Central coastal Da Nang city has held its position as the best performer of the Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) for the third consecutive year with 69.77 points.

In the PCI 2010 rankings released by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) in Hanoi on March 16, second and third place went to northern Lao Cai province and southern Dong Thap province.

Despite unfavourable geographical positions and shortcomings in infrastructure, the improvements in the quality of local management in business support and land access have helped the two provinces jump one place in the PCI rankings from 2009.

Meanwhile, the PCI rankings of Hanoi fell from 33rd to 43rd and and Ho Chi Minh City from 16th to 23rd. Shortcomings in market entry costs and access to land have hindered the two cities’ economic management.

PCI 2010 recognised improvements in labour training and business support services, but adverse conditions in business entry costs, access to land, legal institutions, transparency and time costs.

Addressing the PCI 2010 survey’s announcement ceremony, VCCI President Vu Tien Loc said the PCI has become an useful tool in assessing the quality of economic management in localities, particularly in promoting the development of the private economic sector.

The PCI 2010 survey drew 7,300 Vietnamese enterprises and the first ever participation of more than 1,150 foreign invested enterprises from 47 countries.

Charge d’affaires of the United States Embassy in Hanoi Virginia Palmer suggested the country could look to ways to attract higher quality investment to increase productivity. This will require improved economic governance which needs continued leadership and commitment of government leaders at central and provincial levels to tackle difficult challenges, such as infrastructure, administrative management, corruption, and workforce development.

The PCI programme is part of the US Agency for International Development’s Vietnam Competitiveness Initiative (USAID/VNCI) project which has been implemented since 2005. More than 40 provinces and cities have used PCI to devise their own economic policies, competitiveness and development strategy./.