Working Closely with Businesses to Handle Hardships, Improve Investment Climate

4:24:55 PM | 2/19/2019

Mr. Hoang Quang Phong, Vice President of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), said, Vietnam had 131,275 new companies with a total registered capital of VND1,478.1 trillion (US$64.3 billion) in 2018, an increase of 3.5% in business entities and 14.1% in value over 2017. The average registered capital of a newly established business was VND11.3 billion, 10.2% higher than a year earlier. VCCI carried out many activities to contribute to the overall success of Vietnam's business development and expects to continue this mission in 2019.

Advising on business support policies
In the past year, VCCI joined drafting/compiling committees that made 16 important legal documents such as the Law on Tax Administration, the Law on Public Debt Management and the amended Decree on legal support for businesses. The agency teamed up with other bodies to appraise and verify 26 projects/draft legal documents (six laws, one resolution and 20 decrees). Many legal regulations were adjusted positively, with many contents beneficial to businesses. Many barriers to market access, business scale discrimination, and unreasonable business conditions and administrative procedures were removed. With comments and criticisms from VCCI, a lot of decrees on business conditions issued in 2018 better facilitated business operations.

VCCI also organized nearly 320 conferences and seminars on policy and law for 44,800 enterprises; consulted the business community to complete comments on 120 draft legal documents (including eight laws, one resolution of the Standing Committee of the National Assembly, 60 decrees, two decisions of the Prime Minister, 40 circulars and six local documents); offered opinions on three draft laws compiled by the Government and many legal documents drafted by central authorities and branches; and disseminated laws nationwide, attended by businesses, specialists and lawyers.

VCCI cooperated with experts to develop and publish the Business Law Flow Report, which reviewed legal regulations that exerted great impacts on the business community in Vietnam every six months in order to have right assessments of directions of economic policy flows in each stage. Strongly influential legal regulations, both positive and negative, are analyzed, evaluated and concluded to draw experience for building business laws in the next period.

In a bid to improve business environment and reform administrative procedures, VCCI cooperated with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to launch the Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) 2017 in March 2018; joined forces with other bodies to organize activities for better business climate and business facilitation, like the conference on policies and solutions to settle investment and construction hardships against enterprises, the conference on opinions for the draft Investment Law in the form of public-private partnership (PPP), the consultative conference on business conditions of transport enterprises, and the dialogue meeting on tax and customs between the Ministry of Finance, the General Department of Taxation, the General Department of Vietnam Customs in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Through VCCI’s surveys, businesses reflect on their policy obstacles, especially access to development resources. For example, it was very complicated for enterprises to access land for business operations because of ambiguous and complex land lease and transfer procedures and regulations. It was still not easy for private enterprises to access bank loans or financial resources from development assistance funds because of strict lending procedures and unfair treatment between State-owned enterprises and private enterprises. In addition, although the business environment improved, it still lacked transparency and true equality. Troublesome administrative procedures and high administrative costs remained a barrier to business operations.

Further executing the Action Program on implementation of the Governmental Resolution 19/NQ-CP on continued improvement of business environment and national competitiveness, VCCI cooperated with relevant agencies to study and release a report on implementation of Resolution 19/NQ-CP by the tax and customs sectors. Regarding the VCCI’s Action Program on deployment of Resolution 35/NQ-CP on business support and development to 2020, VCCI carried out all five assigned tasks and coordinated with other ministries, sectors, localities, business associations and the business community to carry out solutions stated in the Resolution.

By November 30, 2018, VCCI directly gathered 701 petitions from businesses and associations across the country from its information channels. According to VCCI, by November 30, 2018, ministries, branches and localities answered 546 petitions, accounting for 77.89% and have yet to answer 155 petitions or 22.11%. Enterprises and business associations mainly focused on such issues as reforming administrative procedures and facilitating enterprises; providing a favorable environment for businesses and support innovations; ensuring business rights and equal rights to access business resources and opportunities; reducing business costs; and protecting legitimate rights and interests of enterprises.

Important activities organized or co-organized by VCCI in 2018 included the GMS Business Summit on the sidelines of the 6th GMS Summit and the 10th Cambodia - Laos - Vietnam Summit on Development Triangle Area (CLV 10). This is a prominent initiative of Vietnam as the host of the GMS Business Summit to enhance business - government dialogues and connect businesses in the region and in the world. Besides, in September 2018, VCCI successfully hosted the Vietnam Business Summit 2018 (VBS 2018) within the framework of the World Economic Forum (WEF) on ASEAN 2018.
Additionally, VCCI conducted surveys on quality of responses of central and local authorities to petitions filed by 1,007 enterprises and associations in 2017 and 2018. Results showed that 65.5% of respondents were satisfied with answers, 7.3% were very satisfied, and 27.2% were not satisfied. There were many reasons for dissatisfaction. For instance, answers were too general; explanations were given without any resolution; local authorities did not deal with issues objectively until there was a direction from the Government; many issues need regulation changes to be resolved but the changing process was very slow; authorities only sent directive documents but they did not inspect how their inferiors handled concerned issues; and many answers only cite governing laws while leaving enterprises to study on their own. Even, some companies said that answers did not relate to questions. Some disagreed with answers from authorities.

Promoting roles of enterprises and entrepreneurs
According to Mr. Hoang Quang Phong, in 2019, VCCI will focus on implementing Resolution 09/NQ-BCT on building and promoting the role of entrepreneurs; resolutions of the 5th meetings of the 12th Central Executive Committee on completing institutions of socialist-oriented market economy, on reshuffling State-owned enterprises and on developing the private economy; the Action Program for implementation of Governmental Resolution 19/NQ-CP on continued improvement of business environment and national competitiveness, with the central task placed on promoting and monitoring administrative procedure reforms; the Action Program for implementation of Resolution 35/NQ-CP on business support and development to 2020; Directive 26/CT-TTg and Directive 07/CT-TTg on collecting opinions and recommendations, of enterprises.

Furthermore, VCCI will complete and defend the State-level study on “Vietnam’s Economic Competitiveness: Reality, Issues and Solutions” with the lead author being VCCI President Vu Tien Loc. This study is within the framework of the Theoretical Scientific Research Program in 2016 - 2020 launched by the Central Theoretical Council. The study results will be used as inputs for official documents of the 13th Party Congress.
Besides, VCCI will continue to join policymaking activities for a better business environment; take part in drafting/compiling committees in charge of making and reviewing legal documents, with a focus placed on amendments to the Law on Enterprises and the Law on Investment; carry out some research on law compliance practices to recommend regulatory amendments; and partake in the Central Law Education Coordinating Council and the Secretariat of the Government Program on cross-sector legal support for businesses (Program 585).

Quynh Anh