Earlier, Binh Thuan often mentioned to the two bottlenecks that hindered the province’s development, namely: the traffic and the overlapping titanium planning with other plans. Currently, the locality has already had seaport, the coming-soon highway, the under-construction airport, and they will be put into use in 2023; Meanwhile, the second bottlenesck of overlapping titanium planning has been removed by the Government by Decree No. 51.
“Nevertheless, human factor is another bottleneck that has not yet removed from the locality where clusters a number of favorable conditions and terrains, and clement weathers. Thereby, it is hardly to gain the desired result if it lacks of the human factor”, Secretary of the provincial Party committee Duong Van An shared and opened the story of 30 years of Binh Thuan’s re-establishment and development (1992-2022).
The miracle of drought mitigation and tourism awakening.
Reporter: After 30 years of re-establishment and development, what are the outstanding achievements of Binh Thuan province, sir?
- The biggest achievement is "drought metigation". Over the past 30 years, from the land known as "dry fields, burning grass, waiting water", Binh Thuan has built an irrigation system including more than 200 reservoirs, weirs, pumping stations and water channels with a total capacity of 354 m3. The total length of the irrigation canal is more than 1,800 km.
As a result, from one of the driest provinces in the country with the weak ability to provide water for daily life and agricultural production, up to now, the province's irrigation capacity is over 114,000 hectares. The deserted, arid lands are now covered with green rice fields, crops, and dragon fruit gardens. It can be said that the achievement of having suitable "anti-drought measures" is a miracle.
The second achievement is the hallmark on the tourist map of Vietnam. In the early 1990s, the local tourism industry made almost no contribution to the province's economy. After the global event of total solar eclipse in 1995, Binh Thuan tourism was "awakened". Since then, the province has built and developed a system of resorts and hotels in the Ham Tien - Mui Ne area, becoming a vibrant place for tourism, dubbed the "resort capital" of Vietnam. Tourism is gradually becoming a key economic sector of the province.
The number of tourist arrivals to Binh Thuan in 2019 hits more than 6.4 million (over 512 times higher than in 1992), of which, international visitors reached more than 774,000 (80 times higher than in 1992); revenues from tourism realized more than VND 15,000 billion (2,515 times higher than in 1992).
In addition, the industrial restructuring has made a big mark in recent years. From a purely agricultural province, Binh Thuan has become a major energy center of the country.
Currently, the whole province has 48 operative plants in terms of commercial power generation with various types: hydroelectricity, thermal power, solar power and wind power with a total capacity of 6,520 MW (accounting for 8.5% of the total capacity of the country's power source. ); total designed output is about 31.6 billion kW/year (accounting for 12.7% of the country's electricity output), making an important contribution to ensuring energy security for the southern key economic region.
Another highlight of the province after 30 years of re-establishment is the formation of a relatively synchronous transport system. In addition to the available North-South railway, national highways (national highways 1, 28, 28B, 55) connecting with neighboring provinces and regions, and Vinh Tan International Seaport, the locality is ready to welcome the coming North-South expressway (to the southeast), and Phan Thiet airport in the near future.
The systems of road, railways, seaway, and airway transportation are expected to nurture the province "open up" the sea and the sky, expand development space, and become a gateway connecting the South Central Coast region with the Central Highlands, the southern key economic region.
Reporter: After 30 years, how have these achievements changed the quality of life of Binh Thuan people?
- 30 years ago, at the time of re-establishment, Binh Thuan was a poor province. Over the past 30 years, along with the socio-economic development, people's material and spiritual life has been significantly improved. Per capita income from 1.35 million VND in 1992 increased to 48.92 million VND in 2021 (36.2 times, an average increase of 13.24%/year), ranked 18th in the country and ranked 2nd in the North Central and South Central Coast regions.
The province has also mobilized a lot of resources to build rural transport infrastructure connecting from districts, towns and cities to communes, wards and townships. Up to now, 1,277 km/4,764 concrete roads have been invested, significantly improving people's travel and production conditions, fulfilling traffic criteria under the National Target Program on New-Style Rural Construction.
In particular, the well-implemented poverty reduction policy has had a positive impact on people's lives, especially for poor and near-poor households; the rate of poor households accounting for over 32.4% in 1992 decreased to 1.15% in 2021.
The quality of life of the people has been significantly improved; many households that were previously hungry and poor have now become well-off and rich; The face of urban and rural areas, including ethnic minority areas, mountainous areas, and coastal plains, changes significantly every day.
- Due to the impact of the Covid-19 epidemic, the tourism industry and the export of agricultural products faced numerous difficulties, energy investors had a headache with connecting the transmission system. How has Binh Thuan adjusted its development strategy after a series of such impact?
- Resolution of the 14th Provincial Party Congress, term 2020-2025 identifying three pillars of the province’s socio-economic development in the coming time, namely: Industry, tourism and agriculture. In the past 2 years, despite the great impact of the Covid-19 epidemic, these are still identified as 3 economic pillars of the province.
In 2021, despite being greatly affected by the Covid-19 epidemic, the province’s industrial production saw a 6.16% growth; export turnover of goods increased by 21.8%; the attraction of development investment capital increased by 8.6% compared to 2020. Energy production has to be alternately cut, making a decrease in consumption and revenue, but it is still within acceptable capacity and has recovered strongly. In 2021, the electricity sector's contribution to the stae budget revenue reached more than VND 2,432 billion, accounting for 20% of the total provincial budget revenue.
Binh Thuan welcomed nearly 3.5 million tourists in the first 8 months of 2022
Tourism industry has suffered the most from the impact of the Covid-19 epidemic by negative growth results for the past 2 consecutive years (2020-2021) and many businesses suspending operations or facing the risk of bankruptcy. Thanks to the right re-direction in exploiting the domestic market with stimulus programs, building the image of a "safe" destination, innovating the way of communication and tourism promotion associated with various activities, the local tourism sector has been early recovered.
In the first 8 months of 2022, Binh Thuan welcomed nearly 3.5 million visitors, up 98% over the same period in 2021; It is expected that by the end of 2022, the province will welcome 4.6 million visitors. The tourism development targets are also close to the results of the same period in 2019, before the Covid-19 outbreak.
Thanks to the support of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the agricultural export has smoothly operated as the operation activities of agricultural production and fishing are stable.
During the diffcicult time when the Covid-19 epidemic entering the community, the construction progress of a number of investment projects to develop technical infrastructure in service of socio-economic development has been still on underway despite some struck in capital disbursement and material flow.
National Energy Center
Reporter: Binh Thuan owns many opportunities and advantages for its development. At the time, the Phan Thiet - Dau Giay highway, and Phan Thiet airport are completed, many industrial park projects and big tourist resorts will operate. What will the province do to optimize these resources?
- The provincial authorities will pave the way for the invested economic infrastructure, primarily the province's traffic works for synchronous connection of provincial infrastructure with national and regional infrastructure, attracting investment projects. With favorable conditions, the province continues to target mobilizing investment capital for the whole society in the 2021-2025 period of over VND 250,000 billion.
To achieve that goal, Binh Thuan first gather resources to develop 3 pillars of the economy, namely: industry, tourism, and agriculture. Meanwhile, it also need to maximizes renewable energies so as to make Binh Thuan become one of the largest energy centers in the country.
Regarding the industrial sector: It focuses on developing in the direction of gradually increasing the proportion of the high-tech industry, processing industry, manufacturing industry, and energy industry; promotes the application of science - technology, and digital transformation to improve productivity and added value of industrial products; reduces the proportion of mining industry and labor-intensive industries.
The province will also effectively exploit 6 industrial parks with completed infrastructure; take advantage of the traffic "gateway" to catch up and attract the flow of industrial projects from southern Vietnam provinces' critical economic region to neighboring areas.
In addition, the locality seeks to effectively promote the advantages of developing renewable energy; striving that by 2025, the average growth rate of the value of electricity production and distribution will reach 14.5%/year, accounting for 60-65% of the provincial industrial structure; helping the province becomes one of the largest energy centers in the country.
With respect to Tourism sector: The locality determines to improve the quality and maintain the brandname of Mui Ne National Tourist Area, taking that as the nucleus of the spread to expand the tourism space to the north and south with types of tourism and services.
The province is re-planning tourism space in new areas; developing more diversified types of tourism according to current trends (sea sport tourism; MICE, adventure tourism,...); developing tourist ports, marinas, and high-class services; stepping up investment promotion, inviting strategic, reputable, capable and experienced investors to participate in world-class projects; striving to turn tourism into a spearhead economic sector before 2025.
For Agriculture Sector: The province will restructure the industry in the direction of modernity, sustainability, high added value, and strong transformation from agricultural production to agricultural economic development; from focusing on output to improving quality, organic, and safety, protecting the ecological environment, having a high economic value associated with the value chain from production to processing and consumption.
Moreover, we will focus on investing in the development of hi-tech agricultural zones, forming areas of wood and medicinal materials associated with processing; develop marine aquaculture zones with species of high economic value.
The transportation system will also continue to be perfected to increase connectivity and effectively exploit key traffic projects. The province is implementing the construction of the southern coastal road connecting Phan Thiet to Ke Ga beach and La Gi town, will invest in Ham Kiem - Tien Thanh road connecting National Highway 1A with Tien Thanh tourist area, Tan Minh road - Son My connects Son My 1 Industrial Park with National Highway 1, 55, North-South Expressway (east).
Additionally, Binh Thuan is proposing to the Prime Minister for investment policy to expand National Highway 55 connecting Ba Ria - Vung Tau, Binh Thuan with Lam Dong and the South Central Highlands provinces; expanding and upgrading national highway 28B connecting with Vinh Tan international port.
Besides, the province proposed to the Prime Minister accept a policy to study and develop a project to establish a coastal economic zone and a project to establish a high-tech zone, contributing to optimizing the advantages of provincial coastal economic zones development, forming a chain linking the coastal economic zones of the country.
The goal of promoting administrative reform, public services, and publicizing information on investment planning, mechanisms, processes, and procedures is also the plan we aim to make it easy for investors to access and find understand and decide on investment and project implementation.
Reporter: The strategies and implementation in real life must depend on the human factor. You have pointed out issues related to human factors. So are those obstacles that have caused obstruction to the province’s overall development?
Secretary Duong Van An: Human factor has an extremely significant role in the socioeconomic development of each region. The Communist Party of Vietnam has determined that, apart from sound and adequate policies, the human factor is considered a decisive role. A region with “clement weather, favorable terrain” but without “concord among the people” will find it difficult to get the desired outcomes. Frankly, we see that over the past time, a part of cadres/civil servants did not have the heart to perform their assigned tasks well. Some even have manifestations of pushing their responsibilities on others or avoiding their responsibilities and ignoring difficulties/problems that local residents and enterprises are suffering from.
Due to these shortcomings, the indicators such as the provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI), Administration Reform (PAR index), Governance and Public Administration Index (PAPI), Satisfaction Index of Public Administration Services (SIPAS Index) … of Binh Thuan province have been ranked in the group of low performance in many years. Those are barriers to the socioeconomic growth of Binh Thuan province.
To deal with those barriers, the Standing Committee of the provincial Party Committee has put all efforts into stimulating responsibilities and devotion of cadres and Party members to boost the comprehensive development of the locality via improving the investment environment to attract more investors, enhancing competitiveness, improving the contentment of people and businesses towards public administration system. At the same time, the authorities at all levels have strictly handled cadres with negative behaviors, and violations; resolutely filtered and replaced cadres with low work efficiency, limited capacity and responsibility, and those who do not meet job requirements and have poor moral qualities.
Reporters: Over the past 30 years of development, many collectives and individuals have been under discipline measures for their involvement in wrongdoings. So what kind of lessons are to be learned in the leadership in Binh Thuan?
Secretary Duong Van An: In each period of time, the hasty and subjective implementation of mechanisms and policies for investment attraction as well as the approval of investment guidelines for the province’s development has resulted in some mistakes or violations. Those mistakes are considered valuable lessons from experience for the province’s incumbent leaders.
In order to avoid such mistakes in leadership and management, the top priority is improving the implementation of political and ideological education among cadres, Party members, officials, and civil servants; strengthening Party building and rectification work in accordance with the Central Party Committee and the Politburo. The provincial authorities have grasped thoroughly to prevent and strictly handle cadres, Party members that have manifestations of degradation in political ideology, morality, and lifestyle, “self-evolution”, “self-transformation”; timely replace cadres who have poor working qualifications, or manifestations of pushing responsibilities and negativity in performing their duties. During the leadership and direction, cadres must clearly understand working regulations and seriously comply with their tasks, responsibilities, and power.
With senior leaders- the decision-makers, it is important to uphold responsibilities to set examples, put efforts, and be inspirations for their lower-level cadres. Model leaders will disseminate their enthusiasm to each organization, and individual to gain the best results. Especially, they need to raise responsibilities, initiative, creativeness, “actions speak louder than words”, dare to think-dare to act and dare to assume responsibility for the common interest.
Each leader needs to listen to ideas from many sources to detect and deal with any mistakes, and take into consideration good ideas to apply to the work with their full determination; preventing bureaucracy, arbitrariness, and autocracy among leaders. Binh Thuan province has determined to boost the selection and arrangement of cadres via recruitment examinations and the head person’s recommendation based on the fight against bribery for seats and corruption actions in cadre work.
Reporter: How is your imagination about Binh Thuan province in the next 10 years?
Secretary Duong Van An: 30 years after the reestablishment, Binh Thuan, from an arid region, has strongly developed with affluent agriculture. Moreover, the province’s tourism sector, from a “zero start”, has become a favorite destination of millions of visitors. Binh Thuan has turned wind and sunshine into advantageous factors to develop wind and solar power, with an ambitious target to reach the national center of renewable energy. The province has gradually changed to gain a new stature and position. For that reason, with a vision in the next 10 years, based on such a firm foundation, I believe that Binh Thuan will reach a powerful transformation to be a new development pole in the South Central coastal region, a top national-level power center, as well as a leading tourists destination in the Asia-Pacific region. Besides, the province will be home to organic agriculture, with green, clean, and safe farm produces that can meet the increasing demand for domestic consumption and exports. Binh Thuan will also strive to become a liveable place, full of facilities to create the best living conditions and entertainment activities for modern, green, clean, and sustainable development.
Thank you so much for this interview!