Binh Duong: 20 Years of Comprehensive Development
Let’s look back on the outstanding achievements of Binh Duong province in various areas, through excerpts of the speech delivered by Tran Thanh Liem, Chairman of Binh Duong Provincial People’s Committee, at the 20th founding anniversary of the province.
Binh Duong Province was officially founded on January 1, 1997 with four district-level administrative units and 77 communes, wards and towns. It has a natural area of nearly 2,700 square kilometres and a population of nearly 670,000 people. After many boundary and administrative unit adjustments, the province currently has nine district-level administrative units, including one city, four towns and four districts, and 91 communes, wards and towns. Its current population exceeds two million people, triple from the time it split from former Song Be province.
Immediately after the Party system and the government of Binh Duong province were established and put into operation, the Provincial Party Committee led and directed the entire political system to quickly stabilise thinking and organisation to immediately start the apparatus operation while surveying local potential, strengths, difficulties and shortcomings to work out the best sustainable development strategies for the province.
Looking back on 20 years of development, the people of Binh Duong always feel proud of their outstanding achievements in various fields, namely:
On the Party, government and political system construction: With the efforts of the Party, the government and people, the political system of Binh Duong inherited and continued the tradition of solidarity and creativity to focus on improving the leadership capacity and combativeness of Party organisations; laid the groundwork and created the impetus for formation of a dynamic, daring and well-performing government, took bold action in direction and administration, made an effort in administrative procedure reform in order to create a favourable and open environment to attract investors and mobilise all resources to create momentum for synchronous development and improve people’s lives.
Authorities at all levels made every effort to strengthen administrative capacity, focused on addressing pressing issues of people’s life, production and business. Particularly, the province had breakthroughs in administrative procedure reform with many creative models and methods and built a friendly administration for the people and an enabling administration for businesses. The recent construction and operation of the Provincial Administrative Centre has helped quicken the settlement of administrative procedures, resulting in the gain in provincial competitiveness index (PCI) and the trust of the public and businesses. Activities of the Fatherland Front and mass organisations continued to have changes in operating contents and modes to fill the gap between the Party and the government with the people to strengthen local stability and development.
On economic development: By consolidating the political system and improving the effective performance of the government, Binh Duong focused on building economic development strategy towards modernity; concentrated on developing industry and service to shape the platform for accelerating the process of industrialisation, modernisation and urbanisation; ensured continuous economic growth of above 13 per cent per year and economic restructuring by reducing the share of agriculture and increasing the share of industry and service in local economy. By the end of 2016, the respective shares of industry, service and agriculture (and subsidy-excluded import taxes) were 63 per cent, 23.5 per cent and 4.3 per cent (and 9.2 per cent); and GDP per capita reached VND108.6 million, an increase of more than 18 times over that in 1997. Total retail revenue of goods and services jumped over 40 folds and budget revenue totalled VND40,000 billion, more than 49 times higher than that in 1997.
The province focused on developing socioeconomic infrastructure, further mobilised investment resources for development of industrial zones in harmony with urban systems and services. From seven first industrial parks covering 1,603 ha in 1997, the province currently has 28 large-scale industrial parks with a combined area of 10,560 ha with an occupancy rate of 70 per cent and 10 small-scale industrial complexes covering 707 ha with an occupancy rate of 65 per cent. With effective operation of industrial zones, the province’s industrial production value in 2016 soared 55 times over 1997.
After 30 years of renovation of the nation and 20 years of development of the province, many important driving works have become symbols of Binh Duong province and the pride of people in Binh Duong in particular and the Southeast region at large. One of drives of industrial, service and urban development of Binh Duong province is the construction and operation of the nearly 4,200-ha Industrial – Service – Urban Complex, which includes new Binh Duong City and the Provincial Administrative Centre – the centre of politics, economy and culture of Binh Duong province. This is the kernel of a Binh Duong modern, dynamic, sustainable and smart urban zone in the future. The complex has sufficient services and a synchronous traffic infrastructure system (such as National Highway 13, My Phuoc – Tan Van Road and Provincial Road DT 741) which seamlessly connects with provinces and cities in the key southern economic region.
To draw investment capital and create resources for development, by effectively maintaining and implementing “rolling out the red carpet to welcome investors” policy and the “rolling out the red carpet to welcome talents” policy, the province created an enabling climate for domestic and foreign investors to do business in Binh Duong. By the end of 2016, the province attracted over 25,300 domestic investment projects with a total registered capital of more than VND186 trillion, seeing an increase of 34 times in projects and 21 times in investment value against 1997. The province also licensed 2,817 foreign investment projects capitalised at US$25.7 billion from 59 countries and territories, an increase of 25 times in projects and 26 times in value over 1997. Binh Duong became one of five provinces and cities to draw over US$20 billion of foreign direct investment (FDI) capital.
The province presently has 1,231 exporters with shipments destined to 180 countries and territories in the world, mainly in Europe, Asia and America. Its export turnover value increased 24.9 per cent a year on average and continuously achieved a trade surplus. In 2016, its exports grossed US$24.33 billion, up more than 67 times over 1997, while imports rose 24.1 per cent a year on average to top US$20.5 billion in 2016, up more than 75 times over 1997.
On agriculture and rural development, the national target programme on new countryside construction with practical results gave a facelift to the rural area and markedly raised the material and spiritual life of the people in rural areas and remote areas. By 2016, the province had 42 out of 49 communes and two district-level administrative units (Dau Tieng district and Tan Uyen town) to be certified to achieve new rural area standards. Besides, the province actively formed intensive crop cultivation areas consistent with local advantages an adopted technology-driven agriculture. Therefore, agricultural productivity rose by 10.9 times over 1997. In 2016, the province continued to carry out four high-tech agricultural zones covering 979 ha, which cost a total investment value of over VND900 billion.
On culture and society: Cultural and social aspects made progress as expected. The province focused on mobilising more investment resources for development of education and training, public healthcare, culture and people’s spiritual life, and attained many important achievements. Medical and educational facilities were developed across the province. Many new modern hospitals, universities and colleges were constructed from socialised capital sources to meet basic requirements for education and public healthcare. In addition to strengthening training and retraining of local human resources and applying the “rolling out the red carpet to welcome talents” policy, the province also implemented policies to draw highly qualified people from other provinces to work for the province so as to raise the quality of local human resources.
Binh Duong province always paid high attention to carrying out policies on social security, gratitude to people with sacrifice and contributions to the nation and poverty reduction. In the past 20 years, the province raised over 45,000 households from poverty and had no poor households according to national criteria for several years. The province raised funds to build over 3,700 houses of gratitude and nearly 7,700 houses of charity, created nearly 770,000 jobs for local workers, trained about 442,000 people to bring the rate of trained workers to 72 per cent in 2016. In addition to generating employment and ensuring social security, the province was very eager with social housing development programme to provide shelters low-income earners, especially workers and migrant labourers. As of 2016, the province approved 82 investment projects with more than 85,000 apartments to cater accommodations to over 238,000 people, of which 22 projects were put into use with 9,330 apartments for 36,000 dwellers. These facilities supplied shelters to low paid workers and migrant workers to reside, study and work in the province.
On defence, security and foreign policy: In order to provide favourable conditions for economic, cultural and social development, facilitate the business community to do business and bring peaceful life to the people, the province always attached great importance to strengthening defence and security, regularly raised political and military strength, and maintained political security and social order in the locality.
Besides, to ensure favourable international integration and positive development, the province always enhanced and expanded foreign affairs. To date, Binh Duong signed friendship cooperation agreements with nine foreign provinces and cities; focused on polishing and enhancing the image and status of Binh Duong through external affairs to domestic and international friends and business communities to strengthen investment promotion, accelerate economic growth, quicken the process of industrialisation and modernisation, and achieve sustainable development in the coming time.
Promoting the province’s achievements to date, particularly valuable lessons learned over 30 years of renovation and 20 years of development, will be an important premise and a tremendous motivation for Binh Duong to overcome difficulties and challenges, to keep continuous development, attain greater achievements in the coming period in order to successfully realise development goals to 2020 set by the Binh Duong Provincial Party Committee: Focusing on improving growth quality, expanding economic scale, ensuring sustainable development and equitable growth; stepping up economic restructuring with priority given to service and industrial development in association with urbanisation, investing in urban agricultural development and high-tech agricultural development; solving social problems; improving material life, culture and spirit of the people; ensuring political security, social order and safety; building Binh Duong into a first-grade urban zone and a smart city in the future.