Business community tables proposals for PM

On May 17 the prime minister (PM) will meet with 1,500 representatives of Vietnamese and foreign companies in the private sector. Below are some of the proposals the companies and business associations submitted to the government before the meeting.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc's dialogue with the private sector on May 17 is the second one since he was elected
RELATED CONTENTS:
Make or break: private sector crunch time
Private sector dialogue shows government’s determination
Vietnamese private sector in government focus

Nguyen Trong Dieu - Chairman of the Vietnam Private Business Association

The business environment is positively transforming to become more accommodating for enterprises. The tremors of these changes echoed through the country’s socioeconomic development in 2016 and the first four months of 2017.

However, thee are still debilitating weaknesses in the business environment, which are reflected in the recently released Provincial Competitiveness Index and the Public Administration Performance Index 2016 (PAPI).

At present, it is important to realise the policies mentioned in the Resolution of the Fifth Central Meeting of the 12th Plenum of the Communist Party of Vietnam. These include the policies on land, finance, credit, labour and salary and policies on education, science, and technology, as well as policies on trade promotion.

It is necessary to eliminate regulations that go against the mission of encouraging the private sector’s development, such as the regulations that restrict the right to do business and the ones that increase firms’ input costs.

Especially, the state governance should catch up with the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The government cannot say that because it cannot control it has to restrict or forbid activities related to application of knowledge and high-tech to create an economy with rapid development and high competitiveness.

With these changes, enterprises will be able to compete in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, as speed and creativity are the keys to success. Besides, the government should see to the challenges in improving the quality of human resources and IT security. 

Dang Vu Thanh - Vice president of the Vietnam Logistics Business Association

In an effort to remove obstacles for enterprises, it is necessary to improve the management ability of ministries and localities.

For instance, in inspection in export-import activities, the dispersion, overlap, and duplication will make businesses tired because they have to carry out many procedures.

Import and export procedures should focus on the one-stop shop principle, managing risk according to international practices. Also, different agencies should believe each other’s inspection results to reduce time and expenses.

Nguyen Trung Anh - R & D director of The Pan Group Joint Stock Company

The government needs to re-channel resources, instead of controlling and allocating them.

Currently, the government is conducting a research on a credit package of VND60-100 trillion ($2.8-4.73 billion) to support high-tech agriculture. However, the roadmap for implementation has not been established clearly yet. It is necessary to clarify the allocation mechanism and conditions for receiving this credit package to avoid inefficiency when enterprises call for support.

In the future, tax incentives should be adopted to orient resources instead of allocating them through preferential credit packages to enterprises.

Le Van Hieu - Vice chairman of the Vietnam Young Entrepreneurs Association and chairman of the Danang Young Entrepreneurs Association 

At present, the inspection and examination of enterprises shows no signs of reducing, however, the government has introduced many measures to promote transparency. If in the coming years, the government increases transparency, especially in terms of tax, even the operations of small businesses can be made more manageable. For instance, if the government provided tax and invoice software to these enterprises, it would increase the government revenue and create transparency and formalise the activities of enterprises.

In addition, it is essential to adopt solutions to take full advantage of the common resources of the state and enterprises. For example, the state now owns abandoned factories and has made them available for the private sector to avoid waste as well as support production and business.

The phrases of ‘state-owned enterprise’ and ‘private sector’ have created a distinction in investment and production. To eliminate this distinction, it is necessary to review and amend policies to create fairness among enterprises.

Mac Quoc Anh - Vice chairman of the Hanoi Small and Medium Enterprises Association

Government agencies do not yet work well together and the administrative management is not yet professional.

Some enterprises said the inspection of imports and exports today is causing difficulties for businesses. Although the customs have reduced paper-based procedures, they remain inconsistent with the relevant agencies, such as banks, forcing companies to submit different documents at places that the customs agents do not issue.

Enterprises hold great faith in the 2017 conference between the Prime Minister and companies. Resolution 35 has set out a plan that government agencies and localities have been implementing for a year. But we need to build a solid cooperation between state agencies and businesses. Only when the relations between the two sides tighten can the state remove the difficulties for businesses.

Duong Tuan Anh - Chairman of the Hue Business Association

The association will continuously petition the government to consider setting up a series of centres to support enterprises at localities.

Resolution 35/NQ-CP on developing and supporting companies between 2016 and 2020 mentioned comprehensive policies, the responsibilities of ministries, branches, and localities. However, the content on the establishment and operation of supporting centres for businesses has not been implemented in practice.

In addition, policies to support enterprises still give favourable conditions to attract foreign investment, and less favourable conditions for private enterprises and small and medium-sized enterprises in Vietnam.

The attraction of large foreign enterprises is necessary, but even when Vietnam cooperates with foreign companies, it needs to give level conditions with local businesses and local workers.

Therefore, it is necessary to have a centre with legal power to connect and attract investors in the localities.

Vu Tien Loc - Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry

One year after the first meeting between the prime minister and the private sector in 2016, 75 per cent of enterprises said that state agencies have been positively transformed. However, nearly 30 per cent of them also added that these transformations are unsatisfactory.

Resolution 35 states that firms should be only inspected once a year, but in practice, firms are inspected and examined frequently, some even six or seven times a year. Of all the frequently-inspected and examined firms, half of them said that the checks overlapped.

The proposals to cut down on firms’ costs such as decreasing interest rates to increase loan access, lowering insurance and logistics costs are important. Besides, firms also proposed to adjust regulations on bankruptcy proceedings, dispute resolution, and inspection and examination.

State agencies should avoid deep intervention in the market.

Accordingly, the government can serve enterprises, but it should not do their work for them. The government should divest from public services and promote private sector participation. Even when supporting firms, the government should not delve too deep into consulting, training, and promoting. Instead, it should encourage the private sector to supply services to support firms.

By Trang Ngoc