Bac Lieu - Bright Spot in Regional Development Picture

10:32:30 AM | 28/7/2020

This information was revealed by Mr. Duong Thanh Trung, Chairman of Bac Lieu Provincial People’s Committee, to Vietnam Business Forum’s reporter about local socioeconomic development in recent years. Socioeconomic development and investment attraction produced positive results, gradually making Bac Lieu a “bright spot” in the overall picture of the Mekong Delta region. Quoc Hung reports.

Could you tell us about the recent socioeconomic development of Bac Lieu province?

In the context of the changing global and domestic economy that greatly affects the achievement of socioeconomic targets, with the leadership of the Central Government and the Provincial Party Committee together with the unanimous and strenuous efforts of all levels of government, sectors, businesses and people, Bac Lieu province managed to overcome difficulties and challenges, capture all good opportunities by utilizing local potential and advantages, and has boosted comprehensive socioeconomic development. The economic growth is higher year after year (5.38% in 2016; 6.5% in 2017; 8.36% in 2018; and 10.61% in 2019). All 21 key indicators were fulfilled in 2019 as per the Resolution of the Provincial People's Council. The gross regional domestic product (GRDP) reached VND28,979.49 billion in the year, up 10.61% over 2018, higher than the target of 8.5-9% set by the Provincial People’s Council, highest in the current term, second highest in the Mekong Delta). Per capita GRDP was estimated at VND51.09 million, up 16.9% from a year ago.

The gross regional domestic product (GRDP) reached VND28,979.49 billion in the year, up 10.61% over 2018, higher than the target of 8.5-9% set by the Provincial People’s Council, highest in the current term, and second highest in the Mekong Delta. Per capita GRDP was estimated at VND51.09 million, up 16.9% from a year ago.

At the same time, cultural and social fields were focused on along with economic development. People's lives continued to be significantly improved. Poverty reduction and social security was maintained. The province assigned provincial and district agencies and mobilized enterprises to support poor households. Estimates at the end of 2019 put the poverty rate at 1.45% (second low in the Mekong Delta). Defense and security was strengthened; social order and safety was maintained.

These results made Bac Lieu a “bright spot” in socioeconomic development, domestic and foreign investment attraction in the Mekong Delta region.

Could you please tell us more clearly about the "bright spot" you just mentioned?

The province has organized a lot of investment promotions, for example successful meetings with many businesses and investors in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Thus, the total social investment fund rose 27.01% to VND22,925 billion; the export value climbed 16.5% to US$705.8 million; total retail sales of goods and services rose 22.7% to VND66,000 billion. The local investment and business environment continued to be improved. Many development investment resources were mobilized, especially private investment. The investment fund for projects increased. Ground clearance was accelerated. Many key and motivational projects were launched, focusing on clean energy and renewable energy. The 99.2-MW Bac Lieu Wind Power Plant is operating stably, expected to generate over 1.1 billion kWh of electricity by the end of 2020. The province already carried out four wind power projects with a total capacity of 292 MW (Dong Hai 1, Dong Hai 2, Hoa Binh 1 and Bac Lieu - Phase 3). Essential infrastructure, especially in rural areas, was invested. 47 out of 49 communes have concrete roads to their administrative centers, and 36 out of 49 communes achieved all 19 new rural development criteria, accounting for 73.46% of total communes, and beating the target set by the Resolution of the 15th Provincial Party Congress.

Tourism continued to be developed to become an important economic sector. In 2019, Bac Lieu province successfully organized Bac Lieu Culture - Tourism Week 2019, attached to the 100th composition anniversary of Da Co Hoai Lang song and the 100th construction anniversary of Bac Lieu Dude mansion (including more than 15 activities engaged by 19 provinces and cities, particularly the event “Meeting of Heritages” that gathered six intangible cultural heritages of Vietnam recognized by UNESCO). Bac Lieu continued to lead the Mekong Delta region in tourist destinations (with nine out of 42 destinations).

In the context of economic and political turmoil in the world and the complicated evolution of the COVID-19 epidemic, what are the causes and motivations for Bac Lieu province to achieve the above results?

There are five factors behind those achievements:

First of all, the province inherited experiences and achievements of previous years and aroused great aspirations, consensus, determination, resolution and actions of the Party, the government, the army and the people in the province. The leadership, direction and administration of the Provincial Party Committee is very clear. Right from the beginning of the year, the Provincial Party Committee defined 2019 as a “banner year”, a premise for the province to “finish” in 2020 that decided the success or failure of objectives and tasks set forth for the whole term. Thus, the province requested authorities of all levels and branches and localities to focus on implementation of annual tasks and plans at their highest responsibility and resolution.

Secondly, the province identified and promoted right potential and strengths to create development opportunities; and rationally selected prioritized resources to focus on opportunistic factors for development.

Thirdly, the succession of achievements and experiences of previous years in direction, leadership, management, and administration made the work more advanced, more flexible and more appropriate.

Fourthly, all levels and branches of authority had better coordination of carrying out tasks. The discipline and responsibility of the administrative apparatus and public employees at all levels and branches was strictly implemented. Localities actively promoted their role and responsibility.

The final factor is the attention and guidance of the Central Party, the National Assembly, the Government, the Prime Minister and central ministries and agencies; the participation of the business community and the unanimity and determination of all strata of the province.

In addition, in the past time, the Provincial Party Committee and the Provincial People's Committee paid much attention to cooperation with many provinces, cities, institutes, schools and major partners throughout the country. Through this cooperation, aiming at specific objectives: Establishing mechanisms to create a common voice and promote the advantages of the region, the sub-region and each locality; cooperating with Ho Chi Minh City in tourism development to unlock local tourism potential and abundant tourism space between the Mekong Delta and Ho Chi Minh City; signing a cooperation agreement with the Vietnam National University of Ho Chi Minh City to improve the quality of human resource training and scientific research to meet the province's socioeconomic development requirements; and cooperating with large businesses and economic groups to draw investment capital to invest in and develop five pillar fields that the province defined.

The economy, market and natural disasters are complicatedly evolving. What solutions does Bac Lieu province take to overcome these challenges?

To accelerate and sustain the province’s economic development in the coming time, the Provincial People’s Committee proposed the following main solutions:

- Carrying out the scheme on agricultural restructuring, with a focus placed on shrimp value chains; speeding up and completing the high-tech agriculture project for shrimp farming development; building the project “Making Bac Lieu a shrimp industry center of the nation”; accelerating the fishery development policy; consolidating the large-capacity offshore fishing fleet, investing in modern equipment; building and developing more large fields and contracting product consumption.

- Focus on developing local potential industries and strengths, especially renewable energy sources (wind power and solar power) and LNG Bac Lieu LNG thermoelectricity.

- Improving the quality of modern, distinctive tourism products, making the most of tourism resources and products that make the name of Bac Lieu tourism; speeding up communications and introduction of tourist destinations, tourism development potential on the mass media; well implementing tourism development cooperation programs signed between Bac Lieu and 30 provinces and cities across the country; promoting training of tourism human resources; and constantly improving the professionalism of tourism services.

- Fostering the information technology application to operation and settlement of administrative procedures, delivery of online public services of Level 3 and Level 4; diversifying public and transparent channels of administrative procedures, processes, regulations for the easiest access by businesses and individuals; further reviewing and streamlining the handling process, reducing the time for implementation of administrative procedures, especially procedures relating to investment, construction and land.

- Improving the quality and efficiency of investment attraction; facilitating investors to launch their projects soon; promptly removing difficulties and obstacles in production and business; facilitating business development, especially private sector, foreign-invested enterprises, collective economy and cooperatives, ensuring fair competition; supporting business households (e.g. documents and fees) to upgrade to corporate entities.

- Fully and timely carrying out regimes and policies for people with meritorious services and contributions, policy families and socially supported people; synchronously and effectively carrying out the National Target Program on sustainable poverty reduction and poverty reduction policies to improve the living conditions of the poor; assisting the poor to access basic social services; effectively implementing employment programs; income policies and insurance policies for workers; promoting vocational training, and developing human resources to create employment opportunities for workers.

Source: Vietnam Business Forum