Dong Thap Improving Governance Quality to Better Serve Businesses

4:16:58 PM | 1/10/2018

According to the PCI 2017 rankings, Dong Thap ranked third with 68.8 points, setting a record for 10 consecutive years in the Top 5 PCI rankings in the country. For an agricultural and far-lying province like Dong Thap, this achievement is truly a miracle - a result inspired by reform, determination and ongoing effort of the government and people. To learn about the success of Dong Thap province - the land of Pink Lotus, Vietnam Business Forum Magazine has an interview with Mr Nguyen Van Duong, Chairman of the Provincial People’s Committee. Cong Luan reports.

Could you please tell us the secret to the high PCI rankings of Dong Thap province in 2017?
The Dong Thap leadership always regards the Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) as the most effective tool to measure the business environment and a key factor to improve the provincial investment environment. Besides, with the PCI, the province can send its message to investors directly and effectively.

The province has been carrying out many measures to improve the investment and business environment and support business development, and seeing this as a central task of socioeconomic administration. Dong Thap has consistently changed from thinking to action in the public administration, showed consistent views and actions in "business support", from "thinking for the business" to "thinking like the business", from “managing and administering business” to "creating the best environment for business to operate". This is a long transformational process in the mindset that starts with the provincial leadership and spreads to the local government. This actually contributed to the performance of its PCI 2017, ranked third on the rankings and secured a Top 5 position for 10 consecutive years.

In 2017, Dong Thap marked its leadership with a series of rising indicators such as land access and land use stability, transparency and time costs. How has the province managed to achieve such impressive growth targets?
Every year, after PCI results are announced, Dong Thap opens the PCI Conference to analyse both good and bad aspects and identify shortcomings, weaknesses and their causes in comparison with other provinces and cities in order to have more practical and effective solutions for better performance in the years to come.

In addition to introducing PCI improvement plans, the province assigns leaders of departments, sectors and localities with connection to every component index to take measures to improve their rankings and scores so as to maintain and raise their competitive rankings and scores over the years. The province operated the Public Administration Centre in October 2016 in a bid to reduce intermediary stages to reduce the required settlement time and increase the interconnection of administrative procedures to facilitate people and businesses to deal with paperwork with authorities.

Dong Thap does not want sluggish performance of the administrative apparatus to consume the valuable time of enterprises, and it directs relevant bodies to streamline processes and reduce the time to settle administrative procedures. For example, to deal with land issue, enterprises need to visit two times instead of four as earlier. Investment registration certification time is reduced to 16 days from 35 days in case there is an investment decision thereto, and to 10 days from 15 days in case there is no such decision, applied to projects outside industrial and economic zones in the province. Dong Thap also assigned the Office of the Provincial People's Committee to act as a lead body for connecting information and implementing procedures for investors.

After the success of the Dong Thap Investment Promotion Conference 2017, the province set up four working groups in various fields to provide relevant information, review the status quo, complete planning and land procedures band; to facilitate investors to complete procedures and carry out their projects at the earliest possible time. In addition, the province always listens to, understands and satisfies legitimate needs of enterprises; and boldly applies reasonable policy recommendations of investors and businesses. As for local preferential business support permitted by the central authorities, Dong Thap always applies maximum regulatory incentives to give strongest support to investors. These efforts have enabled Dong Thap to improve its component indicators on access to land, transparency and time costs.

What is the sharpest impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on the province's PCI improvements?
The Industrial Revolution 4.0 is changing the today world, from production, service delivery and business ways to consumption patterns, communication methods and lifestyle changes. One important requirement is applying science and technology to public administration and services delivered by State agencies. This requires the administrative apparatus to truly renovate, apply information technology, provide online public services, simplify administrative procedures, create a favourable business environment for people and enterprises. It necessarily reforms administrative procedures and improves personnel quality for the public administration that greatly impacts 10 PCI components.

Over the past time, the Provincial People’s Committee instructed heads of provincial departments and District-level People’s Committees to base on locally specific conditions to set up and run social networking pages (Facebook, Zalo and email) to provide new, friendly and effective communication channels for people to contact and get quick answers from authorities. On November 20, 2017, all provincial departments and District People's Committees launched the electronic single-window software and online public service portal ( The settlement of administrative procedures under the one-place single-window mechanism reduces visits and contacts in person for people, thus limiting overdue files and prevent bureaucratic acts of civil servants.

Business Café and the Farmers Club are special products of Dong Thap province in improving the business and investment environment. Could you talk about the success of these two models?
The Business Café was launched in late 2015. We see that this model is not only a place where entrepreneurs can express their hardships for quick solution, but also a rendezvous for exchanging two-way information. Here, businesses can go not only for their hardships but also for their new business or investment ideas. Or, on the other side, authorities can consult entrepreneurs when they need information and advice for new policies.

The biggest success of this model is the quick resolution to pronounced issues in just 15 minutes, instead of sending written documents again and again among concerned bodies as previously. More specifically, through proposals of entrepreneurs and enterprises at the meeting, the province set up the Business Leadership Club, the Pink Lotus Rice Business Association and Dong Thap Specialty Club to help local enterprises to form affiliations in certain sectors and fields and join forces together instead of working separately as before.

The formation of the Farmers Club resulted from concerns of the provincial leadership about livelihoods of farmers in Dong Thap. The association is a voluntary but practical association, unfunded by the State, helping people change their perceptions to find directions for their exports; promote links among farmers and between farmers and enterprises in agricultural production and consumption. This is one of core issues of agricultural restructuring in Dong Thap. Through the club, farmers play a more active role in administering their work and mobilising social sources for rural infrastructure construction and new countryside development.

What is Dong Thap province’s PCI goals, as well as specific action programmes in the coming years?
Since it entered the group of best-performing provinces and cities in PCI rankings, Dong Thap meticulously studied its existing problems and continually improved weaknesses. We always desire to have a lot of thoughtful, creative and powerful ways to meet increasing demands from the business community. We must go beyond ourselves to lead the nation in PCI.

In order to maintain this achievement in the coming years, Dong Thap will speed up the administrative reform process to give the “shortest path” to complete investment and business procedures to enterprises and continue to perfect friendly administration and accompany enterprises.

The province will quickly develop and launch the Department and District Competitiveness Index (DDCI) for local units to look at their scores for better future performance, by doing better what is good and addressing what is bad. DDCI will help inspire the wave of reforms to grassroots level and help the Provincial People’s Committee to define best solutions for a better business climate and raise its PCI in the coming time.

Thank you very much!