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VN firms struggle in transparency

Update: April, 27/2017 - 08:30
Vietnamese enterprises can meet some international standards of transparency, however, large companies still disclose little information about anti-corruption programmes. — VNS Photo Phương Thảo
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — Vietnamese enterprises can meet some international standards of transparency, however, large companies still disclose little information about anti-corruption programmes, said Nguyễn Thị Kiều Viễn, executive director of Towards Transparency Việt Nam at a workshop in Hà Nội.

This was reported from the results of a survey entitled Transparency in Corporate Reporting (TRAC) Việt Nam 2017, conducted by Towards Transparency, the national contact of Transparency International in Việt Nam.

The study aims to create a transparency baseline for corporate reporting in Việt Nam and to promote international standards and clean business practices. It is also hoped to contribute to raising awareness of business transparency and integrity to companies, investors, the Government and citizens.

Participants were selected from the Việt Nam report of 500 biggest enterprises (VNR 500) in 2015, including the 10 largest foreign direct investment (FDI) companies, the 10 largest State-owned enterprises (SOEs) and the 10 largest listed companies.

The assessment was based on companies’ publicly available data on the three main dimensions of transparency: anti-corruption system, organisational transparency and country-to-country reporting.

According to the report, only nine of the 30 companies publicly announced anti-corruption programmes, 18 out of 30 disclosed their structure and ownership, 4 out of 30 firms did not have websites, 16 of the companies did not provide information on subsidiaries abroad, while no company published information on every factor.

For anti-corruption programmes, the enterprises averaged a score of 10 per cent (100 per cent being the most public, 0 per cent the least amount of information disclosed). Of which, the SOEs averaged the lowest (1.9 per cent), followed by listed firms (5.1 per cent).

The top-rated companies were Posco, Cargill Việt Nam (65 per cent), Samsung Vina (54 per cent), CPV (42 per cent) and Vinamilk (38 per cent).

FDI companies got the best results in this area as they apply their policies in other countries to their Vietnamese operations, explained Việt Nam’s MCG Management Consulting’s director Phạm Ngọc Linh.

In organisational transparency, some firms scored quite well, with FPT and Vinamilk scoring 100 per cent.

The last criteria of country-to-country reporting had the worst results with a score of 0 per cent for all participants, as 16 enterprises did not provide information about their foreign operations while the remaining 14 had information but could not meet the criteria.

“The score of zero does not assess the quality of the provided information, it only mentions the fact that enterprises had not disclosed information”, Linh added.

The findings from the report are expected to serve as a basis for advocacy efforts to standards on transparency and anti-corruption in Việt Nam’s private sector.

The TRAC report workshop also heard different ideas on improving transparency from the participants.

One Government Inspectorate officer said that collecting information via companies’ websites was not appropriate in the context of Việt Nam, because not many enterprises had fully informative websites, except for those operating in services or e-commerce.

“The researchers chose samples of the 30 largest companies, however, 90 per cent of Việt Nam’s enterprises are small and medium-sized, only 10 per cent are large enterprises. Therefore, the results of this study are not able to reflect the transparency of corporations in general,” lawyer Ngô Văn Hiệp told Việt Nam News. — VNS

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