Phan Đức Hiếu, Deputy Director of the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM), speaks to the Hải quan (Customs) newspaper about the importance of eliminating stagnation in the business environment.
Do you have any comments on the implementation of Government policies to provide favorable conditions for new enterprises?
In 2016, many positive changes were recorded in implementing Government policies to enable new enterprises to operate and develop. This has been reflected in both awareness and actions from central and local governments in stepping up administrative reform in accordance with the Prime Minister’s resolve. One of the noticeable successes was the streamlining of administrative procedures. This has further enhanced entrepreneurs’ confidence in the Government’s policy.
However, I should admit that enterprises are still not as satisfied as they should have been and there is room for us to improve our service.
For example, under a Government resolution, by 2015 our business environment should have been ranked 6th among ASEAN countries; and by 2016, the ranking should have risen to 4th. But, according to a recent report by the World Bank, in 2016 many of our indicators were still bellow those required to be ranked 6th among ASEAN member countries.
So, in my opinion, if there is no change in the above mentioned ranking, I’m afraid that business operations will still face a lot of challenges despite the Government resolve to speed up the start up movement and encourage private enterprise.
In your opinion, what are the barriers to opening new private enterprises?
There are many, both subjective and objective. However, I just want to mention three:
First, administrative discipline and strictness have not been implemented to the full. Quite a few ministries, sectors and localities have failed to accomplish their assigned missions, but they have not been punished. This is strong evidence of the lack of responsibility and accountability on the side of public agencies in implementing the Prime Minister’s order.
Second, is poor co-ordination among Government agencies in implementing the tasks assigned to them. This is something that must be corrected immediately.
And finally, many Government offices have not paid attention to improving the country’s business environment in the context of the Government’s resolve to carry out administrative reform. This is one of the key reasons preventing local authorities from taking initiatives to raise the reform to a higher level.
What are the key measures required to improve the situation?
As I have mentioned above, administrative discipline and order are the most important. Any ministries or offices having failed to accomplish their assigned tasks must write reports to the Government, the business community and the general public explaining why they have failed. And of course, the head of these ministries/offices must take full responsibility for failing to perform the assigned tasks. In serious cases, they should resign.
However, many people say that enterprises are also “a part of the game”. Do you agree?
To a certain extent, the enterprises are also a part of the game. and they should join hands with the Government and management agencies to improve the business environment. Enterprises should cooperate and help each other to improve their administration, competitiveness as well as law enforcement. This is the driving force to say no to “dealing under the table”.
However, in my own opinion, in any reform, to win the people’s hearts and minds, Government agencies should stay in the front and set an example for enterprises to follow. No doubt that when we have a strong and clean Government, we’ll have strong enterprises. In other words, the Government should be by the side of the enterprises and share with them their successes and failures.
If all the three stumbling blocs - those posed by the central Government, local governments and ministries and sectors - are removed, I’m pretty sure that Vietnamese enterprises will be successful and will play a big role in the country’s socio-economic development.
I’m confident, when the spirit of renovation and start ups is in full swing, they will upgrade the entrepreneurship environment for foreign enterprises operating in the country. All together, they will contribute more to our GDP and the State budget. — VNS