By issuing many documents such as Plan 477/KH-UBND dated November 7, 2018 on improving the provincial competitiveness index (PCI) in 2018-2019, Plan 64 / KH-UBND dated February 14, 2019 on execution of Resolution 02/NQ-CP dated January 1, 2019 of the Government, Directive 03/CT-UBND dated June 12, 2019 on improving the investment and business environment and enhancing the provincial competitiveness index (PCI) and especially by coordinating with the Bac Kan Post Office to put into operation the Bac Kan Public Administration Service Center from August 1, 2019, the provincial government has expressed its determination to push up the “new wave” of administrative reform and better the business environment. Vietnam Business Forum Magazine has an interview with Mr. Ly Thai Hai, Chairman of the Bac Kan Provincial People’s Committee, on this issue.
Pacing up public administration reform, improving the PCI Index and building up open investment mechanisms and policies have drawn more concern of Bac Kan province, realized by many solutions and activities. Could you please tell us more about this?
With the aim of building a dynamic investment and business environment to attract resources for socioeconomic development in 2016-2020, Bac Kan province has introduced many mechanisms and policies on simplification of administrative procedures such as Resolution 07-NQ/TU dated April 26, 2016 of the 11th Provincial Party Committee on accelerating public administration reform in 2016-2020 and Resolution 08-NQ/TU dated April 26, 2016 on improving the provincial competitiveness index in 2016-2020. Many policies have also been gradually perfected to encourage investors in the province and boost manufacturing and trading activities towards enhanced corporate sustainability, productivity, quality, effectiveness and competitiveness.
Recently, the province has paid special attention to communicating and raising the awareness of public employees, Party members and people of public administration reform, especially administrative procedures relating to PCI; reinforced operation and performance of the administrative apparatus; focused on improving the quality, capacity, responsibility and attitude of public employees and assigning tasks of public administration reform to the leader responsibility and accountability in provincial and district-level agencies; robustly restructured the economy together with changing the growth pattern, improving productivity, quality, effect and competitiveness of products. The Provincial People’s Committee and relevant bodies have had many activities to support businesses to boost trade, tourism and investment; provided information and advice on investment incentive procedures and policies, industrial and residential area planning to attract investors.
The drastic reform of investment administrative procedures has helped reduce the time of granting business licenses to less than three days. The single-window mechanism between the Department of Planning and Investment and the Provincial Department of Taxation in the field of business registration, tax code and corporate seal has been maintained and the appraisal of investment projects has been done in the quickest manner. The Provincial People’s Committee has also held regular business dialogues, attended by media agencies, twice a year to promptly understand and resolve their difficulties and obstacles and publicized hotline contacts and online vehicles to get questions from and deliver answers to businesses.
Besides, applying information technology to management and execution of public services has been promoted; the quality of the province’s electronic information portal and agencies’ websites has been raised, and the ISO 9001: 2008 quality management system has been scaled up in the administrative apparatus. Information about development planning, land planning, investment incentive policies and administrative procedures have been regularly updated to increase access for businesses.
In addition, the province has encouraged businesses to have solutions for better business performance such as long-term strategies to make distinctive products, services and markets; actively invested in science, technology and human resources; coordinated with all levels and sectors to accelerate agricultural restructuring, and increase the rate of processed agricultural and forest products to meet quality, food hygiene and safety standards.
Over the past years, Bac Kan has made great efforts to raise its PCI score and standing but the outcome has not been as good as expected. Therefore, Bac Kan province is determined to increase PCI in the coming time. What do you expect on PCI performance in the coming time?
It is very difficult for a mountainous province like Bac Kan to enhance competitiveness, improve the business environment and attract investment funds, because of both subjective and objective factors. But with the greatest determination, Bac Kan province has made great efforts to raise the PCI score and standing, but the outcome has not been as good as expected. Over the past years, the province’s PCI has been among the worst performers in the country.
Based on the PCI performance in recent years, especially in 2018, on June 12, 2019, the Provincial People’s Committee issued Directive 03/CT-UBND on ameliorating the business environment and raising the PCI, which requires leaders of competent agencies to focus on implementing tasks and solutions for a better economic environment and higher PCI index in the following years.
The directive states that local authorities are responsible for improving component indicators in order to raise low and falling component indicators, maintain and increase high and rising component indicators; strengthening roles and responsibility of agency leaders for improving the business environment; fostering administrative procedure reform, effectively operating the Bac Kan Public Administrative Service Center and district-level administrative divisions; ensuring equal rights to business, resources and opportunities; actively grasping and resolving petitions, difficulties and obstacles for enterprises; and increasing low-standing indices like time cost and business support services.
Engaged by the entire political system, especially the coordination of Bac Kan province with the Vietnam Post Corporation to run the Bac Kan Public Administration Service Center at the latter’s Central Post Office from August 1, 2019 and single-window divisions at district-level and commune-level post offices from 2019-2020 (Bac Kan is one of seven provinces and cities across the country to pilot this scheme), the process of public administration reform and competitiveness improvement will be accelerated significantly in 2020 and subsequent years.
How will the operation of the Bac Kan Public Administration Service Center make breakthroughs in administrative reform in the province?
The operation of the Bac Kan Public Administration Service Center will provide favorable conditions for organizations, people and businesses to contact relevant authorities to settle administrative procedures; increase interoperability and transparency, reduce bureaucracy, time and effort for individuals, organizations and businesses; facilitate strengthened public supervision of State agencies, officials and employees; and gradually improve the Vietnam Provincial Governance and Public Administration Performance Index (PAPI) and the Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI).
Launching the Bac Kan Public Administration Service Center is a new way of deploying the single-window, inter-agency mechanism at specialized agencies affiliated to the Provincial People’s Committee; changing the service attitude of public employees in executing public service towards a service administration; and ensuring best conditions for people and businesses. Information technology is applied to all activities, thus helping modernize administration and build e-government, improve government-business relations, promote democratic rights and public supervision. But, this is also a new model, resulting in emerging difficulties in implementation, like the absence of legal corridor for building apparatus, payroll and other activities.
We expect that the operation of the Bac Kan Public Administration Service Center will create a breakthrough in public administration reform. With a transparent and effective administration, it will help attract resources for development investment to meet integration requirements.
Would you be kind enough to summarize the province’s commitments to enterprises and investors in Bac Kan province?
Bac Kan province is always well aware that the business community is an important factor of socioeconomic development. The provincial government and all levels and branches of authority organize meetings and dialogues with them to grasp their opinions and aspirations to have appropriate solutions for a better investment environment. The province also hopes they will be more active in production and business operations, constantly innovate technology for higher operational efficiency, strengthen production connectivity, and promote social security. With the greatest determination and effort, Bac Kan province is committed to introducing consistent policies, providing best conditions for them and always going with them in the process of local construction and development.
Thank you very much!