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Business leaders, officials eye ways to boost northern region industry   2009-09-09 - Viet Nam News

A recent conference in Ninh Binh province looked at business earnings in 14 cities and provinces in the Red River Delta. Cong Thuong (Industry and Trade) newspaper spoke to some participants.

* Vo Kim Cu, vice chairman, Ha Tinh Province People’s Committee:

People desperately need to borrow money to buy agricultural machinery. However, banks are complaining that they don’t have the funds to meet demand.

Earlier, the State Bank of Viet Nam instructed banks to mobilise capital for loans. This has become a pressing issue, especially for those living in remote areas where it is not easy to mobilise capital locally.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MIT), therefore, should work with the Government, relevant ministries and the industrial sector to resolve the problem so that banks can mobilise funds to meet demand.

Besides this, the Government and MIT should support the consumption of agricultural products, while training workers to meet labour demand.

* Hoang Tho Xuan, head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Policy and Domestic Market Department:

It is right to focus on domestic consumption. It is important to develop rural markets to boost domestic consumption. Many provincial enterprises are not interested in investing in building a distribution system for their products. Their warehouses are also not good enough, leading to inefficiency.

Enterprises should take advantage of Government policies to bring locally made products to rural areas. This would boost consumption and encourage producers to improve their distribution network.

More trade fairs should also be organised in rural areas to encourage greater consumption.

* Doan Van Kien, chairman of the board, Vinacomin Group:

The group has launched a number of coal and electricity projects in different cities and provinces across the country. Once they become operational, they will boost regional socio-economic development and generate jobs in the provinces.

However, the group cannot do everything by itself. It must have the support of the provinces.

Land has been made available, but land clearance takes time. This has negatively impacted on development projects.

We want provincial authorities to support us with investment and land clearance.

* Do Quang Thinh, director, Hai Phong Department of Industry and Trade:

Just three per cent of co-operatives make subsidised loans available. In Hai Phong port city alone, in the first eight months of this year, just VND863 million (US$48,500) was lent to enterprises.

The reason the figure is so low is because the loan procedures are cumbersome, particularly in terms of proving the worth of collateral assets and proving solvency. As small enterprises do not have much in terms of assets, it is difficult for them to get loans to buy materials.

In my opinion, it is vital to make it easier for small firms to get loans.

* Bui Xuan Khu, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade:

Though the State tried its best to support businesses to ensure economic growth, its budget was limited and could not meet demand.

Cities and provinces need to meet short-term demand, which would feed long-term needs. They need to mobilise capital from a range of economic sectors for industrial development. They should also help with business investment and administrative reform.

They also need to pay special attention to the needs of small- and medium-sized enterprises because that is the most dynamic economic sector.

The cost of industrial expansion must be met centrally and locally. This should be done in parallel with promotion of each locality’s advantages. These efforts should focus on the most competitive industries. State management should also be boosted and administrative procedures relating to land, investment and construction should be simplified.

* Nguyen Van Hung, deputy director, Thanh Hoa Department of Industry and Trade:

The economic crisis in 1988 badly affected most small- and medium-sized enterprises in the provinces because they were dependent on domestic purchasing power. But last year they were not as badly affected by the crisis thanks to trade-promotion policies, which helped them find foreign markets.

Enterprises need to actively look for new markets in order to benefit from trade-promotion policies.

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