The southern province of Dong Thap ranked number one in the Vietnam Provincial Competitiveness Index ( PCI) 2012, the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the US Agency International Development project, the Vietnam Competitiveness Initiative (USAID/VNCI), reported on March 14.

There were a few surprises in the report. In particular, the southern province of An Giang moved up to the second position from the 19 th spot in 2011, and the northern province of Dien Bien dropped to the bottom of the ranking from the 29 th position in 2011.

Speaking at the release ceremony, VCCI Chairman Vu Tien Loc said the PCI provided critical information on 63 provinces’ business climate for policymakers and investors, fostering change and reform towards a public and equal business environment.

Enterprises surveyed in the report were pessimistic about business prospects, only 33 percent plan to expand their business operations in the next two years, added Loc.

PCI 2012 shows the efforts of several provinces and cities (Binh Dinh, Vinh Long, Kien Giang, Bac Lieu and Ho Chi Minh City) to improve their economic governance in administrative reform to narrow the development gap between them and 2011’s high-ranking provinces, said Acting Head of the VCCI’s Legal Department Dau Anh Tuan.

Measuring economic governance and the business environment across the country’s provinces and cities, the 2012 PCI is the eighth annual report surveying over 8,000 domestic enterprises and 1,500 foreign-invested firms.-VNA