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Tien Giang is determined to improve its investment environment and enhance provincial competitiveness index (PCI)

Le Van Huong

Deputy Secretary of Party Committee - Chairman of People's Committee of Tien Giang Province

After 10 years of investigation and evaluation of the PCI of VCCI, Tien Giang has conducted detailed research and analysis on component indices, especially ones, at which the province's scores are still low and have gone down through years, and proposed specific solutions to improve the PCI. In fact, the results showed the situation has not significantly been improved. The score has dropped from 2010 to 2014. In 2015, it increased by 1.63 points compared to 2014; and provincial PCI was ranked 49th/63 provinces and cities, which went up 3 ranks compared to 2014 and belonged to the average group. There were 4 indices whose scores increased: fair competitiveness (increasing by 58 ranks), proactivity (by 13 ranks), labor training (by 13 ranks) and legal institutions (by 3 ranks). Besides, 6 indices whose scores decreased were market entry cost for new firms (decreasing by 24 ranks), land access (by 24 ranks), transparency (by 9 ranks), time cost (by 03 ranks), unofficial charges (by 6 ranks) and business support (by 9 ranks).

Tien Giang considers PCI as an important tool to evaluate the business environment, the management quality of local government based on objective evaluation from business community. On this basis, local government could see their limitation in their management and business environment improvement and figure out solutions to improve weaknesses and enhance strengths. All of them help create an increasingly favorable and transparent environment of investment and business and win enterprises' trust.

With a strong desire to improve the PCI in 2016 and the following years, initially, provincial People's Committee has focused on directing the implementation of action programs and measures as follows:

Firstly, the People's Committee issued Plan No.122/KH-UBND dated June 5th, 2015 implementing Resolution No.19/NQ-CP on key tasks and measures to continue to improve business environment and enhance competitiveness within 2015-2016. Specifically, the Plan sets main goals and assigns detailed tasks and implementation time to each government agency and locality in the province in order to improve provincial business environment and competitiveness. They must propose their specific tasks and measures based on the Plan. Besides, they have to evaluate their performance in each quarter in a report and submit it to Department of Planning and Investment which will gather reports from different agencies and localities and report to the People's Committee for review and guidance.

Secondly, the People's Committee coordinated with VCCI - Can Tho Branch to organize 02 workshops: (i) Evaluating the 2014 PCI of Tien Giang Province (held in September 2015) and (ii) Working out Solutions to Improve the 2016 PCI of Tien Giang Province (held in March 2016). The participants in these workshops included State management agencies, scientists, researchers and business community whose operation is in the province. In the second workshop, the province in collaboration with Can Tho VCCI carried out a survey of provincial business environment among enterprises in the province and asked them to propose solutions to improve the environment. Based on the survey result, recommendations of experts and enterprises and action plans of state management agencies and localities, solutions were proposed and discussed for the target of administrative procedure reform, clean and clear business environment, which met the most legitimate demands of enterprises.

Through these workshops, Provincial People's Committee has directed governmental agencies and localities to fully collect opinions and suggestions of enterprises to immediately improve their units and activities which have not met legitimate demands as well as satisfaction of enterprises, and review their action plans to make appropriate amendments according to their suggestions. Besides, the enterprises are kindly requested to continue to cooperate with local government and offer suggestions in the administrative reform process so that the province could well perform its management  and meet the requirements of enterprises, all of which aim for provincial development. Concurrently, Provincial People's Committee has assigned Provincial Business Association to act as a representative agency which receives and synthetizes opinions of enterprises related to the Action Plan to improve the 2016 PCI. Government agencies and localities review and amend their action plans to complete the Action Plan of 2016 PCI improvement of Tien Giang. Provincial People's Committee will consider, promulgate and implement it in April 2016.

In 2016, the targets are to upgrade Tien Giang PCI to above average rank and belong to moderately good group, have no indices whose score is under 5 and continue to maintain and improve the scores of indices achieved in 2015. To achieve these targets, apart from tasks and solutions outlined in the action plan, the province is focusing on some specific measures as follows:

Firstly, Provincial People's Committee, government agencies and localities strengthen and diversify their meeting with investors and enterprises and promptly solve their difficulties and problems. From early 2016, Provincial People's Committee has held many meetings with enterprises or visited them to timely solve their difficulties and obstacles or listen to their desires and suggestions. Standing members of the People's Committee (1 Chairman and 3 Vice Chairmen) are assigned to spend 1 day per week to meet investors and enterprises (it is announced on mass media so that investors and businesses can know about it). Moreover, government agencies related to enterprise activities have to assign one leader who is in charge of meeting with enterprises and enterprise development activities. Besides, Chairman of People's Committee has directly worked with provincial Business Association to provide support to strengthen and consolidate its apparatus and improve its activities so that it can be a bridge connecting business community and provincial government. As proposed by the Association since 2016, Chairman of Provincial People's Committee will be its honorary Chairman.

Secondly, it is to focus on steering the reform of administrative procedures, especially in the fields of business registration, investment, land, tax, environment and construction, etc. Apart from strictly complying with the 2014 Investment Law, 2014 Enterprise Law, Land Law and Construction Law, etc. Unnecessary paperwork will be reviewed and eliminated. One-stop-shop mechanism will be implemented, etc. Moreover, roles and responsibilities of state management agencies will be enhanced, time for administrative procedure especially, those related to investment, land and environment will be shortened. Since the beginning of this year, Provincial People's Committee has directed Department of Planning and Investment and Provincial Management Board of Industrial Zones to reform administrative procedures, shorten procedure time and solve difficulties in granting procedure for decision of investment approval and certificate of investment registration. Correspondingly, granting procedure for investment approval decision for projects outside industrial zones will be shortened from 35 days (according to the Investment Law) to 20 days and 09 days for those inside the zone, etc. Checking and enhancing professional ethics of civil servants in their activities especially those related to enterprises and investors is considered specially important. Hotline for, enterprises to promptly report situations of inappropriate behavior of civil servants, is established.

The application of information technology in handling administrative procedures is strengthened. Online one-stop-shop services and office are constructed. The quality of Websites of the province, government agencies and localities, etc. is also improved.

Thirdly, it is to improve information provision to enterprises and residents. Information in terms of planning of socio-economic development of the province, districts, towns and city, sector development planning, planning of land use and urban construction, land area in industrial zones and clusters and incentive policies for investment, etc. are promulgated on mass media, especially the websites of the province, government agencies and localities. New policies related to enterprises and local people are timely provided.

The list of projects calling for investment needs to be reviewed to ensure that those on the list have specific location, available land (they must be in land use planning in 2016), complete planning information, exact area, land map and incentive policies for investment. They are all publicized on electronic tender system, and websites of Provincial People's Committee, government agencies and People's Committee of districts, towns and city.

Fourthly, it is to focus and create favorable conditions for the development of enterprises supporting and developing services. Center for Development Consultancy and Enterprise Support (under the Department of Planning and Investment) will be established. The apparatus and operation of Investment Trading Tourism Promotion Center will be consolidated to provide public services and act as a comprehensive focal supporting agency for business from their beginning stage of finding information about the project to their thorough operation stage. For example, they help provide data to evaluate the investment effectiveness, implement investment and business procedures, procedures of land, environment and construction, provide consultancy in terms of tax, social insurance and human resources and provide training for workers, etc.

Fifthly, it is to do research to make a scheme of provincial enterprise development to 2020 and following periods. The Provincial People's Committee has assigned Department of Planning and Investment to be mainly responsible and coordinate with related agencies for making the scheme aiming to create a larger and larger enterprise community which has high competitiveness and meets integration requirements. Notably in the scheme, building strong business environment is very important.

Sixthly, it is to complete and effectively implement incentive policies for investment in the province.

Tien Giang welcomes all enterprises and individuals to participate in provincial socio-economy development. The Provincial People's Committee is committed to implementing incentive policies for investment in accordance with the Investment Law, Information Technology Law, Technical Transfer Law, High Technology Law, Land Law, Enterprise Income Tax Law, Export and Import Tax Law and other related laws on tax, incentives and support for investment. Apart from general policies, Provincial People's Committee has some particular incentive policies for investment in the province as follows:

Popularization policy: the Provincial People's Committee issued Decision No.19/2015/QD-UBND dated June 1st, 2015 on popularization policies for activities in the fields of education, vocational training, health, culture, sports, environment and judicial expertise in the province. Compared with the regulations of central government, provincial policies provide more incentives for investors. Specifically, investors can lease infrastructure facilities and other available popularization infrastructure facilities with a preferential rent. They are considered to take out a loan with preferential interest by Provincial Development Investment Fund. Besides, they will be provided with support for their investment in infrastructure facilities once after their project goes into operation 01 years. Support amount depends on each type of project, notably the maximum amount is VND15 billion. Investors are exempted from land rent in 15 years if their socialization projects are conducted in wards of My Tho City, 20 years in communes in My Tho City and wards in towns, 25 years, in communes in towns and townships, the whole project's lifetime in communes in districts, etc.

Incentive policies for investment in agriculture and rural areas: the Provincial People's Council has adopted Resolution on Supporting Fund for these activities in the province in the period of 2016 - 2020 at the session of December 2015. The province is committed to fully implementing incentive policies for enterprises investing in agriculture and rural areas in accordance with Decree No.210/2013/ND-CP dated December 19th, 2013 of Vietnam's Government on incentive policies for investment of enterprises in agriculture and rural areas, etc.

Apart from the incentive policies mentioned above, Department of Planning and Investment is assigned by Provincial People's Committee to be mainly responsible and coordinate with related agencies and localities for doing research of provincial general incentive policies which will be issued in the second quarter of 2016.

L.V.H

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