Being a dynamic locality with huge economic development potential, Ba Ria - Vung Tau province has made long and firm strides in the industrialisation and modernisation process.

Vice Chairman of the Provincial People's Committee Ho Van Nien said current successes are the very motivations for Ba Ria - Vung Tau to keep moving on the road ahead towards the target of building and developing Ba Ria - Vung Tau into a modern industrial port province by 2015.

The Vice chairman Nien had a talk with Vietnam Business Forum as following:

*What are the potentials and advantages of the province in promoting the development of key economic sectors?

Ba Ria - Vung Tau possesses diverse potential advantages - an important prerequisite for attracting investment, developing the economy, realising the objective of building Ba Ria - Vung Tau into a modern industrialised province with a strong sea-based economy. The province is also powered by national and international commercial port system and a regional and national centre of industry, services, tourism and fisheries.

Specifically, the province’s deepwater seaport system with a designed capacity of 250 million tonnes a year is the national general port and an international gateway port capable of receiving vessels of 160,000 DWT. Goods exported from Thi Vai - Cai Mep Port are shipped directly to the United States, and other countries and territories around the world without via transit ports. The deepwater seaport system creates advantages for Ba Ria - Vung Tau to develop commercial services, industry and import and export activities.

The province has 14 industrial zones with a total area of ​​about 8,400 ha, close to the Thi Vai - Cai Mep port system and thus has favourable conditions for international trade development. Their infrastructure is being completed and ready to welcome investors.

On the oil and gas industry, the continental shelf of Ba Ria - Vung Tau waters is estimated to contain 1.5 billion tonnes of oil and 1,000 billion cubic metres of gas; thus the province has become the oil and gas centre of Vietnam and is home to gas-fuelled industries like electricity, liquefied petroleum gas, fertiliser, steel and construction materials.

At present, Ba Ria - Vung Tau province has eight power plants with a combined capacity 4,224 MW and accounts for nearly 40 percent of the country’s electricity production.

On transport infrastructure connectivity, Ba Ria - Vung Tau has favourable traffic systems for international trade, it enjoys national highways linking to industrial zones, ports and tourism sites in the province. Apart from Ho Chi Minh City-based Tan Son Nhat International Airport in operation, the Long Thanh International Airport in Dong Nai province, expected to go into operation in 2020, is only 30 km away from Cai Mep - Thi Vai port complex. Currently, according to the plan, key national transport projects will be invested and put into operation before 2020, including expressways and Bien Hoa - Vung Tau railway.

On tourism development, the province’s tourism infrastructure system is invested. Many new accommodation establishments have been put into service, including 5-star Imperial Hotel, Vung Tau Car Cable Resort, Sixsences Con Dao Resort and Ho Tram Asean Coast Resort. Up to now, the province has 195 operational hotels and resorts with more than 8,300 rooms, with 114 hotels ranked from one to five stars.

*Currently, most oil and gas reserves of Vietnam are off the coast of Vung Tau. Therefore, in a recent interview given to the press, Professor Nguyen Mai, a senior expert in foreign direct investment (FDI) and former Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment, proposed locating all oil refineries in Ba Ria - Vung Tau rather than scattered in other localities. What do you think about this?

Oil and gas production has significantly contributed to the country's economy. Oil and gas exploration and exploitation has spurred the development of many other economic sectors such as electricity, nitrogenous fertiliser, liquefied petroleum gas, mechanical engineering, ship building and repairing, oil-rig fabrication, shipping, and logistics. Oil and gas industry in general and petrochemical industry in particular have many national key projects. Hence, investment must follow approved plans of the Government and investment locations are decided by central authorities.

Ba Ria - Vung Tau established Long Son Oil and Gas Industrial Zone to develop the petrochemical industry. And, the province is calling investment capital for oil refinery projects. Currently, a 3.77 billion USD petrochemical project is clearing the 461-ha site for building production facilities, with the first phase expected to come into operation by 2017. We hope the oil refinery project to be carried out as schedule to foster socioeconomic development.

*Seaports and logistics services are interconnected. Seaports must be supported by logistics services, and vice versa. Are logistics services in the province fit and capable to support seaport operations? To turn Ba Ria - Vung Tau into a world-class logistics services centre, what logistics industry development strategy has the province taken?

Logistics industry now holds an increasingly important position in modern economies and has a great influence on economic development of all nations on the globe. In the context that Vietnam is integrating more deeply into the world economy, investment and trading activities are on the rise, production develops and the demand for cargo transportation and production support services grows up, the development of logistics service system is thus necessary. However, in recent years, the development of local logistics services has failed to meet demand.

Taking its advantages of geographical location, natural conditions and economic potential, Ba Ria - Vung Tau province set the target of becoming a modern industrial and port province which will embrace world-class logistics services centres. To achieve this goal, in the coming time, Ba Ria - Vung Tau plans to carry out some key tasks as following:

First, carrying out economic restructuring programme; improving economic growth quality, efficiency and competitiveness; using port development as the leverage for the development of port, shipping and post-port services.

Second, selectively attracting investment projects into existing industrial zones and setting up new industrial zones to meet development needs; developing oil refining industry and petrochemical product processing and port-supporting industries.

Third, building and developing Ba Ria - Vung Tau into a regional logistics services centre; developing port logistics services in Cai Mep - Thi Vai, Vung Tau and Con Dao areas, forming goods distribution centres associated with ports; perfecting deepwater port system; training logistics human resources, etc.

Fourth, raising capital for infrastructure development; upgrading and improving traffic infrastructure system that links deepwater ports, roads and sea routes, connects Ba Ria - Vung Tau with other provinces in the southern key economic zone and the region to serve freight flows in Cai Mep - Thi Vai ports, expressways, Ho Chi Minh City - Bien Hoa - Vung Tau Railway, and crossroads that link Highway 51 to Cai Mep ports.

In addition, the Provincial People's Committee proposed the Ministry of Transport to work with the Ministry of Transport to reduce pilotage fees, tonnage dues and maritime insurances for ships of over 50,000 DWT and apply Circular 41/2012/TT-BTC to all vessels (including vessels of under 50,000 DWT) in Cai Mep - Thi Vai ports to attract feeder vessels.

*Public administration reform is defined by provincial authorities as the key element for sustainable and effective economic development. So, what has the province done to bring administrative reform to life and make Ba Ria - Vung Tau different from others?

Public administration reform is one of the key tasks directed by the Provincial People's Committee and seriously performed by governments at all levels. The province has implemented many measures to create favourable investment, production and business environment like building infrastructure, training human resources, stepping up administrative procedure reform, helping investors to deal with difficulties in their investment activities, etc.

To bring administrative reform to life to improve the investment environment, reduce troubles and facilitate businesses and citizens, the province has reviewed current regulations to cut red tape, intensified inspection and streamlined administrative procedures for businesses and citizens.

Besides, the province has applied information technology to administrative procedures to build one-stop-shop mechanism. It will focus on strengthening e-office application and applying ISO 9001:2008 quality management system to departments and localities. At the same time, the province will speed up measures to raise provincial competitiveness index (PCI) and the provincial economy integration index (PEII).-VNA