President Truong Tan Sang has asked Thai Nguyen province to overhaul its investment environment and pinpoint its strengths to transform itself into an economic hub in the northern mountainous region.

He made the request while working with key provincial officials August 19, as part of his tour of the three northern provinces, also including Bac Can and Cao Bang, to inspect their socio-economic development, construction of new-style rural areas and national security.

President Sang said the province must work harder to meet the six remaining criteria on shifting its economic structure, maintaining growth rate and building new rural areas.

The leader stressed that as a link between Hanoi and the northern mountainous localities, Thai Nguyen needs to speed up ongoing transport projects, especially ensuring the progress of the Hanoi-Thai Nguyen expressway and National Highway 3 projects to facilitate investment attraction and commodity transportation.

Thai Nguyen, strong in processing industries, should choose capable investors who are willing to work with local partners to create a linkage chain while developing the support industry, limiting outsourcing and increasing the rate of locally-made industrial products, he said.

Moving to the building of new rural areas, he said the province must set sound criteria and mobilise social resouces to achieve the best results.

Hailing successes in ensuring political security and judicial reform, the President asked the local authorities to well implement the Party build-up in line with the Resolution set at the fourth meeting of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee.

According to Secretary of the provincial Party Committee Nguyen Dinh Phach, Thai Nguyen enjoyed an economic growth rate of 5.3 percent in the first half of this year. The index of industrial production was up 5.9 percent, budget collection hit nearly 2.3 trillion VND (109 million USD) and new jobs were generated for over 12,600 workers.

He also suggested the President and ministries offer Thai Nguyen more incentives to develop the province into one of the economic, medical and training centres in the region.

The same day, President Sang visited the Chien Cong industrial and transport cooperative, the TNG trading and investment company and worked with the managment board of the Song Cong industrial zone.-VNA