Lang Son Business Climate Improvement: Substantial, Effective Measures in Focus

10:19:44 AM | 30/5/2018

Recently, Lang Son province has carried out many solutions to have a better business environment and tackle difficulties against businesses. Although there are still many bottlenecks in the way, accompanying and supporting enterprises has been carried out with concrete, effective and impactful steps. Vietnam Business Forum Magazine has an interview with Mr Pham Ngoc Thuong, Chairman of Lang Son Provincial People’s Committee. Ngo Khuyen reports.

Lang Son province is determined to further improve the investment and business environment and committed to accompanying the business community. What solutions and activities has the province taken to realise these?
First of all, Lang Son province closely guided applying strict administrative discipline; upheld the sense of responsibility and the sense of service of employees, particularly agency heads. In addition, the province publicised processes and staff responsible for settling administrative procedures; intensified inspections into public duties to resolutely handle violation cases or trouble businesses toward building an government of action and service.

The province stepped up procedural simplification to reduce the time needed to settle administrative procedures for people and enterprises. At present, all administrative procedures relating to investment and business, regulations, policies and plans are published on the website of the Provincial People’s Committee and working offices of administrative bodies at all levels. Enterprises only need to submit applications at the single-window address at any levels and places. The Department of Taxation and the Department of Customs have regularly reviewed processes, records and procedures to shorten the clearance time; continued to manage and operate the e-customs system (VNACC/VCIS) effectively to facilitate exports and imports via border gates.

The province also promoted the role of e-government, uplifted by the effective operation of public administrative centres at all levels, built e-government and provided public online services at Level 3 and Level 4. The province takes the satisfaction of people and enterprises as the measure of its performance.

The Provincial People’s Committee realised its commitment to creating a favourable business and investment environment by carrying out a number of concrete plans and measures, including the introduction of the Department and District Competitiveness Index (DCCI), which helped enhance service delivery of public agencies. The province also set up a telephone hotline and a resulting information body to receive and answer petitions, regularly opened meetings and dialogues, and worked directly to grasp aspirations of enterprises and help them deal with emerging hardships in business.

In addition, the Provincial People’s Committee established and ensured the Credit Guarantee Fund to assist small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to operate effectively; founded the Development Investment Fund; and guaranteed loans for enterprises at commercial banks to carry out their investment projects.

Since 2016, Lang Son province developed an action program to support and develop competitive, sustainable and integrating enterprises. In the near term, the province focused on resolving obstacles arising from land administrative procedures, investment capital and consumption markets.

At present, many bottlenecks remain in the local business environment. How will the province deal with these issues?
The Provincial People’s Committee continued to carry out solutions and tasks to improve the local business and investment environment, with focus placed on “Enhancing administrative discipline, raising responsibility and efficiency of people and enterprises”. In the near future, the province will streamline the administrative apparatus to have more effective performance.

It will accelerate the development of Lang Son Development Planning in the of 2021 - 2030 period, with a vision to 2050, in a bid to attract more investment capital for transport infrastructure, technical infrastructure for industrial parks to provide ready land for new business projects.

Lang Son will soon submit to the Prime Minister adjustments to the scope and boundary of Dong Dang - Lang Son Border Gate Economic Zone; review, supplement and finalise the detailed planning of functional areas; invest to upgrade and completion of technical infrastructure in border gate areas; strengthen the service capacity of yards; invest in commercial and service infrastructure, transport infrastructure to border gates, yards, warehouses, and border markets.
Apart from reviewing and perfecting preferential mechanisms and policies, the province will deploy many solutions to assist enterprises and cooperatives to deal with difficulties, facilitate individual households to transform into corporate entities, and link businesses to form sector chains and value chains.

Furthermore, Lang Son province will intensively meet and discuss with Chinese Guangxi authorities and concerned bodies to promptly provide information on administration mechanism, commodity supply and demand to have the best business plans and measures. At the same time, acts violating the law or harassing people and businesses will be seriously settled.

Intensifying dialogues with people and businesses is a move for the province to get closer to people and enterprises. What do you think about this?
The province has held more than 10 business meetings and dialogues since 2016, including many large-scale thematic gatherings like yard and port operation business, mineral extraction, construction material, telecommunication services, finance and banking. Thus, many long-lasting issues were eventually resolved, for example, completing plans and legal procedures for yard and port operators at border gates, re-examining the size and reserves of minerals for mining companies and construction material companies, and creating a space for production and business investment.

In response to Government Resolution 35/NQ-CP on business support and development to 2020, the Lang Son Provincial People’s Committee promulgated Program 33/CTr-UBND dated September 28, 2016. What do you think about this after more than a year of deployment?
Right after issuing the Action Programme on enforcement of Resolution 35/NQ-CP of the Government (Programme 33/CTr-UBND dated September 28, 2016), the Provincial People’s Committee thoroughly informed public employees and institutionalised it into specific tasks. Local authorities disseminate roles, positions and tasks of each unit to every public employee in a bid to change their thinking and practices at the service of businesses and people.

The locality paid much attention to training and fostering public servants. In 2017 along, it opened 75 classes for 9,748 trainees. Lang Son also stepped up sector planning reviews like socioeconomic development master plan, land-use planning, industrial zone planning and livestock husbandry planning. It also publicised plans for enterprises to work out best production, business and investment plans. In addition to connecting enterprises by region, by sector and by value chain; and contacting big companies, the Provincial People’s Committee directed its subordinates to seek markets by launching activities, programmes and conferences like trade fairs, agricultural trade promotion events.

Lang Son province also sped up the reshuffle of State-owned enterprises (SOEs) for better performance, announced six administrative procedures on social enterprises, and provided business supports like shortening the time of business registration, carrying out electronic business registration, coordinating with commercial banks (to provide loans) and technical infrastructure operators to better support local enterprises to do business.

Without doubt, tasks and solutions in Resolution 35/NQ-CP have produced huge impacts on business development in the province. Practical solutions solved urgent administrative issues for enterprises, helping them expand markets and boost investment and trade promotion. As a result, in 2017, the province had 510 new businesses with VND3,250 billion of investment capital, an increase of 34 per cent in new entities over 2016. By the end of 2017, it had 2,728 enterprises with VND17,309 billion of registered investment capital, which paid VND668 billion of taxes to the State Budget in the year.