DA NANG — Businesses and officials in the coastal central city of Da Nang discussed how to improve the Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) at a conference yesterday.
Among 63 provinces and cities nationwide, Da Nang has gone down from being in the top three for six years (2005-10) to fifth last year.
The PCI, administered by the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, showed that the central city had sustained a progressive index in five years in a row, but the figure began going down from late 2010 to 2011 due to the global economic crisis and the lack of proactivity by city leaders.
"We were in the top three for six consecutive years, but last year that figure declined. The city has yet to release details of the many problems stemming from the economic downturn or offer effective solutions," said the city's chairman Van Huu Chien.
"For this reason, we hosted the conference to figure out the best way to improve the PCI in coming years," he told the conference.
He added that the conference was an opportunity for businesses and officials from the city's departments to propose ways to improve the investment environment as well as the PCI.
Businesses pointed out that the city's poor condition resulted from major indexes including informal charges; business support service; time costs of regulatory compliance and access to land.
"The current PCI shows that businesses' satisfaction with the city's leadership has decreased. Among 14,000 enterprises in the city, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have yet to receive preference on loans, land clearance and technology from the city," said Van Huu Thiet, vice chairman and general secretary of the city's SMEs Association.
"We need the city to support us in land policy, banks loans and transparency in investment policy," he said.
He also added that SMEs could hardly manage to get loans with an interest rate of under 15 per cent from banks.
In a survey of the city's Institute for Social Economic Development, 47 per cent of 188 businesses had to pay for informal charges – higher than the figure last year.
"Private businesses still face more difficulties in getting loans than the State-owned businesses. They (private businesses) also are annoyed by public servants' procedural issues," said Ho Ky Minh, the institute's director.
"18 per cent of those businesses have to bribe bank staff to get loans, while 32 per cent still blame the complicated procedure at banks," he added.
The city has planned an industrial park in Hoa Khanh district for SMEs and also reformed its policy regarding them.
"The city should organise more dialogues between the city and businesses as well as economic forums, industrial exhibitions and sale promotion abroad," vice chairman of Young Business Association Le Van Hieu said. — VNS