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The World Bank is co-operating with the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) on a plan to organise the first-ever “Forum on Reform and Development” in Hanoi. It is scheduled for late September and will be held annually from 2018 to 2021.
Unlike the Vietnam Development Forum, which is held every December and focused on policy dialogue between the Vietnamese government and international development partners and donors, this national-level forum is solely focused on reform and development issues.
Specifically, it is intended to be a place for high-profile experts, development partners, reformers, and pro-reform organisations and individuals to meet, exchange and propose ideas, initiatives, and specific actions on reform and development. The Vietnamese government will then translate them into practical actions in service of national development.
“The forum will be focused on burning issues in the economy and new solutions that can be used to solve these issues. The solutions must have far-reaching, continuous, and long-term impacts on the country’s development,” said an MPI document on the planned organisation of the forum.
The key theme for this year’s forum is currently under consideration. It is expected that the themes will be about restructuring of the state apparatus, innovation in reform and development, improvement of economic competitiveness, and promotion of human capital.
The forum will be chaired by leaders of the government and the MPI as well as representatives of development partners. Participants will include representatives of development partners, domestic and international experts, scholars, and representatives of foreign enterprises and investors.
Two weeks ago, Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung established a steering committee to organise the forum.
At last week’s cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc ordered ministries and relevant government agencies to boost the reform of the apparatus and cut down on business conditions, in favour of people, enterprises, and investors.
Two weeks ago, PM Phuc enacted Directive No.20/CT-TTg on speeding up the reform of specialised inspections and reducing and simplifying business conditions. Under the document, ministries and relevant government agencies must, before August 15, complete their enactment of documents on the reform of specialised inspections and reducing and simplifying at least 50 per cent of the lists of goods, products, and procedures for specialised inspections. Before this date, ministries and relevant government agencies must also report on these tasks to the government.
The prime minister expected Vietnam to become “a new Asian economic tiger,” and said this year would likely see a record number of 150,000 newly-established companies, up from a record figure of 127,000 last year and 110,000 in 2016. “To reach this target, we will have to do many things, including continuing to remove hundreds of unnecessary investment and business procedures,” PM Phuc stressed.
Ousmane Dione, World Bank country director for Vietnam, told VIR, “The Vietnamese government’s reform programmes are going in the right direction. If these reform programmes are sequenced and implemented effectively, they will open many positive opportunities for Vietnam.”
First, he stressed, they would help the country consolidate and enhance macro-economic stability as well as resilience amid rapidly changing and volatile global developments. Second, reforms would help Vietnam improve the quality of economic development and lift productivity growth. “This is critical for the country’s long-term sustainable growth,” Dione said.