|04/11/2007 10:07 |
|Hands of gold|
|Reforms facilitate small businesses in Mekong Delta
Ben Tre Province at the end of the Mekong Delta river, bordering the South China Sea, has 65 kilometers of coast and a thick system of canals in the interior field. Ben Tre is considered to be the homeland of coconut treesl, but it is the first or second poorest in the Mekong Delta because of low incomes from rice and coconut farming.. In the last five years, Ben Tre province has mobilized a huge amount of capital to loan people to invest in new industries in order to exploit effectively land and sea potentialty and thereby eliminate hunger, reduce poverty, and raise people’s living standards. From 2001 up to now, thanks to this poverty-alleviation capital, in Ben Tre the aquaculture including raising tiger prawn, blue-clawed crayfish, mussel, tra fish, crocodile, and freshwater fish), handicraft production, growing rubber intermingling coconut gardens have developed very quickly and created good incomes.
An important factor that contributes to facilitating the loans is administrative procedure reform. Many households believe that administrative reform helps them to more easily access the administrative services and provides equal opportunities solving requests, which do not require meetings with cadres who are in charge of administrative tasks. They need only the “one-door”, or OSS, also called the file-admission office.
A typical example is the case of Mr. Luc Thien Thanh, son of Mr. Luc Thien Tam. He said frankly:
“In the past, I borrowed money from the district Agricultural Bank to produce chopsticks from coconut wood for export, and encountered a lot of difficulties. I had to wait for nearly a month to receive the money. They asked me for my residence book (land use right certification) to mortgage, and then I received money. It was very complex and cumbersome.”
In August 2005, Mr. Thanh borrowed 30 million VND from poverty-alleviation Fund which supported the purchase of equipment for chopsticks production and handicrafts made from coconut, ebony, and cam lai wood. The cadres of Ben Tre Department of Planning and Investment came to his home to provide instruction, survey his workshop and the working environment, and set up a capital-borrowing plan for him without asking for any fees. It took only 15 days from the time the plan was made to the day Mr. Thanh received his loan and he didnot have to mortgage his residence book.
From a very poor begining, Mr. Tam’s life has become better thanks to the poverty-alleviation capital, which doesnot charge interest. At first, Mr. Tam had only 3 million VND of capital which could buy only two chopstick production machines. Now, his enterprise has capital of 300 million VND with 20 chopstick and handicraft machines, 17 labors at the workshop and 20 others working at home (considered to be Mr. Tam satellites). Each day, his enterprise produces 1,000 pairs of chopsticks, not including about 30 very beautiful items of handicrafts from coconut such as sets of teapot, bowls, globes, flower vases, etc. Mr. Tam makes a profit of 150,000 to 200,000 VND per day. His family’s best pride is that they have gained a lot of certificates of merit, and awards for design, especially for gold hand craftsman granted by Vietnam Trade Village Association.