Businesses Benefit Greatly from National Public Service Portal

10:38:25 AM | 5/27/2020

The National Public Service Portal started to provide six more public services in support of citizens and businesses affected by the Covid-19 pandemic from May 12, 2020. The six services include: Assisting workers to postpone employment contracts and unpaid leave; supporting employers with loans to pay salaries for layoffs; declaring and applying for corporate income tax extension; declaring and applying for personal income tax extension; suspending payment to retirement and death gratuity funds; receiving and handling feedback and proposals in support of people and businesses affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Effectively supporting businesses

Opened on December 9, 2019, the National Public Service Portal has produced positive results, showing the Government’s goals of serving citizens and businesses, who have already registered 140,000 accounts, made over 35 million visits, filed over 7.3 million records, and handled over 68,000 records via the National Public Service Portal, said Minister, Chairman of the Government Office Mai Tien Dung. The system has also received over 11,000 calls and over 5,600 responses and recommendations from people and businesses, and integrated 395 online public services on the National Public Service Portal, including 232 public services for businesses.

The delivery of online public services saved VND6,490 billion of total social costs a year, of which the National Public Service Portal alone contributed VND3,036 billion.

According to a report by the Government Office, after a six months of operation, the National Public Service Portal increased the delivery of online public services from 8 to 389 (160 for citizens and 229 for businesses). The system provides online payment service for citizens and businesses to settle related financial obligations. Enterprises can fulfill many public services such as registering/announcing promotions, electricity supply, tax payment, fee and charge payment, electronic tax declaration and payment extension.

Some groups of popular administrative procedures were integrated into the portal for businesses, for example registering/announcing promotions, applying for certificates of origin (C/O), paying fines on traffic violations, and working with insurance and tax procedures. In case they need to carry out one procedure in many localities at the same time (for example announcing promotions), they can send it only once to many localities through this system instead of having to do it for each locality.

According to Mr. Ousmane Dione, Country Director of the World Bank in Vietnam, the value of the National Public Service Portal was demonstrated during the Covid-19 pandemic. With social distancing measures in place to prevent infections, service users and government officials can access and provide essential public services online, medically safe to both service users and government officials.

Speeding ​​up digital transformation

To further strengthen the impacts of reform efforts to build a digital government in the coming time, some measures for the business community and for the Government can be taken immediately, he said.

The action suggested for the business community is to accelerate digitization. Covid-19 can also be considered an alarm to business leaders. It is impossible to ensure uninterrupted business in the current age without appropriate technology.

In this crisis, those doing online business are less severely affected than traditional ones. A study conducted in Singapore in 2019 showed that the use of digital technologies such as e-commerce, e-payment, and artificial intelligence/big data analytics can increase productivity and added value at small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by 26% and 17%, respectively. From a macroeconomic perspective, business digitization can also help enhance a country's economic performance.

It is estimated that the digitization of ASEAN SMEs may increase the region’s GDP by US$1.1 trillion by 2025. Vietnam's business leaders can certainly begin digital transformation by using services provided through the National Public Service Portal to ensure that they can be successful in the future.

On the government's side, according to Mr. Ousmane Dione, online public services should start from simplifying administrative processes and procedures. Regardless of how many services are provided online, they will be useless if they cannot reduce time and transaction costs for businesses. Therefore, it is important that the Government understands time and cost-consuming areas across the process, to optimize processes and minimize administrative procedures to make services delivered more convenient and flexible for businesses. Data and information generated and collected through the National Public Service Portal, such as online transaction records and feedback, will be great inputs for the Government to analyze existing obstacles and solutions to remove barriers for businesses in the current process. Other databases, such as business registration, investment licensing, construction permit and tax payment, will also provide useful reform directions in their respective areas if they are analyzed to optimize the effect of online public services.

In addition, the Government can act as a launch pad to support the private sector to speed up digital transformation. Many governments had encouraged and supported digital transformation for businesses by establishing partnerships with telecom, financial and technology service providers in countries long before the Covid-19 epidemic broke out. Typical examples include the digital transformation program for Singapore's small and medium-sized businesses in 2017, China’s digital transformation program 2020 and Australia's small business digital champions program. These governmental initiatives have enabled businesses to adopt new business models, such as e-commerce and digital products, including software solutions, electronic communications tools (e-mail, social media, mobile phones) and other advanced systems (AI, robotics and 3D printing) to operate all aspects of corporate operations, thereby significantly increasing their productivity and profitability in these countries.

By Anh Mai, Vietnam Business Forum