Last updated: Thursday, March 23, 2017
Businesses Expect Stronger Actions from GovernmentPosted: Monday, March 13, 2017
The main message that the business community wants to send for the meeting between the Prime Minister and businesses this year is that the Government of Vietnam needs to act more drastically.
At the review conference on “One-year results of implementation of Resolution 35/NQ-CP on business support and development - Upcoming directions and solutions” organised by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) in Hanoi, Dr Vu Tien Loc, President of VCCI, said that the theme of the meeting between the Prime Minister and the business community this year, from VCCI's point of view, may be called “from message to life”.
Businesses still feel insecure
“Arguably, Resolution 19 is part of Resolution 35 and the former can be considered a part of the latter because the former addresses environmental reform, while the latter refers to synchronous deployment of consistent solutions,” said VCCI President Vu Tien Loc.
He added that after another year, the Government has been very drastic in their action, but some ministries and localities have yet to spread the spirit of the Resolution. Therefore, the Government will host a meeting to review the implementation of Resolution 35 where the Prime Minister will hear reports from relevant ministries and agencies. In these reports, the Prime Minister will hear from both government agencies and enterprises.
Remarking on this issue in Haiphong City, Mr Dang Thu Nhuong, General Secretary of Hai An Business Association (Haiphong City), said that Resolution 35 is to direct and force authorities at all tiers to boost business support. To deploy Resolution 35, municipal leaders have monthly hosted very effective dialogues with businesses. At these events, if businesses reflect any inadequacies and shortcomings, the mayor will demand department and district leaders an answer and immediate solution. In the next monthly meeting, they must report results to the mayor.
Not only Haiphong City but many other localities have also organised regular and serious government - business dialogues. In addition, local governments also meet businesses in the form of coffee with entrepreneurs, a very effective approach.
Looking to central agencies and ministries, the implementation of Resolution 35 has created a lot of advantages for enterprises. Mr Truong Van Cam, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (Vitas), said that, after nearly one year of execution of Resolution 35, not only localities have engaged, but the Ministry of Industry and Trade has also abolished the inspection of formaldehyde and the Ministry of Information and Communications have removed regulations on restricted printer import. Whenever companies report issues, agencies at the service record and seek to tackle them. Companies in other industries such as rice, gas and real estate also clearly see positive policy support in many aspects.
However, businesses have all agreed that some civil servants are still reluctant to engage in improving business conditions, as clearly evidenced by continuing informal charges.
Mr Nguyen Van Thanh, Chairman of the Vietnam Automobile Transport Association (VATA), said, automobile transport companies feel insecure because they are inspected too frequently by many inspectorates, especially when fuel prices decline. Vietnam's freight rates have been increasing continuously since traffic tolls along BOT-invested roads are irrationally collected and overlapped. Meanwhile, unofficial costs or bribes paid to traffic policemen are still on the rise. However, transport companies still have to bear. “Seaport fees are also rising so rapidly that transport companies cannot reduce freight rates. This is the reason why logistics fees increase, which means pulling back competitiveness of the whole economy,” he added.
Dr Vu Tien Loc said that unofficial charges suggested that the implementation of the Governmental Resolution has yet to complete. Indeed, businesses are not really partners and there is still a give-and-take and backdoor mechanism somewhere. “It still needs more efforts to bring into life the message: the Government that serves people and businesses,” he stressed.
PCI expanded within each province
He said modern ISO-standard administrative models adopted by some localities will ease public administrative service where citizens and businesses can give marks to public units and public employees. “The heaviest drag is lying at the grassroots level. Tacking it, the Resolution of the Government will go into life,” Thap noted.
Concurrent with the idea of enhancing the role of local business associations, Mr Tran Xuan Ngu, Chairman of the Nam Dinh SME Association, said that VCCI should support and guide the establishment of local business associations. At present, roles of local business associations are too weak to unite enterprises. To improve the operating efficiency of business associations, VCCI and the Government should play a strong backing role for them.
He added that the Government should create support mechanisms for establishment of headquarters of local business associations. Currently, many local administrative areas are left vacant or used inefficiently and they can be given to business associations, the way Ninh Binh province has done. By doing this, business associations will find it easier to contact and work with local governments.
Business associations should be also financially supported. For example, companies will have taxes slashed if they fund business associations’ operations. Localities can also assign business associations to manage industrial zones which will be leased to enterprises. “Strong business associations means enhancing autonomy of the business community,” said Ngu.