Knowledge-based economy way forward for Vietnam

11:15 | 23/08/2011
An intellectual business community motivated by research and creation would help stop the country being heavily dependent on natural resources and low-cost labour.
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First and foremost, it is clear that enterprises have yet to target science and technology as a driver for economic growth.

According to Ministry of Science and Technology’s (MST) Technology Application and Development Department of VND51.668 billion ($2.5 million) put into technology research, application and transfer contracts during 2008-2009, just 12-15 per cent of study results were put into production and life practices.

The private sector’s capacity in science and technology research and application remains low. According to the MST, only 10 private firms were recognised as science and technology businesses while minimal capital amounts were put into firms’ research and development activities every year.

Parallel to financial issues, a slew of legal hindrances deter firms from pouring capital onto research and development.

Enterprise scope is another issue as reality shows that up to 98 per cent of private equity firms are small, making it hard for promoting research and development.

Besides, rampant impingement of industrial property rights was one of key factors suppressing firms’ creativeness and Vietnam’s technology market development.

The MST inspectorate statistics show that during 2006-2009 19,167 cases of intellectual property right violations were unveiled, averaging 532 cases per month, resulting in over VND16 billion ($770,000 million) in fines.

Promoting firms’ sense for creativity is crucial for development. Firms should be considered the core of science and technology research, development and reform supportive programmes. Businesses should be encouraged to partake in research and creative activities servicing themselves and the community development.

This must be embedded in state development policies. Businesses want to know state’s proposed expenditure in research and development with clear figures on how much money will come from state coffers and what amount would be offset by businesses. These concrete figures, combined with relevant legal framework and supportive programmes will inspire firms, particularly those coming from the private sector, to jump into this field.

Increasing links between research and development bodies and the business community should also be strengthened. Several public-private partnership models in research need to be applied. Research projects and programmes must be commercially viable and feasible for application by firms.

Through this way, we could expect Vietnamese firms to be capable of creating and mastering some technologies which would be commercially viable in the world marketplace within the next decades.

Le Duy Binh, economic expert from Economica Vietnam

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