Dong Thap shines in PCI tally

April 19, 2021 | 17:04
The Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap has maintained its second position in the Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) ranking 2020, doing so for the fifth time. To mark the achievement, Pham Thien Nghia, Chairman of Dong Thap People’s Committee, lifted the curtain on the province’s recent efforts to improve the local investment and business environment.

The PCI has just been released by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry in tandem with the US International Development Agency. How would you evaluate its findings for 2020?

dong thap shines in pci tally
Pham Thien Nghia, Chairman of Dong Thap People’s Committee

This is quite good news as once again Dong Thap have received appreciation from the business community, helping the province to maintain its progress and carve out a spot among the group of localities with the best economic governance quality in the national tally. This is a valued reward for provincial management authorities.

Undergoing more than 15 years of engagement with the PCI, Dong Thap holds high esteem for the initiative which provides a driving force for the leadership of localities to accelerate the pace of reform and identify shortcomings in management in their localities, based on which suitable solutions can be prepared to beef up local development.

The PCI’s largest contribution, in my view, is not the score or the ranking of the localities, but the smart models that have been found and the practical lessons being shared, helping to shorten the gap in terms of the committed efforts of local governments and expectations from people and businesses. These are valued lessons as well as the practical base for our management.

Dong Thap’s high PCI ranking over many consecutive years has helped to spread the image of an evolving province among investors and those looking for opportunities.

Helping businesses to weather the storm of the ongoing pandemic is an effective way to improve the local investment and business climate. How has the province supported them to overcome the difficulties?

Aside from taking drastic measures to quickly implement government support packages and tackle labour issues, provincial leaders have had direct meetings with businesses, listening to their problems and paying due regards to business startups in diverse districts, towns, and industrial parks and clusters. This is a step forward for the so-called “business coffee” model.

Simultaneously, Dong Thap has taken practical activities to support the local business community for market expansion or improve trust among local consumers nationwide. Along with this, we inaugurated a centre for the introduction and exhibition of specialties and tourism in Hanoi last June to present more than 200 products and startup items from 50 businesses based in the province. We also hosted the Week of Basa fish and specialties of Dong Thap at Big C Thang Long in Hanoi last August.

The stalls brimmed with Dong Thap specialties and received specific positions at big trade centres in Ho Chi Minh City like GIGA mall, Big C, AEON, and CoopMart. Business clubs and Dong Thap specialty cooperatives then sprung up in diverse locations in the province to support business development.

This has bolstered the trust of people and businesses, encouraging them to land new investment and business ventures despite difficult times. Last year, 610 new business setups were reported with more than $178 million in the total committed capital, setting a record in the number of new business setups.

In addition, Dong Thap has pushed up administrative reforms via fresh models and initiatives in order to boost reform efficiency, more effectively serving people and businesses.

dong thap shines in pci tally
Pham Thien Nghia, Chairman of Dong Thap People’s Committee (standing), communicates with businesses at a “business coffee” event at Song Hau Industrial Park in Lai Vung district, Photo: Van Khuong

Would you shed some light on these new models for administrative reform?

Dong Thap has established multiple channels for direct communication between management agencies and the business communities to provide friendly and effective services. Besides effective models such as business gatherings or farmer associations, the creation of public services information switchboard 1022 at three levels (province, district, and commune) has contributed to quickly settling claims and proposals. This reflects progress in our efforts to build up a pro-business administration.

Under the “Combining online public services and public postal services” model in settling administrative procedures in Dong Thap province, people do not need a physical presence to be able to send their proposals and receive results.

Besides that, to increase people’s comfort there are some set days during which civil servants support the elderly or those with difficulties in completing all the necessary procedures.

Meanwhile, the model under which every stage – from receiving proposals, evaluating, settling, and giving results – should be completed in only eight hours has helped significantly shorten the time to complete business registration procedures. The time for granting investment project certificate has also been slashed by more than half compared to regulations.

These models have played a role in Dong Thap securing second position in the Provincial Governance and Public Administration Performance Index tally in 2020.

dong thap shines in pci tally

What is Dong Thap’s recipe for maintaining such a high PCI ranking over the past 13 years?

Our management has always believed that improving the investment and business environment is a whole process and a constant task, requiring non-stop efforts from the entire political system. We understand that the high PCI score is not that significant if management authorities cannot satisfy business requirements. Therefore, right after the annual PCI announcement ceremony, the province’s leadership engages in analysing the weaknesses and measures to address, and present plans for making improvements to push up investment, create more jobs, and promote development economically and socially.

Looking at the PCI ranking, there remains much space for improvement which requires Dong Thap’s whole political system to make further strides, helping to turn challenges into opportunities, and further spreading the spirit of walking in companionship with businesses to meet expectations of people and businesses. The business community plays an essential role in driving national socioeconomic development. On that journey, we are always doing our utmost to support business development, as their opportunities are also our opportunities.

What the stars mean:

★ Poor ★ ★ Promising ★★★ Good ★★★★ Very good ★★★★★ Exceptional