Gov’t focuses on competition

February 11, 2017 - 09:00

Nguyễn Minh Thảo, director of the Business Environment and Competitive Capacity Department under the Central Institute for Economic Management, speaks to the newspaper Đầu tư (Vietnam Investment Review) about initial changes following the issuance of the Government Resolution 19-2017

Nguyễn Minh Thảo
Viet Nam News

Nguyễn Minh Thảo, director of the Business Environment and Competitive Capacity Department under the Central Institute for Economic Management, speaks to the Đầu tư (Vietnam Investment Review) newspaper about changes following the issuance of Government Resolution 19-2017

What are the new points contained in Resolution No 19 issued on Feb.6 by the Prime Minister?

The Resolution contains many new points compared to previous versions of the 19th Resolution which were issued from 2014-16.

This year’s resolution contains new points stemming from the government’s desire to improve the national competitive capacity.

Việt Nam’s business environment ranked by the World Bank and some international organisations was below our expectations. This is one of the key reasons why the Prime Minister has pushed for changes in this resolution.

In this year’s resolution, the Government has demanded that all officials focus on raising labour productivity and the competitive capacity of the nation and enterprises.

In addition, the world’s fourth industrial revolution has sparked big demand for creativity – a basic foundation for improving labour productivity, raising enterprises’ revenue and workers’ salaries.

For us, it is time to emphasis the role of electronic government.

When innovation capacity is improved, our national economy will make a U turn. Then we will not have to depend on the country’s capital, natural resources or low labour costs as at present.

Can you describe the content of this year’s Resolution?

The resolution contains 250 criteria relating to the business environment, innovation, competitive capacity and electronic government.

The previous three resolutions (from 2014-16) only focused on 10 criteria on business environment in accordance with the World Bank’s business rankings.

But the criteria this year have been grouped in accordance with missions and relevant agencies. In other words, each criterion is linked to the responsibility of the ministry, sector or office that is in charge of achieving the goal.

Another highlight in this year’s resolution is that the responsibilities of the head of each agency is clearly defined.

The previous years’ resolution also had specific tasks for each government agency or sector. But sanctioning mechanisms were not strong enough. How do you respond to that?

In all final reports on Resolution 19 in the past three years, we mentioned which agencies poorly implemented the resolution. Their names were also mentioned at Government Cabinet meetings.

In this year’s resolution, we also emphasised supervision and inspection activities to ensure the document is properly implemented. We’re also thinking of developing a mechanism to award or sanction good performers and bad performers.

In the past month, a big change was observed in the Ministry of Industry and Trade, setting a bright example for other ministries to follow. Recently, the Ministry of Construction invited experts to the Ministry to talk about how best to implement the resolution.

I’m sure that when high ranking officials express their willingness to implement the resolution to its letter, I’m sure a change will come. And that change will spread like a fire.

What will happen to enterprises then?

Through reports sent to us from enterprises, we feel that their confidence in the government has been consolidated. In their reports they told us problems they faced in 2014-2016. They also acknowledged the government’s efforts to help tackle these difficulties. All these are positive indications.

But at the local level, I’m afraid to say there are quite a few things that must be done immediately. Most provincial and municipal People’s Committees, except Hà Nội and Quảng Ninh, have not been proactive in developing plans to implement the resolution. Maybe they don’t understand what they have to do achieve the targets and their impacts. This is the task of co-ordinating agencies.

However, I’m confident that with the Prime Minister’s determination and positive responses from ministries and sectors, Resolution 19-2017 will be strictly implemented. — VNS