Bac Giang City Proceeding toward Modernization

4:09:00 PM | 29/9/2005

Bac Giang Town previously belonged to Kinh Bac Town, an ancient cultural-economic center. This had once been Lang Giang Prefect (Xuong Giang Citadel, Chau Xuyen Citadel), Bao Loc District Capital (Tho Xuong Citadel), Phuong Nhon District Capital (Dinh Ke Citadel), a key military strategic area.
Under French colonial rule, the Lang Thuong Prefect was formed in the Spring of 1884. On October 10, 1895, together with the establishment of the province, Lang Thuong Prefect was renamed as Bac Giang Province. In 1959, Lang Thuong Prefect became Bac Giang Township. In 2003, Bac Giang Township was recognized as a third-level urban area and in 2005, it received the second-ranked Labor Medal from the State President. The government has decided to set up Bac Giang City which will operate under Bac Giang province’s authorities.
The city, with the Thuong River running through it, has a total natural area of 3,221 hectares and a population of 127,000 people. Being a big human resource training center, Bac Giang now has 93 people holding Ph.D, M.A and post-graduate degrees, 4,714 university graduates, over 6,300 vocational high school graduates and over 5,800 technicians.
The city has seen comprehensive development over the past few years. It posted an economic growth of 14.16 percent in 2004 and a drastic shift in local economic structure in which industry-construction represents 38.09 percent, trade and services 59.9 percent and agriculture 2.01 percent.
The establishment of Bac Giang City has marked an important step for the former Bac Giang Township, meeting the increasingly high socio-economic demands of the province. However, building Bac Giang into a civilized and modern city is not expected to be an easy task. Secretary of the Bac Giang City’s Party Committee Ngo Trong Vinh has raised seven questions:
Firstly, how to help the City promote its function as a provincial center, concentrating the Party and State bodies, socio-political organizations, the mass media, and both local and foreign representative offices of economic organizations. 
Secondly, the city must do well and assert itself as a specialty center at regional level since it has many typical industries.
Thirdly, the city must be built into a motive force in socio-economic development and national defense. It targets an average GDP growth of 15-17 percent in 2005-2010 period, and per capita income increasing 1.5 fold by 2010. The city will continue its economic structure shifting to industrialization of which trade-services-tourism will make up 58.5 percent, small industry and handicrafts 40 percent, and agriculture-fishery 1.5 percent. 
Next comes the acceleration of the implementation of infrastructure projects.
Fifthly, the city planning by 2010 and 2020 should be developed synchronously, ensuring the conformability with the nature and function of an urban area.
Sixthly, there should be proper policy and measures in place to create financial sources for urban development.
Finally, officials should be improved in the city management capability. 
These seven tasks are all equally important. However, Dr. Khong Duc Thiem of the Ho Chi Minh National Politics Institute at a recent seminar on Bac Giang: The Past, the Present and the Future said the first necessary step is to complete the re-planning of the city.
“To do so, lets make the urban plans clearer and more orderly. Streets and houses should be standardized so as the locals always feel intimate with the city,” Thiem said. All offices, trade and service centers, even the tenements must obey common regulations in terms of architecture, shape and structure.
Creating investment sources for the development of the city is also essential. According to Vinh, apart from taking advantage of the financial support from the central and provincial level, the city needs to effectively employ money sources from the land fund to focus on urban development projects as well as call for ODA flow to projects on water supply and waste disposal. The city authorities should also pay more heed to improving the investment environment, working out proper trade promotion measures so as to appeal both local and foreign investors to infrastructural projects in the forms of BOT, BT and FDL.
Bac Giang will become a modern city, a link between Hanoi and northern Lang Son province, only when it receives the enthusiast support and cooperation from the State, relevant branches and organizations, the public and most importantly, enterprises, Vinh stressed.
Hoang Thiep