Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Inspections at several State agencies and industries showed lacklustre administrative reform while cumbersome bureaucracy had not managed to sufficiently curb trade fraud.
Deputy Prime Minister Vương Đình Huệ made the comments on Tuesday at a meeting held in Hà Nội to review work in 2018 and discuss priorities for 2019 of the National Steering Committee for ASEAN Single Window (ASW), National Single Window (NSW) and Trade Facilitation (Steering Committee 189).
“The cuts to administrative procedures must not be just for show, the aim of streamlining is to both facilitate trade while preventing violations,” Deputy PM Huệ said.
The Government’s Resolution 02, issued at the beginning of the year that laid out tasks to improve the investment environment and enhance national competitiveness, no longer focused on the ‘mechanical’ goal of cutting administrative procedures and specialised inspections by half, he said, adding that a comprehensive review must be done to see whether necessary procedures have been axed when they should have been retained or unnecessary procedures still remained.
Reiterating businesses’ concerns over post-customs clearance audits conveyed to him in the recent conference on FDI enterprises and policy in Bình Dương Province, Deputy PM Huệ reaffirmed that the “robust shift” from pre-clearance to post-clearance audits of goods is the right move.
He noted that there should be a thorough evaluation of the post-clearance audits, with the Việt Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry taking part in this effort to see their impacts and whether the many audits in place are actually needed and serve risk management efforts, or their impacts.
For those goods that absolutely need inspections prior to customs clearance, there must be clear regulations detailing the procedures, duration, criteria and manner of inspections, Deputy PM said.
The role of State agencies is to build legal regulations while investment into audit equipment and the auditing process should be reserved for private actors, Huệ said.
“Except for the special cases where the private sector could not do then the State agencies would take up the responsibility. Otherwise, in these matters, businesses’ independent and objective conduct would be better,” he said.
According to the report by Steering Committee 189, by the end of January this year, the National Single Window has connected 173 administrative procedures from 13 ministries and State agencies and processed 1.9 million documents from 27,000 businesses so far.
Deputy finance minister Nguyễn Thị Mai lauded the positive efforts from ministries and State agencies, resulting in the deployment of 100 services on the NSW (https://vnsw.gov.vn/) within the last five months of 2018, “bringing great benefits to the people and business community.”
The Ministry of Transport and State Bank of Việt Nam have fulfilled all of their obligations, Mai said, adding that the ministries of Industry and Trade, and Environment and Natural Resources are also making considerable progress in bringing their services to the NSW portal.
Đoàn Duy Khương, vice chairman of Việt Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), said that survey conducted by the Customs General Department and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) shows Vietnamese businesses using the NSW mechanism “recognised quite clearly” its conveniences.
Up to 61 per cent and 51 per cent of the respondents agreed that the mechanism brought about reduced processing time and simplified procedures, respectively, while half of them thought the website’s interface was easy to use, while around 40 per cent appreciated the transparency.
Deputy PM Huệ urged faster upgrades of the NSW and Việt Nam’s ASW portal as “IT infrastructure has not caught up with the demands,” causing delays and overloading as the number of businesses joining increases.
At the meeting, Deputy PM Huệ also relayed a common complaint of several businesses that most State agencies do not have 24/7 business support departments to provide timely support for them in handling administrative procedures on the NSW.
Stressing the need for “breakthroughs” in 2019, Deputy PM Huệ asked concerned agencies to pay attention to real-life implementation of specialised inspections and business conditions, with the aim of facilitating import and export and increasing business’ satisfaction. — VNS