Bac Giang province has utilized its advantages and resources for local economic construction and development in the past years. Amid existing difficulties and challenges against its economy in integration, Bac Giang very much needs a strategic solution for sustainable development to 2030.
Effective administration of socioeconomic development
With specific action programs and solutions to successfully realize the Resolution of the 18th Provincial Party Congress (2016-2020 term), Bac Giang province has witnessed tremendous economic progress in recent years. Its gross regional domestic product (GRDP) is higher than the national average. Its GRDP growth stood at 9.5% a year in 2011-2015, 10.4% in 2016, 13.3% in 2017, 15.96% in 2018 and 15.78% in the first six months of 2019 (ranked fourth out of 63 provinces and cities nationwide). Industry and construction continued to provide the main driving force of growth as it accounted for 82.3% of the GRDP.
In the last three years, Bac Giang province’s investment attraction made strong breakthroughs to be among top recipients of investment capital in the country. From 2016 to 2018, the province licensed 515 investment projects with a registered capital of more than US$4.1 billion, bringing its total effective projects to 1,451 with nearly US$9 billion of registered capital, including 350 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects with more than US$4 billion. Especially, in the first six months of 2019, it licensed 68 fresh projects and allowed 17 existing projects to scale up their investment value, totaling US$542 million (up 73.8% higher than the same period of 2018). This result helped Bac Giang secure third place in the Vietnam Provincial Governance and Public Administration Performance Index (PAPI) and a Top 10 recipient of investment capital, including FDI fund.
The province’s human development index (HDI) is higher than the national average. Its education and training quality is always among the best in the country. Health care services have developed strongly and life expectancy has increased. People’s basic living conditions have been also improved, with GDP per capita reaching VND52.1 million (US$2,230) in 2018, ranked 22nd among 63 provinces and cities nationwide. These outcomes enabled Bac Giang province to realize ‘core’ objectives of the Resolution of the 18th Provincial Party Congress: Becoming an industrial province by 2020 and having prosperous people and powerful internal capacity.
Nevertheless, Bac Giang province still faced existing difficulties and challenges, like: high but non-comprehensive economic growth, which is heavily dependent on FDI enterprises while FDI carries many ineffective and unsustainable factors; unstable agriculture; underperforming tourism; unstable growth quality, mainly driven by investment capital; budget deficit despite growth; irrational export and import structure; asynchronous infrastructure; limited corporate governance; and low technology.
Sustainable development challenges
To have effective solutions for higher competitiveness and stronger socioeconomic sustainability in the current context and to 2030, the Bac Giang Provincial People’s Committee introduced specific action plans as follows:
First, institutional perfection. Accelerating the completion of the planning system and determining the development model to 2030; implementing the Bac Giang planning in 2021-2030 with consistently integrated methods and right standards applied to modern cities and maintaining local cultural identity; promoting institutional and administrative reforms and improving the business environment; developing project selection criteria to ensure investment capacity, environmentally friendly advanced technology and high value-added products.
Speeding up information technology application to administrative procedures in order to increase the online settlement of Level 3 procedures to at least 40% and Level 4 procedures to at least 30%, reduce procedures needed over 15 days for settlement to 30% and less than 15 days to 25%; accelerating the construction of e-government; building the image of a dynamic and friendly government; and strictly handling bad behaviors and bureaucratic harassment.
Developing specific development policies linked to upcoming important tasks to mobilize and effectively use resources for investment and development of economically important, potential and advantageous industries and products that are environmentally friendly to expand consumer markets. The central task is to determine driving forces to create special investment attraction mechanisms for regions defined as driving forces, the development hub of the province and the region. Investors are offered incentives for investment in industrial zones and tourist sites through legal assistance, ground clearance and land compensation, transport infrastructure, electricity and water access.
Second, sustainable economic development. Further restructuring the economy, improving growth quality, and shifting business sectors towards sustainability; restructuring the industry to enhance productivity, quality and performance, consume less resources and fuel, generate higher added value and move forward higher export; facilitating the establishment and development of industrial parts manufacturers and environmentally industrial companies.
Further restructuring the agricultural sector, effectively executing Resolution 130-NQ/TU dated August 16, 2016 of the Standing Board of the Provincial Party Committee on promoting high-tech application to agricultural production in Bac Giang in 2016-2020; mobilizing and effectively using investment resources and adopting new countryside models; encouraging banks, credit institutions and finance companies to open branches or representative offices in the province.
Attracting investors to develop sustainable tourism services, with focus placed on Tay Yen Tu spiritual cultural tourism area, Bac Giang FLC ecological tourism and recreational at Khuon Than Lake, ecological tourism and resort sites linked to Tay Yen Tu, Khe Ro, Cam Son Lake and Nham Bien Mountain.
Focusing on developing high quality human resources, closely linking human resource development with scientific and technological development and application to support economic restructuring and growth pattern transformation; enhancing support for agricultural workers to shift to non-farm industries; financially supporting vocational training to raise the share of educationally qualified workers.
Third, social progress and justice. Enhancing health care, cultural and sport development, improving the spiritual life of people; establishing medical records for over 90% of population in 2020; mobilizing people and social organizations to materially invest and financially fund cultural and sport activities.
Gradually carrying out self-financed operations of non-business agencies, encouraging development and establishment of new services; attracting workers to join voluntary social insurance; strictly dealing with companies not paying insurance premiums for their employees, improving public, transparent and sustainable insurance fund management; resolutely revoking business licenses of companies that deliberately commit violations to this effect.
Among four tourism investment projects in Bac Giang province, the largest is the 497.29-ha amusement, ecological residence, sport and entertainment complex in Luc Ngan district. The project has a synchronous and modern design with a system of international standard golf courses, hotels, luxury villas and 5-star facilities.
Fourth, effective use of natural resources, environmental protection, proactive response to climate change. Publicizing land-use plans to enable public supervision of land use when investment projects are carried out; heightening supervision of mining companies and applying strict penalties on violating entities; intensifying forest protection and development linked to nature conservation and poverty reduction; improving forest quality, afforestation and forest regeneration.
Fifth, strengthening local cooperation, expanding international cooperation, upholding roles of the Fatherland Front and mass organizations; stepping up information and communications to build consensus in implementation; raising cooperation quality and outcome with investment projects, traveler tours, production chains and supply chains based on mutual interests of related localities; enhancing publicity, transparency of information on issues of social interest.