|Customs officials help residents complete forms in HCM City's Cat Lai Customs Department. The country's rating has declined in areas such as tax administration. — VNA/VNS Photo Pham Hau
HA NOI (VNS) — Viet Nam faces an urgent need to become a more competitive global economy or risks being left behind, according to a statement from Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam.
Speaking at a meeting of the National Council for Sustainable Development and Competitiveness Improvement on Tuesday, Dam said Viet Nam still rated poorly in the areas of tax administration and electrical infrastructure, according to ratings from international institutions.
Viet Nam ranked 169th out of 185 surveyed countries in offering security to investors, 149th in terms of dealing with bankrupt enterprises and 138th in tax obligations, according to the World Bank's latest report released last year.
Overall, Viet Nam's rating fell far below neighbouring countries in the region and the world, even when compared with other members of the ASEAN community.
Deputy Minister of Finance Truong Chi Trung blamed the poor tax performance on underdeveloped tax and customs agencies in Viet Nam, adding that in other countries, tax agencies were able to save time and reduce conflicts for enterprises.
However, former Trade Minister Truong Dinh Tuyen disagreed, saying underdeveloped agencies were not to blame for Viet Nam's tax system, citing cases of corrupt tax collectors forcing import companies to pay bribes as much as double certain tax duties to have taxes collected.
Vice General Director of Electricity of Viet Nam (EVN) Duong Quang Thanh argued it was crucial to improve access to electricity for domestic industries and satisfy potential overseas investors, citing that Viet Nam's electricity ranking had even dropped from 2012, plummeting from 135th to 155th.
Thanh also said the World Bank's ranking was also used to rate performance of EVN, urging the country's major power supplier to raise quality of its services.
Meanwhile, the government is determined to address the nation's lackluster ranking. Deputy PM Dam said improving competitiveness was key to providing opportunities for development because it affected the attractiveness of Government bonds and foreign investment.
Each ministry and sector must take responsibility and identify what it needs to do to improve our ranking, he said, adding there were certain fields that would require time and resources to improve.
He urged that other fields relating to policy or administration would need to be addressed quickly.
The National Council for Sustainable Development and Competitiveness Improvement was established in July 2012 to advise the Government and the Prime Minister on the creation and implementation of programmes relating to sustainable development and growing competitiveness. — VNS