Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — The Government has pledged to take stronger measures to create a level playing field for businesses and to improve the competitiveness of local enterprises.
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc made the commitment after hearing recommendations from entrepreneurs and associations at a conference in Hà Nội yesterday.
The conference themed “Siding with Business”, the second of its kind since Phúc took office as Prime Minister, aimed to build breakthrough policies to better serve business development.
Over the past year since Resolution 35 on supporting and developing businesses was issued, Việt Nam has gained some achievements, such as a record 110,000 new enterprises being established and many foreign businesses planning to expand operations in the country.
However, the Government still received many complaints about complicated administration procedures, high taxes and fees, “unofficial costs” and difficulties in accessing credit.
According to a Việt Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry report, “unofficial costs” is still the most cumbersome problem for enterprises. For example, they still have to pay “underground costs” to be awarded production licences or pay bribes to pass inspections.
After receiving feedback from businesses about overlapping inspections conducted by different State agencies, the PM requested State agencies perform one inspection per year.
He said the Government promises to work to ease costs that firms are suffering such as administrative fees, logistic charges, and other payments to State agencies.
Phúc said the Government would submit a draft law to the National Assembly on supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and speed up the revision of tax and customs regulations, ensuring consistency among ministries and agencies to help businesses save time and costs.
The Government leader agreed with the business community’s request to build fair institutions to ensure equal treatment between the State and private sector, complying with international rules.
He stressed that all privileges given to State-owned enterprises will eventually be abolished, while State resources which are being used inefficiently will be redistributed to stakeholders based on their competitive capacity and ability to improve productivity.
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc (left) meets with representatives from enterprises and associations at the conference “Siding with Business” held yesterday in Hà Nội. — VNA/VNS Photo Thống Nhất
Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyễn Chí Dũng said the Government will push ahead with administrative reform to enable businesses to develop, encourage business households and individuals to form companies, and support enterprises to promote innovation, industrial modernisation, and human resources development.
He urged ministries and departments to simplify business and investment regulations in accordance with the Law on Investment and Law on Enterprises.
PM Phúc also urged enterprises to take advantage of new technology in production and to train high-quality human resources capable of using new technology.
He called on enterprises to improve Vietnamese products’ image to increase their market shares abroad and to win over Vietnamese consumers. “If we ignore our local market, we fail,” Phúc said.
The Government leader also said that he hopes enterprises will pay more attention to their social responsibilities such as environmental, integrity and accountability.
Meeting with State agencies' leaders
After chairing the conference with businesses, PM Phúc hosted a meeting with leaders of ministries and State agencies, requesting them to continue studying proposals made by the business community and draft an directive document to address shortcomings to better implementing the Resolution 35.
He underlined 14 contents needed to be included in the document, including electronic invoices, technology application and start-ups, among others.
The PM emphasised measures, including taxation, to carry out the policy on turning five million business households into the enterprise model, thus raising the number of the country’s total enterprises to 1.4 million by 2020.
The same day, Minister, Chairman of the Government Office Mai Tiến Dũng said at a press briefing that the PM had issued an official instruction on avoiding overlapping inspections carried out by inter-sectoral and competent forces such as police, customs officers and inspectors.
The Instruction No 20/2017/CT-TTg is expected to change the mindset of about 4.9 million trading households which have refused to transform into businesses due to concerns about taxes, fees and inspections.
The document makes it clear the responsibility of units and agencies as well as of the municipal and provincial People’s Committees for ratifying inspection plans since the beginning of each year.
Each business will be inspected or audited no more than once a year except cases where firms are found to violate laws, Dũng stressed.
On cost saving, Chairman of Amcham Vietnam Jonathan Moreno pointed out Decree 181/2013/NĐ-CP guiding implementation of the Law on Advertisement and the draft decree on automobile transport businesses are causing difficulties for companies, especially SMEs.
He said the decree requires a Vietnamese entity to use locally licensed advertisement agencies, which hampers from SMEs promoting their products and services domestically and internationally when they advertise on cross border platforms like Google or Facebook.
"With limited budgets for advertising and marketing, Vietnamese SMEs find these platforms the easiest, most economic and effective way to promote their products and services," he said.
He added "Unlike large enterprises, these SMEs do not need and cannot afford the engagement of advertising agencies for their advertisement and marketing activities."
Under a draft decree on automobile transport businesses, transport firms are required to report to the Ministry of Transport the information of every single trip they make. This onerous requirement will create new and unnecessary burdens that inconsistent with Resolution 35, Moreno said.
Hiroshi Karashima, chairman of the Japan Business Association in Việt Nam, said that according to a survey conducted by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation, Việt Nam was the fourth most popular destination for Japanese firms to do medium-term investment.
The survey also showed that the top concern of Japanese investors is transparency and the application of legal regulations in Việt Nam. He called on the Vietnamese Government to take into account these problems to create an attractive investment environment. — VNS