No surprises as Quang Ninh triumphs

May 09, 2022 | 11:00
Although rankings of the Provincial Competitiveness Index were kept confidential until an official announcement in April, anyone with even a passing interest was confident that the northeastern province of Quang Ninh would again take top spot, having remained in the position since 2017.
No surprises as Quang Ninh triumphs
Provincial leaders were delighted to be named at the head of the table for the fifth year running

Dau Anh Tuan, director of the Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) programme and head of Department of Legislation under the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, revealed that a research team has been devoting time to studying the top 10 localities in the 2021 PCI in order to find out exactly how the rankings leaders succeed.

Among them, Quang Ninh was analysed for its practical activities and programmes, such as the “5 Real” motto and the Investor Care model, which involves a working group that supports projects using non-budget capital. These schemes, and many more, ensured the province retained top spot for the fifth year in a row.

“It is not easy for businesses to feel the ‘5 Real’ spirit if local authorities don’t actually take action. Being realistic is my answer when they ask how to improve ranking,” Tuan noted.

According to the detailed analysis of the PCI 2021 research team, Quang Ninh’s leaders have proposed “5 Real” to promote honest behaviour among the local authorities and businesses to achieve real results for the province and bring real benefits to people as well as businesses.

The establishment of the Investor Care group is also based on this motto. The authorities at all levels can only remove obstacles if they know the problems related to investment, land, site clearance, and operation procedures.

Public administration service centres at provincial and district levels adopt a working mechanism based on the principles of receiving, appraising, approving, stamping, and returning results.

Thanks to these efforts, Quang Ninh has maintained its leading position in PCI 2021, leading the two sub-indexes of market entry cost (7.98 points), and cost and time for handling administrative procedures (8.25 points).

Overall, Quang Ninh is the only locality with a ‘very good’ score of 73.02, outscoring the other cities and provinces in the top 10 by a wide margin.

No surprises as Quang Ninh triumphs

Building a brand

Even back in 2017 there was no surprise when Quang Ninh first surpassed Danang in the PCI, having ranked second with 65.60 points in the 2016 rankings due to its good governance, dynamics, and creativity of the local authorities.

At the time, Tuan and other PCI experts were excited to share the determination and innovation of Quang Ninh to improve the business environment.

In 2017, Quang Ninh scored points by setting up a fanpage on Facebook. Very few local leaders have taken advantage of social media to share information with the business community because of the possibility of not fully controlling the information. But the initiative helped Quang Ninh address administrative problems in a timely manner, avoiding discontent among the business community.

Quang Ninh has sharply reduced the cost and time for businesses to complete administrative procedures thanks to the Public Administration Service Centre model and the establishment of the Investment Promotion and Support Committee.

The local authorities have also supported monthly Businessmen’s Coffee meetings led by a business association. Many business-related issues have been discussed at such meetings outside of governmental agency headquarters in the hopes of finding solutions.

Furthermore, leaders have hosted annual meetings to evaluate its strengths and weaknesses in the PCI rankings. The meetings saw the obligatory participation of leaders of all levels.

During the first meeting in 2018, Nguyen Van Doc, then Secretary of Quang Ninh Party Committee, said, “The top position represents a brand for Quang Ninh to reaffirm its status with investors and the belief of the business community, yet one lousy civil servant can derail the efforts of the entire province.”

It was also the first year that Quang Ninh adopted the Satisfaction Index of Public Administrative Services to accelerate its administrative reform.

In PCI 2019, Quang Ninh gained the spotlight by applying IT, launching a smart city operation centre to synchronise databases between sectors and levels. The centre not only applies a paperless meeting room model but also digitises data to send and receive documents across levels.

Quang Ninh has placed continuous pressure on each post in its admin system to break its own record in PCI rankings. It achieved 76.09 points for the first time in 2010, making it the only locality to cross the barrier of 75 points, and the highest PCI score since 2010.

The reform journey

After receiving the PCI 2021 medal, Nguyen Xuan Ky, Secretary of Quang Ninh Party Committee, said the result was one of a process of perseverance, effort, continuous persistence, inheritance, innovation, and development to build a government of integrity.

“It is a modern, autonomous, dynamic, efficient method, determined to break through bottlenecks to open up new opportunities for development; and paying due attention to anti-corruption and negative phenomena, especially acts of “petty corruption,” he added.

The province has not only empowered businesses but also measured their satisfaction objectively with questionnaires and surveys on the level of trust in the government apparatus at the grassroots level. It has made constant efforts to build a team of cadres and civil servants with integrity, discipline, commitment and creativity with lean and efficient operation.

“It is the convergence of the cultural identity of the locals who are self-reliant, determined, and aspire to achieve development. Leaders play a leading role in instilling patience and shaping the culture of accompanying investors and businesses,” Secretary Ky added.

“Meanwhile, the spirit of serving people and businesses has become a norm among civil servants. This creates a more open and friendly space for interaction between the authorities and the people, investors, and businesses.”

For the past nine consecutive years, Quang Ninh has been listed in the group of five centrally-run localities with the best quality of economic management in the country. Over the past five years, the local economy has continuously grown at a high and stable rate, at 10.7 per cent in the 2016-2020 period and 9.2 per cent in the 2011-2015 period, higher than the national average.

Secretary Ky said, “The journey to improve the investment environment, administrative reform, and provincial competitiveness has a starting point but no ending point.”

No surprises as Quang Ninh triumphs

Nguyen Xuan Ky-Secretary Quang Ninh Party Committee

The PCI is a reliable channel for Quang Ninh to listen to opinions and feedback from the business community on the quality of economic management and investment environment. It is also the brand of Quang Ninh, the pride of the cadres, civil servants, and public employees.

The PCI results are key driving forces for the province to promote rapid and sustainable development, and the resolution of the 15th Provincial Party Congress identified these to be key goals each year to maintain the leading position in terms of the PCI as well as other key indices.

By Khanh An

What the stars mean:

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