Discussions hold potential to help revitalize Vietnam's north west.
Being held in Son La province this morning, the conference takes place as Vietnam deepens its integration into the world economy by means of a regional Trans-Pacific Partnership and free trade agreement with the EU. It will be a chance to introduce and promote local potential and advantages, and facilitate investors to access key projects and study incentive policies. The event is also a place for authorities, scientists and investors to meet and exchange ideas on State management, mechanisms, policies and the investment environment in order to bolster socioeconomic development in Vietnam's north west. Furthermore, it is an opportunity to commend outstanding businesses that have made enormous investments into the region and made significant engagements in social security works.
The region, which is administered by the Steering Committee for the Northwest, has an important strategic position in the economy, security and foreign affairs of Vietnam. It is known as an area of huge potential with its rich soil, natural resources and capacity for tourism, as well as the opportunities it presents for border economic development and advancements in hydropower.
However, the north west is still the poorest region in the country. Its economy is still underdeveloped, small in scale, slow in growth and lacks sustainability. Infrastructure is insufficient and people’s lives are often difficult. Political security, social order and general safety contain potentially complicated factors that may destabilize the region. Grassroots political systems show a lot of limitations and shortcomings. The qualifications and capabilities of many officials to resolve emerging complicated issues often fall short of the mark.
Thus, it needs to achieve higher than the average growth rate of the whole country. Some major development objectives of the north west until 2020 include annual GDP growth of 7-8 per cent, per capita GDP of $2,000, agricultural GDP of 21.9 per cent, industrial and construction GDP of 38.7 per cent, and services to GDP of 49.4 per cent. Annual export growth should reach 16-17 per cent, poverty rate must be reduced by 3-4 per cent each year, and the goal for the ratio of trained labor is over 65 percent. These are very ambitious tasks given the current context.
The Steering Committee will continue to accelerate socio-economic development and ensure national defence and security in the upland and mountainous area until 2020 with the following major goals.
- Speeding up economic restructuring towards a positive, rational and sustainable direction on the basis of tapping and promoting regional potential and advantages; expanding, improving and enhancing the quality and effectiveness of industrial zones; focusing investment on synchronous social and economic infrastructure, with priority placed on roads, electricity grids, schools, medical stations, and drinking water facilities; developing urban systems in the region and building the countryside in accordance with new criteria.
- Continuing investment for the completed construction of local cultural institutions; improving the quality of human resources, prioritizing investment for education and training, increasing the rate of workers with professional training to 65 percent by 2020; ensuring social security, improving the material and spiritual life of the people, advising and proposing mechanisms and policies on poverty reduction, aimed at slashing poverty rate by 3-4 percent annually.
- Advising the Politburo and the Secretariat on building specific programs, projects and policies for the development of local products and sectors, with a focus placed on economic restructuring, construction and development of industrial zones, forest protection, and business and investment development.
Besides the above tasks, this event will also introduce and promote the potential and advantages of the region in order to create conditions for investors and businesses to access key projects to explore opportunities as well as related investment policies. Moreover, the event is being expected to create a forum for domestic and foreign organizations to exchange experience and establish partnerships.
Prioritized areas will be investment for scientific and technological research and application; agriculture and forestry; mining; tourism development and the construction and upgrading of traffic systems like roads and highways, as well as rail lines and waterways.
All the previous conferences on the promotion of north west investment have been very successful. The event in Lao Cai province in 2008 ended with investment agreements worth more than VND40 trillion. The event in Tuyen Quang province in 2013 saw nearly 30 big projects licensed. During these events, organisations and individuals donated VND543 billion to social security, of which banks gave nearly VND455 billion. These results are vital and this year’s conference is being expected to achieve even more success.
“The Northwest looks like an untapped gemstone. The conference is a chance for localities to show their enthusiasm and hospitality as well as their efforts for streamlined administrative procedures with connection to investment and business activities. This is also a place for officials and businesses to talk about their issues.”
Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc