Prior to the Lang Son Investment Promotion Conference 2019 themed “Lang Son - Successful destination for investors”, Vietnam Business Forum Magazine’s correspondent has an interview with Mr. Hoang Quang Phong, Vice President of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), on the business environment in Lang Son province.
In 2018, Lang Son province’s Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) continued to be improved, climbing three places from the previous standing to No. 50 out of 63 provinces and cities nationwide, scoring 61.70 points. How do you think about this improvement?
According to the 2018 PCI result released by VCCI, Lang Son province scored 61.70 points, three places higher than in 2017 and 05 places higher than in 2016, to rank No. 9 among 14 northern mountainous provinces.
Among 10 component indexes, eight gained, namely market entry (+0.47), access to land (+0.44), informal charge (+1.07), transparency (+0.22), dynamism of provincial government (+1.01), fair competition (+0.1), labor training (+0.13), and legal institutions (+0.76). Two indices slipped, namely time cost (-0.2) and business support services (-0.31).
These results showed that all levels and branches of Lang Son made efforts to address business needs more quickly in the past year. In particular, land access, transparency and governmental performance picked up.
PCI component index performances integrated by VCCI in 2014-2018 showed that some indices grew steadily over time. Could you please tell us more about this?
Among 10 sub-indices: market entry costs, land access and security of tenure, transparency and access to information, time costs and regulatory compliance, informal charges, policy bias, proactivity of provincial leadership, business support services, labor and training, and legal institutions, the overall score increased from 55.05 points in 2014 to 61.7 points in 2018.
Many lowly ranked sub-indies in 2014 have been dramatically improved. Specifically, the informal charge sub-index jumped from only 3.95 points in 2014 to 5.55 points in 2018; the land access and security of tenure sub-index climbed from 4.41 points in 2014 to 6.02 points in 2018; and the proactivity of the governmental leadership sub-index rose from 4.14 to 5.51 points.
This result showed that Lang Son introduced many solutions to improve the effective business and production environment at all levels. One of much-appreciated solutions by the business community is that leaders of all levels and branches often listen to business opinions and hold dialogues to remove difficulties for businesses, while tightening discipline for staff in the performance of public duties.
In 2019, the Lang Son Provincial People’s Committee issued a detailed plan for building a set of competitiveness indicators for provincial departments and district-level governments in a bid to gradually raise the investment and business environment. In your opinion, will this plan make Lang Son's business environment more competitive than before?
To improve the business investment environment and raise the province’s PCI rankings, the Lang Son Provincial People’s Committee issued a specific action plan to elevate 10 PCI component indices, striving to lift its PCI score to 64 points or more in 2019 and reach the group of good performers (ranked No. 38-41). In particular, the province is determined to overcome two declining indices in 2018 - time costs and business support services, to increase the overall index in 2018.
I think this will strongly promote private sector development, support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and especially build trust between the authorities and the business community.
The task of raising the score and ranking of each PCI sub-index is assigned to a coordinating unit responsible for monitoring and working with other units for better overall performance with specific tasks and solutions. Relevant units are responsible for working with the coordinating agency to get their sub-indices better. This helps improve the accountability and responsibility of unit heads in raising PCI component indices.
Notably, the province continues to summarize business recommendations and answer recommendations of provincial and local governmental agencies; advise the Provincial People’s Committee to host regular meetings and dialogues in order to promptly tackle difficulties and obstacles for enterprises; answer and publicize results of handling business recommendations on many information channels; and carry out training courses to improve corporate governance capacity for local enterprises.
Some sectors and fields are also required by the province to have specific action plans. For example, the Department of Industry and Trade strengthens training to disseminate knowledge about integration policies; steps up business assistance to boost trade, seek markets and sell products, especially new markets and export markets. The Department of Science and Technology continues to carry out support plans for developing an innovative startup ecosystem, build a startup support mechanism and promote scientific and technological programs.
These specific actions will significantly change the business environment in Lang Son and greatly support businesses engaged in investment, trade and import and export.
We learned that Lang Son is urgently executing steps to adjust socioeconomic development master plans, planning Dong Dang - Lang Son Border Gate Economic Zone, focusing on three priorities of infrastructure construction, export and import service development, tourism and agriculture service development.
Lang Son is also committed to supporting and facilitating investors to do business in the province by offering tax holiday and land rent reduction; quickly settling documents and procedures for investors; guiding and supporting investors and enterprises to carry out investment registration procedures, especially procedures for supporting enterprises to carry out licensed department. These will be very positive policies and solutions and attract more investors and businesses to Lang Son.
Thank you very much!