Quang Ninh tops provincial competitiveness index for two consecutive years hinh anh 1Illustrative image (Source: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – The northern province of Quang Ninh maintained its top spot for two consecutive years in the Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) 2018 that was announced in Hanoi on March 28.

The Mekong Delta provinces of Dong Thap, Long An, Ben Tre made considerable progresses in the index.

Business community lauded reform efforts made by provinces of Binh Duong, Quang Nam, Vinh Long, Ho Chi Minh City and particularly Hanoi.

Hanoi was for the first time named among the top 10 cities and provinces in terms of governance quality and business-friendly environment, a step closer to the goal of becoming a top competitive city in ASEAN in the near future.

Head of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI)’s Department of Legal Affairs Dau Anh Tuan said unofficial costs, especially petty corruption, have decreased significantly while business environment has become fairer. Efforts in administrative reform and anti-corruption proved effective with reduction in overlapping inspections and authorities of localities becoming more active and creative.

Tuan said firms’ optimism over business environment remains high. Up to 49.3 percent of surveyed enterprises said they will expand their operations, 42.4 percent will maintain the current scale while only 8.3 percent will scale down or shut down operations.

However, he admitted that 58 percent of domestic businesses still face bureaucracy, and 40 percent said provinces still prioritise State and foreign-invested firms over private ones. Around 30 percent said they still meet difficulties in applying for business certificates and other licences in line with regulations.

Administrative procedures remain burdensome, especially those related to land, taxation, social insurance, market management and transportation. Transparency does not improve much while workforce quality and corporate support services are limited, he said.

Prof. Edmund Malesky from the US’s Duke University, head of the PCI building group, said while Vietnam aims to enhance the linkage between domestic and FDI enterprises, domestic firms have yet to participate deeply in the global value. He noted a problem that firms lack trust in courts and conflict settlement mechanisms in Vietnam.

Chairman of the Quang Ninh provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Long said the province was able to keep the top position thanks to drastic reform efforts.  

The province has built an independent investment promotion agency in support of investors, held dialogues between businesspeople and authorities, and launched the district and department competitiveness index, he said.

Doing business in Quang Ninh has become easier in recent years, thanks to local authorities’ efforts to simplify administrative procedures.

The northern coastal province has an automatic customs monitoring system and has digitalised many administrative procedures. 

It has simplified procedures related to business registration and construction licensing, reducing time and money for enterprises. 

These efforts have helped reduce time of customs clearance for imported goods to only 24 hours instead of 39 hours as previously. 

Meanwhile, the time for individuals and organisarions to complete procedures to start business is six days, a cut of three quarters of the time compared with regulations in Government Resolution 19. Meanwhile, the time for granting construction permits is no more than 52 days, 68 days less than regulations in Government Resolution 19.

Thanks to the locality’s efforts to cut time spent processing administrative procedures, the locality’s investment environment has improved remarkably. 

In 2018, Quang Ninh granted and adjusted investment licences for 50 projects with total registered capital of more than 23.6 trillion VND (over 1 billion USD).

As many as 67.6 trillion VND was poured into the province in the year, including key infrastructure projects  such as Ha Long - Hai Phong and Ha Long - Van Don expressways, Van Don International Airport,  Hon Gai international port and FLC Ha Long Bay Golf Club and luxury Resort, greatly contributing to the province’s development.-VNA