Trinh Minh Anh, Deputy Head of Office of the Inter-sectoral Steering Committee for Global Economic Integration discusses business integrity and transparency with Hai Quan (Customs) newspaper.
How important is business integrity?
Business integrity enormously effects enterprise development. Anti-corruption and the creation of a healthy and transparent business environment is a vital task for Viet Nam. It is also one of the millennium development goals that the country has pledged to implement.
For enterprises, corruption not only means bribery but also a lack of transparency in recruitment processes.
Others actions including the withholding of employment information are also corruption.
Enterprises should not think anti-corruption is hard to implement but they should start right now by proving that they are honest and straight forward in all of their operations.
Improving business integrity is part of regional and international free trade agreements that Viet Nam has signed up to. Will this pressure help change the attitude of some Vietnamese enterprises which lack awareness of business integrity?
Viet Nam, with its promulgation of legislations, policies and commitments in trade agreements, is mobilising all efforts to achieve transparency.
Trade agreements provide information and guidelines for enterprises and help them limit to a minimum negative outcomes in business.
They also help enterprises avoid legislative violations and lead towards a sustainable development.
In recent years, Viet Nam's business sector has recorded progress in creating a business environment with integrity and transparency due to turning from a concentrated business scheme into a diversifying one.
The "ask and grant" mechanism no longer exists in the economy. Behaviour discrimination between state-owned and private sectors has also been limited.
Regulations on bidding and public purchases have been transparent.
A recent VCCI survey in 2015 showed that private enterprises prove less effective than others in ensuring business transparency. What do you think about this?
The survey on a total of 180 enterprises in Ha Noi, Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh showed 55 per cent of them agreed that integrity was closely connected to legislative norms and morality standards that helped prevent corruption and bribery.
However, only 29 per cent of them are implementing programmes to boost business integrity and transparency.
The survey was undertaken in a context that Viet Nam is deeply integrating into the global economy with a series of agreements having been signed and negotiations underway, showed that only 54 per cent of enterprises have been briefed on business integrity and transparency demands, while 43 per cent had no idea about these issues.
Integrity and transparency are sensitive issues so finding real answers for those issues in a survey is hard.
Do business integrity and transparency demands cause pressure on enterprises?
Yes, they do.
Most enterprises are suffering from pressure from international demands that they be more honest, serious and cautious in doing their business with each other and with foreign partners by strictly following laws.
However, some do not feel that way. They choose others methods as they think they can make quick profits. They say they are ready to violate the laws and if they are discovered, they will accept any punishment.
It is very dangerous for those enterprises because they are going on an unsustainable path. If they want a real profitable business, the only way is to follow the law. — VNS