|North American and Vietnamese scientists work at the Nano Photonic Technologies Joint Stock Company in HCM City. The city has proposed government agencies give full powers to enterprises to use their science and technology development funds to facilitate their investment in these activities. — VNA/VNS Photo Van Khanh
HCM CITY (VNS)— The HCM City Department of Science and Technology has proposed giving enterprises full autonomy of their science and technology funds to boost competitiveness.
The funds began accumulating after Decision No 36/2007/QD-BTC from the Ministry of Finance took effect on July 1, 2007. The Decision offered enterprises the ability to set aside up to 10 per cent of their taxable income to establish funds for research and development (R&D).
Department Director Phan Minh Tan said businesses had become more interested in using the funds due to a need to invest in science and technology.
He stated that greater investment from businesses would result in widespread development for the city, adding the accumulated funds possibly exceeded the city's own investment budget for innovation.
However, difficulties in obtaining licences to use the fund for R&D projects had made businesses reluctant, he said.
The department leader urged government agencies to trust businesses and create accountability by auditing the results of invested funds and simplifying complicated procedures.
Many businesses also advocated for an increase in the level of taxable income set aside, to accelerate development in technology and innovation.
Nguyen Van Lam, Deputy Head of the Economics and Budget Committee under the City's Peoples Committee, said the funding mechanism was inflexible and discouraging enterprises from setting up the fund.
Mai The Binh, Deputy Director of the National Foundation for Science and Technology Development, said more incentives were needed to make investing in science and technology more attractive, adding that new mechanisms should be established to meet the needs of different enterprises.
He added that small and medium-sized enterprises should be entitled to pay a bigger percentage to the fund to save money for scientific research.
As of July 31, only 49 enterprises in the city had established development funds, with 26 businesses setting aside capital worth totally VND346.8 billion (US$16.5 million). Only 33.9 per cent of the funds have been used. — VNS