Time for private businesses to have “greater voices”

Update: June, 04/2016 - 10:00
Việt Nam is expected to have a million active businesses by 2020. There are now about 900,000 registered businesses, but only about 500,000 are active. — Photo

HÀ NỘI — Now that Việt Nam emphasises the importance of the private business sector, there is a chance for small- and medium-sized enterprises, especially female entrepreneurs, to have “greater voices”. 

Layton Pike, Deputy Head of the Australian Embassy Mission to Việt Nam, made these remarks at an economic forum in Hà Nội yesterday, as Government officials, international economists and businesspeople discussed private sector development.

Deputy Prime Minister Vương Đình Huệ said the private business sector, accounting for 95 per cent of the entire business community in Việt Nam, was the most important thing for the local economy.

The Government would work hard to create the best conditions for them to grow in a fair and competitive environment, he said.

Trương Gia Bình, chairman of technology corporation FPT, said the whole world was involved in the digital revolution, especially in the context of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other free trade agreements signed recently with developed countries.

Bình said the Government needed to support local businesses with shorter administrative procedures, especially in registering a business and tax policies.

The Government should help connect Vietnamese businesses with overseas Vietnamese people so that local businesses can tap their experience and investment capital, he said.

Better and faster money transfers overseas were also urged at the forum, as many local enterprises worked with overseas partners but struggled to transfer money, which delayed investment and lowered competitiveness.

Sandeep Mahajan, lead economist from the World Bank, said Việt Nam was striving to enter the higher reaches of the upper middle income status (US$22,000 GDP per capita purchasing power parity).

The economist said that in order to achieve the target, the country needs to boost productivity in the local private sector by enhancing micro institutions of the market economy, strengthening participation in global value chains, and commercialising and modernising agriculture.

Chairman of the Việt Nam Young Entrepreneurs Association (VYEA) Bùi Văn Quân said private enterprises created about 1.2 million jobs and contributed more than 40 per cent of Việt Nam’s total gross domestic product.

He said the private sector could adapt to challenges, had strong creativity and competitiveness. But it showed limited capacity related to capital, market knowledge and conjunction with international partners.

Yesterday morning, Deputy PM Huệ met with successful local start-ups, where young entrepreneurs asked the Government to create a healthy playing field for private enterprises, State-owned enterprises and foreign-invested enterprises.

Most of the young entrepreneurs wanted Government support mechanisms and policies on capital, science and technology, human training and administrative procedures reform for fair competition and transparency.

Huệ said the Party and the State encouraged all economic sectors to play on a level playing field, which was clearly stated in the Government’s resolutions No 19 and No 35 on the support and development of enterprises by 2020.

He said the Government would develop policies to boost the growth of the private business sector by setting up national start-up funds.

However, he stressed, these policies could only benefit active and creative enterprises. Businesses have to take the right path, instead of only relying on Government support.

Huệ said Việt Nam was expected to have a million active businesses by 2020. There are now about 900,000 registered businesses, but only about 500,000 are active.

Yesterday’s forum, the first forum of its kind for the private business sector in Việt Nam, was held by VYEA with support from the Mekong Business Initiative and Australian Government.

More than 500 participants focused their discussions on areas such as the digital economy, agriculture, education and vocational training, logistics and distribution, capital and fund raising, and industrial and auxiliary industries.

VYEA Chairman Quân said the event established a mechanism for regular dialogue between the Government, private sector, and partners inside and outside the country.

“It is a good chance to hear from the private community,” Huệ said. — VNS