Re-established in 1997 with agriculture dominating the economy, Bac Kan province has gradually made important progress in socioeconomic life, improved people’s livelihoods, and bettered the investment and business climate. Vietnam Business Forum interviewed Mr Ly Thai Hai, Chairman of Provincial People’s Committee, on the province’s development, investment attraction and competitiveness. Tran Ngoc reports.How do assess the strengths and potential of Bac Kan province?
Situated near the northern key economic zone, Bac Kan province has a relatively good infrastructure system, a healthy social environment, and a lot of advantages for the development of tourism, industry, agriculture and forestry in association with mineral processing and construction material industries. Like other localities in the country, Bac Kan is entering a new era of industrialisation and modernisation. By promoting its achievements and experience gained over the past time and introducing attractive investment incentives plus development potential, Bac Kan will be a favourable environmental for many domestic and international investors.
The biggest potential of Bac Kan is forest land, agricultural land and agro-forestry production. Forest coverage reaches 95.3 percent of the area, the highest in the Northwest.
With the top reserve of ferrous metal ores in Vietnam, Bac Kan province promises to be a destination for big mining companies. The province also has a lot of resources for manufacturing construction materials like cement, paving stones and granite.
In addition, Bac Kan has very famous Ba Be Lake and a lot of historic sites like wartime Cho Don Safety Zone. Natural beauty and mountain landscape remain untouched and this is a great potential for tourism development.
How has Bac Kan province’s investment attraction been in recent years? Are those results corresponding to the local potential?
In the past years, Bac Kan has spared no efforts to attract many investment projects. In extractive industry, the province now has three zinc and lead production projects. Two operational projects are the lead refining plant with an annual output of 5,000 tonnes in Cho Don district invested by Bac Kan Mineral Joint Stock Company and Ngan Son lead and zinc refining plant with a yearly output of 5,000 tonnes in Ngan Son district invested by Na Ri Hamico Minerals Joint Stock Corporation and one ongoing project is the Bac Kan zinc and lead electrolysis plant in Cho Don district invested by Ngoc Linh Co., Ltd. Regarding steel production, the province plans to allocate entire iron ores to the metallurgy facility of Material and Complete Equipment Export-Import Corporation (Matexim) with an annual output of 100,000 tonnes of sponge iron and the iron and steel complex of Kim Son Mineral and Steel Joint Stock Company in Thanh Binh Industrial Park (one cast-iron plant with a yearly output of 250,000 tonnes, a smelter of iron and slag rich in manganese with a yearly designed capacity of 60,000 tonnes of cast-iron and 110,000 tonnes of manganese-rich slag). In agriculture and forestry, the province has also attracted some big projects like a plywood factory with a yearly capacity of 10,000 cubic metres of products, a MDF factory with an annual capacity of 108,000 cubic metres invested by SAHABAK Corporation.
From 2010 to 2013, Bac Kan province attracted around 10 projects a year. Notably, it licensed 16 projects in 2012. As of December 31, 2014, the province had attracted 91 domestic investment projects capitalised at VND10,248.8 billion and had 931 operational companies with a total registered capital of VND6,358 billion.
These projects have helped increase State budget revenue and improved incomes of local people but the results are incommensurate with local advantages and potential.
Would you mind telling us the policies and measures Bac Kan province will take to enhance the business environment and sharpen competitiveness?
Bettering the business environment and sharpening competitive edge is regarded as one of the top priorities of Bac Kan province today. In May 2014, the Bac Kan Provincial People’s Committee issued Plan 141/KH-UBND on actions to improve the business environment and enhance the competitiveness of Bac Kan province.
In the coming time, Bac Kan will actively apply information technology to administrative reform to better serve citizens and businesses. The website of investment promotion (www.dautubackan.com), the provincial informational portal (www.backan.gov.vn) and websites of provincial departments, districts and towns will be operated more scientifically and sufficiently. The operating capacity of Natural Resources and Environment Information Technology Centre will be raised to better serve the province’s requirements.
In the coming time, the province advocates speeding up the construction of industrial zones. According to the Bac Kan industrial zone development plan in the 2010 – 2025 period, the province will have 21 industrial complexes with a total investment capital of more than VND3,500 billion. In the 2011 – 2015 period, it has established seven industrial complexes, costing VND1,194 billion to build their infrastructure items.
Dak Lak province will continue to promote the 3PAD project (Pro-poor Patnerships for Agro-forestry Development Project) and Agro-forestry Investment Promotion Fund (APIF). With appropriate and practical incentives and policies, APIF is an effective support mechanism and an open opportunity for businesses with the intention of investing agriculture, forestry and tourism in Bac Kan province.
To attract investors in the coming time, Bac Kan will continue to renovate its investment promotion methods; focus on really enthusiastic and capable investors; speed up current ODA projects and attract new ones to have more resources for poverty reduction, community capacity building and socioeconomic development; introduce and facilitate FDI projects into locally advantageous fields, expand cooperation ties with nongovernment organisations (NGOs) to seek more finances for local development; and implement the Decree No. 210/2013/ND-CP of the Government dated December 19, 2013 on preference policies for investors of agriculture and rural development.
Son La province will host the Northwest Investment Promotion and Social Security meeting and honour outstanding businesses in 2015. What will this event mean to Bac Kan?
This is a big event, which is extremely important for Northwest provinces in general. This is an opportunity for them to introduce their local potential and advantages, and access key projects, mechanisms and sector incentives. I hope that, through this meeting, domestic and international businesses, donors and organisations will actively share and join forces to reduce difficulties facing Northwest provinces.
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