With abundant potential and available advantages, plus the ongoing efforts of all tiers of authorities to improve the business environment, Lao Cai province has obtained many important achievements in socioeconomic development, thus not only laying the groundwork for accelerated development in the next period but also creating a driving force for Northwest economic development. To find out more information, our reporter has an exclusive interview with Mr. Trinh Xuan Truong, Chairman of Lao Cai Provincial People's Committee. Ngo Khuyen reports.
Lao Cai province is promoting its potential, strengths and introducing its incentive mechanisms and policies to attract investment. Could you please briefly describe local potential, comparative advantages and remarkable incentives?
Lao Cai province has an advantageous geographical location and an important political position, plays a central role on the Kunming - Lao Cai - Hanoi - Hai Phong - Quang Ninh Economic Corridor, and acts as a bridge and gateway for not only Vietnam but also ASEAN countries to reach Chinese Yunnan and southwestern markets. The province has a good regional and international transport infrastructure system comprised of expressways, railways, waterways and future airways. Lao Cai Border Gate Economic Zone, covering nearly 16,000 ha, has relatively complete infrastructure and services, and is one of nine key border gate economic zones invested by the Government. Sa Pa National Tourist Area is featured with unique cultural identity, a majestic landscape, pleasant weather all year round. Lao Cai has numerous strengths for industrial development as it is rich in many mineral types with large reserves such as apatite, iron and copper. It is also home to many large-scale modern metallurgical, fertilizer and chemical production plants.
Aiming to build Lao Cai City into a first-class urban area, Sa Pa into a world-class tourist destination and a city in the clouds, Lao Cai Border Gate Economic Zone into a national logistics center and Lao Cai province into a developed province of the Northern Midlands and Mountains region, with the support of the Government and particularly the close direction of the Prime Minister, Lao Cai province has carried out and achieved important prerequisites for future development as below.
First, on development planning and strategy: In 2016, the Prime Minister approved the development master plan for Sa Pa National Tourist Area. In 2017, he ratified the recognition of Sa Pa National Tourist Area. In 2018, he endorsed the construction master plan for Lao Cai Border Gate Economic Zone to 2040, with a vision to 2050. At the same time, the Prime Minister approved the policy on building Lao Cai City into a freight transshipment hub along the economic corridor, a center of economy, trade, foreign affairs and international cooperation; and building Sa Pa Town and Sa Pa Urban Center into a national and international tourist destination. Currently, all these development plans and strategies are being developed in detail by Lao Cai and synchronously implemented.
Second, on infrastructure investment: A series of large projects are being studied, planned and executed, including 4C-grade Sa Pa Airport capable of serving 3 million passengers a year, a road linking Hanoi - Lao Cai Expressway to Sa Pa Town, upgraded National Highway 279 linking Lao Cai to Lai Chau and Ha Giang; Lao Cai - Hanoi - Hai Phong high-speed railway, a logistics center in Lao Cai Border Gate Economic Zone, and urban and tourism development projects in Lao Cai City, Sa Pa Town and Y Ty.
Third, positive socioeconomic development results: The province’s GRDP growth is always above 10%; the regional average income has risen to the national average; the economic structure has changed positively; budget revenue has kept rising over the years, with domestic budget revenue accounting for 70%; import and export value grew by an average of nearly 20% a year; tourism revenue has kept expanding by over 20% a year; high-tech agriculture and forestry has been expanded; the average poverty rate has kept falling by 5.17%; the number of communes qualifying as new rural areas has exceeded the set plan. The performance of administrative reform and business climate improvement is always ranked high relative to other provinces and cities in the country, with its PCI Index, ICT Index and PAPI Index ranked relatively high. The material and cultural life of the people has been continuously raised.
The above achievements have created a driving force for development of not only Lao Cai but also the Northwest region and expanded the regional connectivity.
The 2020 Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) of Lao Cai province climbed 9 places over 2019. Lao Cai province also set a target of getting over 72 PCI points in 2021 to be among good performers in the country. How do you think about the performance in 2020 and the prospects in 2021? How will Lao Cai strive to increase its PCI score and rankings in the coming years?
According to PCI data released by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) in the past 15 years, Lao Cai once ranked first (in 2011) and stood among Top 5 and Top 10 many times, but it also lost standing for some times, as to No. 17 in 2013 and No. 25 in 2019. However, on a narrower scale, Lao Cai always leads the Northwest region and usually ranks first and second in PCI rankings in this mountainous region.
In 2020, in addition to its focus on Covid-19 epidemic control, Lao Cai province introduced many solutions for socioeconomic development, of which its top priorities were placed on business development and investment climate improvement. Thus, its 9-place climbing on the PCI standing proved the endeavor of the Party and the government of Lao Cai province in the past year with a lot of creative and consistent solutions such as debt rescheduling, interest rate cut, tax and fee reduction and exemption, accelerated administrative reform, stronger investment attraction, and effective business meetings.
The province will ensure a safe and healthy investment and business environment; maintain social safety and order for businesses, enabling them to expand business operations; develop business support schemes and facilitate them to have regular dialogues with top leaders to seek solutions to their emerging problems in a quickest manner. Lao Cai province will soon launch software to receive information and recommendations of businesses, in order to support them and solve their difficulties timely. In 2021 - 2025, Lao Cai will strive to have its PCI rankings stand in the Top 10 in the country and apply District and Department Competitiveness Index (DDCI) to provincial agencies and districts.
In order to develop the image of a dynamic and innovative Lao Cai, what messages or commitments would you like to deliver to partners and investors?
Lao Cai province always strongly supports enterprises to make investment and do business in the locality, always places the interests of investors atop, especially those that use advanced technology, generate a lot of jobs, pay high salaries and pay a lot of taxes.
|Lao Cai province offers the highest investment incentives in the framework to investors who need to fulfill their least obligations in the regulatory framework.|
In the coming time, in addition to infrastructure development and modernization, the province will invite domestic and foreign strategic investors to optimize local advantages and turn trade and tourism into leading economic sectors.
Furthermore, being strong in minerals and border economy, Lao Cai province is expanding border gate economic zone and industrial zones to welcome international industrial, processing, manufacturing and energy investors.
Additionally, agriculture, forestry and fishery are also priorities for large investors seeking effective, sustainable and environment-friendly business in the province. Lao Cai is committed to complying with current regulations and offering highest incentives to investors and always respectfully welcomes domestic and foreign investors seeking to do business in the locality.
The success, prosperity and growth of enterprises is the very development of Lao Cai!
Thank you very much!
Source: Vietnam Business Forum