Northwest: Expanding Potential, Connecting OpportunitiesUpdate: 2/25/2015
Towards the Northwest Investment Promotion and Social Security Conference, the ceremony announcing Decision on “Master Plan for the Development of Moc Chau National Tourism Zone,” and in honour of outstanding businesses in 2015, Vietnam Business Forum reviews some contents related to the position, potential and investment attraction of the Northwest as well as results of operations of the Steering Committee for the Northwest Region after more than 10 years of establishment.
Roles and positions of the Northwest in the national general development strategy
The Northwest, administered by the Steering Committee for the Northwest, has an important strategic position in economy, society, national defence, security and foreign affairs of the nation. This is the revolutionary base and security zone of the resistance wars against foreign invaders and the border region of the nation. Not only holding a huge position to the northern ecological environment, the Northwest is also known for its huge potential and advantage for soil, natural resources and tourism, especially border economic development and water resources for hydropower development.
To speed up the rapid and sustainable development of the Northwest, on July 1, 2004, the Politburo (ninth term) issued Resolution No. 37-NQ/TW on economic and social development, national defence and security guarantee of the northern mountainous area until 2010 and set up the Steering Committee for the Northwest Region to assist the Politburo to instruct the execution of Resolution 37-NQ/TW. On August 2, 2012, the Politburo issued Conclusion No. 26-KL/TW on the “Continuation of Resolution No. 37-NQ/TW” to speed up socio- economic development and ensure national defence and security of the northern upland and mountainous area until 2020. On September 6, 2014 the Prime Minister issued Decision No. 1580/QD-TTg on the Plan for the implementation of Conclusion No. 26-KL/TW.
Remarkable results of the Steering Committee for the Northwest Region after 10 years of operation
After 10 years of operation, the Committee has spared no effort to renovate and improve the quality of works and achieved important results as follows:
Effectively instruct, inspect and urge ministries, branches and localities to carry out resolutions, directives and decisions of the of the Politburo, the Secretariat, and the Prime Minister on socio- economic development, national security and defence, nationalistic and religious affairs, political system construction, with the focus of realising Resolution No. 37-NQ/TW. Besides, the Committee closely follows local developments to have instructions and inspections and grasp accurate information to have best solutions to difficulties and problems. As for complicated affairs, the committee always has timely reports and proposals to have good solutions to stabilise local situations.
The Steering Committee also researches, advises and proposespolicies applied and carried out in the Northwest, thus creating driving forces for localities to speed up social and economic development, stabilise situations and improve livelihoods of the people, strengthening the national defence and security, protecting national sovereignty and territory in the border area. As for its summarisation task, the committee successfully organised many important conferences, thus drawing more resources for the region and timely inspiring officials, soldiers and people; expanded good example models for the comprehensive development of the Northwest. As for the tasks oforganising forces, fighting against devastating schemes and activities of hostile forces, the committee timely guided solutions to sudden situations concerning political security and social order and safety to maintaining political and social stability in the region.
Difficulties, challenges and central tasks of the Steering Committee in the coming time
The Northwest is still the poorest region in the country. The economy is underdeveloped, small-scaled, slowly-growing and lacks sustainability. Infrastructure is insufficient and people’s life is difficult. Political security, social order and safety contain potentially complicated factors that may destabilise the region. Activities of the grassroots political system show a lot of limitations and shortcomings. Qualifications and capabilities of grassroots officials fail to fulfil tasks and resolve emerging complicated issues.
In the coming time, the Steering Committee will continue to implement Conclusion No. 26-KL/TW dated August 2, 2012 of the Politburo on the "Continuation of Resolution No. 37-NQ/TW dated July 1, 2014 of the Politburo” to accelerate socio-economic development and ensure national defence and security in the upland and mountainous area until 2020 and Decision No. 1580/QD-TTg dated September 6, 2014 of the Prime Minister on the issue of Plan for the implementation of Conclusion No. 26-KL/TW, with major contents as follows:
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 the 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, prioritising investment for education - training development, 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 to slash poverty rate by 3-4 percent annually.
Ensuring national defence and security; building people’s national defence front, actively responding to all situations, especially in vulnerable areas; solidifying and improving the efficiency of political system, especially grassroots political system.
Advising the Politburo and the Secretariat on building specific programmes, projects and policies on the development of local products and sectors, with focus placed on economic restructuring, construction and development of industrial zones, forest protection, and business and investment development.
This event will also concretise the above tasks; introduce and promote the potential and advantages of the Northwest; create conditions for investors and businesses to access key projects to explore investment and business opportunities as well as related investment policies for the region; create a forum for domestic and foreign organisations, investors and businesses to meet and exchange experience, establish partnerships and cooperation for the social and economic development of the Northwest; creating conditions for authorities, scientists and investors to meet and exchange on State management, mechanisms, policies and investment environment to create favourable conditions for social and economic development of the Northwest; honouring businesses doing business in the Northwest and actively supporting social security and poverty reduction in the Northwest.
Priority areas of investment attraction
Priority areas include:
Investment for scientific and technological research and application: The Steering Committee is ready to act as a bridge to connect scientists with local people and businesses.
Agriculture and forestry: Attracting resources for forest development and reducing nomadic farming; promoting advantages of livestock husbandry, especially cattle farming; encouraging the processing industry of agriculture, forestry and fisheries; developing aquaculture in hydropower reservoirs; strengthening aquaculture extension, and developing salmon and sturgeon farms.
Mining: Investing and processing minerals to earn higher value, building construction material and chemical factories.
Tourism development: Developing cultural, historical and ecological tourist attractions like Moc Chau - Son La, Dien Bien Phu, Pac Bo, Tan Trai, Hung Temple, Sa Pa, Thac Ba Lake, Ba Be Lake and Dong Van Geological Park, etc
Giving the top priority to the construction and upgrading of traffic systems like roads, highways, ring roads and border corridors; upgrading existing rail lines; effectively operating waterways in the region.
Attracting resources for border-gate economic zone development.