The northern mountainous province of Lao Cai topped the rankings of Vietnam ’s annual Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) in 2011, Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) has announced.

The PCI 2011 surveyed almost 7,000 Vietnamese businesses in 63 cities and provinces. It reflects improvements in provincial economic governance.

Lao Cai was followed by the northern province of Bac Ninh and the Mekong delta province of Long An. Central Ha Tinh and southern Binh Phuoc provinces entered the list of top ten strong performers. Meanwhile, northern Cao Bang province is listed at the bottom of the rankings.

At the ceremony held in Hanoi on Feb. 23, VCCI President Vu Tien Loc said the PCI announcement aims to assist provinces in improving their investment environment and highlight the impact of PCI. Through PCI, the gap of governance quality among cities and provinces is being narrowed as they have taken various ways to increase governance quality and improve the business environment, he said.

Despite a difficult year for the economy in 2011, enterprises took note of improvements in the business environment in terms of market and land access, worker training quality and other fields.

Loc said he hopes Vietnam is not only an attractive venue for investment projects looking for low costs but should attract high-tech investment which will have positive impacts on local enterprises.

For his part, US Ambassador to Vietnam David Shear affirmed that PCI is a useful tool for provincial leaders to define fields in need of reform and engage in concrete activities to improve the business environment.

Meanwhile, investors also use PCI to assess the investment environment and make decisions on expansion of their operations and selection of investment destinations, Shear said.
PCI 2011 highlighted the importance of economic governance in attracting investment to generate jobs and boost the economy, and reflected the improvement in economic governance in many localities in the country, he said.-VNA