Last updated: Thursday, March 23, 2017
Unsettled Concerns RemainPosted: Thursday, March 16, 2017
Unlike previous years, Resolution 19-2017/NQ-CP was issued much earlier, right on the first working days of the Lunar New Year, showing the great determination of the Government of Vietnam towards improving business environment and enhancing national competitiveness. However, there are still unsettled issues.
Dr Nguyen Dinh Cung, Chairman of the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM), one of important persons contributing to the introduction of four editions of Resolution 19 from 2014 to 2017, said that Vietnam will reach the par of ASEAN 4 nations in terms of business environment criteria by the end of 2017. Admitting that this is an ambitious goal, he said what he worries most is the implementation stage from central to local levels and across all ministries. He also frankly pointed that routine way of thinking is a heavy drag on innovation efforts.
Localities yet to be for mutual interests
In general, the rate of completed tasks undertaken by ministries and branches was just 42 per cent. But, even among achieved indicators, for instance Building Permit Index and related procedures, Vietnam had a good ranking in the region (ranked 24th out of 190), behind only Malaysia (13th) and Singapore (10th), but the time was very long (166 days), much higher than the average of ASEAN 4 (82 days).
Dr Nguyen Duc Kien, Deputy Chairman of the Economic Committee of the National Assembly remarked that the Resolution 19 may be a driving force for the stagnating vehicle. But, the vehicle cannot move fast forwards if there is only the force. "The new resolution sets 250 targets for 20 groups of fields and sectors. It is more specific than previous resolutions but it has not delineated prioritised areas and the order of priorities linked to individual accountability of heads of ministries, sectors and localities," he noted.
Local roles are not only blurred but in some cases go against general trends. For example, Resolution No. 148/2016/NQ-HDND dated December 13, 2016 of the Haiphong City People's Council on collection of charges for use of infrastructure facilities, utility works and public facilities in seaport areas, effective from January 1, 2017.
VCCI expressed its concerns that this move by Haiphong will create a dangerous precedent for other seaport and airport operators to set new fees that are detrimental to business. This move taken by Haiphong City was considered to be contrary to current regulations on customs procedures and forced the General Department of Vietnam Customs to send a request to the Haiphong Customs Department demanding not to ask enterprises to submit or show other proofs other than customs documents.
Ministries are often confused
Not mentioning the rationality of sectors stated in the list, Dr Nguyen Dinh Cung proved to be strongly "allergic" with the name of this list. "It represents an outdated mindset of prohibition. I am very surprised that the Ministry of Industry and Trade has made some strong decisions towards opening up and removing barriers for the market to develop but it this time put forth such a ridiculous document," he opined.
It is clear that infiltrating the spirit of Resolution 19 into all ministries, sectors and localities and transform it into concrete action will be long and rough.