Customs Sector: Efforts for Major Breakthroughs in Simplifying Administrative Procedures

9:05:01 AM | 12/2/2022

The National Single Window (NSW) has brought about positive changes in the settlement time of administrative procedures. However, changes are varied among procedures and there are no major breakthroughs in simplifying administrative procedures and reducing costs for businesses.

This remark was made at a workshop that announced the findings from the survey “business satisfaction with implementation of administrative procedures through the National Single Window and specialized inspection procedures 2022” launched by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

According to the report, enterprises largely said handling procedures on the NSW is more difficult than in the 2019 survey, with 10 out of 12 procedures in favor. This can be explained by the fact that Vietnam was severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic from January 2020 to the end of the first quarter of 2022, with social distancing applied in many parts of the country. Therefore, carrying out administrative procedures, including import and export procedures, was also hugely affected.

More companies reported difficulty in procedures for "Medical equipment import license" and procedures for "Receipt number of declaration form of imported cosmetic products" under the authority of the Ministry of Health, with respective growth of 21% and 20%.

In the opposite direction, fewer companies found it hard to complete procedures for "Certificate of technical safety quality and environmental protection for imported motor vehicles" and " Certificate of technical safety quality and environmental protection for specialized vehicles," provided by the Ministry of Transport, with respective declines of 4% and 3%.

Meanwhile, according to VCCI's overall assessment, NSW has brought about positive changes in the settlement time of administrative procedures.

In the time aspect, 10 out of 12 administrative procedures need a shorter time when conducted via NSW than that via traditional methods. The time needed is reduced by 5-25 hours. The biggest time reduction is seen in procedures for "Registration for quality inspection and certification of imported animal feeds" provided by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, with 25 hours fewer.

The two procedures delivered by the Ministry of Health are exceptions, out of the current general trend. The time needed to apply for "Medical equipment import license" via NSW is up to 632 hours, 84 hours more than the traditional filing method. Similarly, the time needed to receive the "Announcement of imported cosmetic products" is 25 hours more (from 153 hours when applied directly at the Ministry of Health as before, to 178 hours when submitted via NSW).

Ten out of 12 procedures need less time to get settled on NSW than traditional methods, with the amount of time reduced by 26-54%. Notably, the procedure for Import/export licensing for industrial precursors is the only one to have the settlement time cut by over half.

To improve the working performance of the National Single Window, VCCI suggested that NSW soon be integrated with services and utilities like in many other countries, such as electronic payment or electronic phytosanitary certificate (ePhyto) with other ASEAN countries. In the long term, NSW needs to be more centralized to not only provide public services but also offer business-to-business connection platforms. By accessing NSW, companies will not only solve administrative procedures but also find partners and service networks for their production and business activities.

By Le Hien, Vietnam Business Forum