Viet Nam News
BẮC KẠN — The northern mountainous province of Bắc Kạn yesterday received the Labour Order, First Class, on the 20th anniversary of its re-establishment.
Government leaders, including former Party General Secretary Nông Đức Mạnh, Deputy Prime Minister Vương Đình Huệ, former deputy prime minister Phạm Gia Khiêm, as well as provincial leaders and a heroic Vietnamese mother took part in the event.
“Twenty years after its re-establisment, the province has gone from having many disadvantages to significant achievements in all fields. These achievements are highly appreciated and make us proud,” said Deputy Prime Minister Vương Đình Huệ.
Nonetheless, he added, the province needs to make more effort to narrow the development gap with other provinces and tap its tourism potential.
"Over the past 20 years, Bắc Kạn province has made significant achievements in all fields, which contributed to the political stability and defence enhancement and served as a basis for the province to further develop. The achievements are highly meaningful to a province with many disadvantages like Bắc Kạn,” said former Chairman of the Bắc Kạn’s People’s Committee, Hoàng Ngọc Đường.
Being a province without a border gate, railway, harbour and airfield, having a total State budget collection of only VNĐ17 billion (US$750,000) in 1997, Bắc Kạn has increased its budget collection to VNĐ500 billion ($22 million) in 2015.
The province’s annual economic growth rate reached 6 per cent in the 2010-2015 period. By 2015, the province’s GRDP hit more than VNĐ7.6 trillion ($337.7 million) and is estimated to be VNĐ8.3 trillion ($368.8 million), 23 times higher than 1997’s.
The annual income is VNĐ25 million ($1,100) per capita in 2015, compared to VNĐ1.25 million ($55) in 1997.
From a province without electricity in 1997, Bắc Kạn now has about 95 per cent of households connected to the national grid. Roads have been upgraded and the Chợ Mới-Thái Nguyên highway will also open soon.
The province receives an estimated 440,000 tourists, yielding revenues of VNĐ300 billion ($13 million), a 78 times increase compared to the previous decade.
It also plans to co-operate with a tourism company to invest in the Sài Gòn-Ba Bể eco-tourism zone project, said Chairman of Bắc Kạn’s People’s Committee, Lý Thái Hải at the conference.
The province also has two products with geographic indication certificates, seedless persimmons and tangerines.
According to Hải, the province targets a 6.6 per cent economic growth rate in the 2016-2020 period and State budget collection of VNĐ1.1 trillion ($48.9 million) by 2016.
It also aims to have malnutrition among children under five reduced to less than 18 per cent; 98 per cent of the population connected to the national grid and 98 per cent of households with access to clean water.
In order to achieve these goals, the province will strengthen its administrative procedure reform, strengthen the commodity agriculture; push investment promotion activities, and mobilise resources to invest in infrastructure for socio economic development, said Hải.
The province will also encourage businesses to invest and develop supermarkets, shopping malls and entertainment centres; encourage companies to develop eco, cultural, historic and religious tours, said Hải.
Bắc Kạn, established on January 1, 1997, was once one of the most disadvantaged mountainous provinces in the country. The 5,000sq.km province has a population of more than 313,000 from seven ethnic groups (Tày, Nùng, Kinh, Dao, Mông, Hoa, Sán Chay). — VNS