve the master plan for Ca Mau coastal and offshore socioeconomic development to 2020, aimed to build the waters and coastal areas into dynamic economic development zones of the province.
In the past years, faced with a series of difficulties in pricing, market and credit, the Ca Mau business community still stays firm, develops steadily and keeps growing constantly. Would you mind talking more about this success? What programmes does Ca Mau province have to share difficulties with and accompany businesses to overcome those hardships?
The province has more than 4,000 businesses with a total registered capital of VND25,500 billion. Over the past years, the business community and entrepreneurs have gradually gotten through difficulties in production and business to contribute to domestic socioeconomic development.
Ca Mau province always creates favourable conditions for businesses to support production and business activities, such as administrative reform and single-window mechanism for administrative procedures to reduce time and expense for businesses. In the coming time, the province will continue to implement the Ca Mau SME development plan in 2011-2015 and the provincial competitiveness index (PCI) improvement plan to 2020, advance dialogues with citizens and enterprises to promptly understand and settle difficulties against businesses; and closely coordinate with central authorities to issue appropriate business policies.
To become an economically and socially developed province by 2020 and actively contribute to the development of the Mekong Delta and the country, which fields will Ca Mau province focus on?
To realise its objectives, Ca Mau province will concentrate on economic development on three pillars of development, namely agriculture, industry, and trade – service.
The province focuses on restructuring agriculture to increase added value and sustain development, develop green agriculture, and reshuffle production to enhance the value of agricultural products. Ca Mau also strengthens clean and advanced scientific and technological applications to production to raise gross production value in the same farming area unit. The province also steps up cooperation and coordination in product processing and consumption, and ensures harmony of interests among stakeholders to expand large-scale production. At the same time, the province prioritises its resources and mobilises entire social resources to achieve the national target programme for new countryside construction.
For industry, the province accelerates industrial restructuring by shifting from simple processing to deep processing to enhance high added value; encourage businesses to invest in equipment and technology to reduce material and energy consumption, enhance productivity, product quality, product diversification, and boost the share of products with high added value.
The province has stepped up projects for development of economic zones, industrial zones, seaports, wind-to-power facilities and other important industrial projects.
Particularly, in the service sector, the province concentrates on diversifying services to boost its share in the economy, encourage service development like rural agriculture, trade, transport, tourism, banking, insurance, telecommunications, information technology, consulting and business support.