Quang Nam Business Association: Supporting Enterprises to Overcome Challenges

11:39:58 AM | 2/7/2024

Before difficulties faced by the local business community, the Quang Nam Business Association has made many recommendations and proposals to authorities at all levels to remove obstacles in policies, administrative procedures, capital sources, land, progress extension and other issues. Mr. Tran Quoc Bao, Member of the VCCI Executive Committee, Chairman of the Quang Nam Business Association, said: There are still many challenges ahead but we believe that businesses will overcome them and recover investment, production and business activities and the association will always strive to stand side by side with them to live through all hardships.

What do you think about business activities in Quang Nam province today?

Quang Nam province now has about 8,500 businesses. Every year, 1,150 new companies are established but over 1,000 companies halt operations or go bankrupt. They face a lot of difficulties.

Notably, in the construction sector, from 2020 to 2023, due to the social distancing against epidemic, companies sometimes had to suspend operations, leading to construction delays, hard access to bank loans, not-started tax break scheme, increased transport costs and material prices, with iron and steel prices soaring by 20 - 30%. As a result, costs increased beyond estimation while price adjustments were not made in time. Furthermore, theoretical labor costs were much lower than actual costs. Companies also suffered the undersupply of stone, sand and other construction materials, resulting to higher costs and steeper losses.

Real estate companies faced a series of pressures from lending interest, site clearance progress, overdue tax and indebted land-use certificates and many accepted dissolution, bankruptcy or moderate operations. Many projects could not make any progress in a long time because they could not clear the land due to local people’s disagreement. This occurred because land compensation price was too low for them to give nod to the approved plan and accept the compensation price. Some projects advanced capital for site clearance but could not get compensated State budget in a long time, causing companies to suffer further financial shortages.

Although the tourism sector has recovered, it is facing debt structuring from banks. Besides, there is competition from tourist destinations in the region, so upgrading and innovating tourism products and services becomes urgent while the internal resources of businesses are still limited.

Perhaps, Quang Nam province-based companies have never confronted strong headwinds as they do today. But, they also need to seek directions and solutions; review resources for appropriate restructuring and improve management capacity. Confidently, by unlocking internal strength and engaging the effort of the entire political system, those difficulties and challenges will soon be resolved.

How has the association helped local companies to deal with difficulties?

The association has regularly exchanged and captured information from its members and businesses, promptly figured out each type of difficulty and obstacle to report to relevant authorities and proposed solutions to relevant bodies. Specifically, since January 2024, the association has sent documents to the Central Economic Committee, the Government Office, the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), the Vietnam Real Estate Association and other bodies and sent proposals and recommendations on legal procedures, access to capital, site clearance and other matters to the Provincial Party Committee, the Provincial People’s Council and the Provincial People’s Committee, other agencies and localities. Up to now, many agencies such as the Government Office and the Provincial People's Committee have responded with guiding documents for sectors and localities to support and encourage companies to tackle difficulties.

However, difficulties are enormous, on many fronts and in many fields. So, solving them takes time and a roadmap and outcomes are sometimes below expectations of enterprises. The association will continue to closely follow their operating activities, act as a bridge between the government and businesses and stand side by side with businesses to overcome any emerging difficulties.

In 2024, Quang Nam continued to assign the Quang Nam Business Association to act as the lead agency in carrying out the District and Department Competitiveness Index (DDCI). What are your perspectives on this responsibility? How can the survey strongly promote the process of improving the investment and business climate?

In the past years, Quang Nam province has constantly encouraged businesses and entrepreneurs to give their opinions on policies on economic development to enable them to conduct reforms and innovations. By actively collecting opinions, recommendations and suggestions of its members and its Standing Board, the association has won the growing trust of the Provincial Party Committee, the Provincial People's Committee, and related agencies. That is also the reason why the Provincial People's Committee assigned the association to lead the implementation of the District and Department Competitiveness Index (DDCI) from 2019. Being aware of its heavy responsibility, the association has actively coordinated with related bodies to deploy and complete its goals and plans. DDCI has become a tool to assess strengths and limitations of provincial departments, districts, towns and cities in building a business environment and improving the Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI).

In the following years, the Quang Nam Business Association will actively work with the Department of Planning and Investment to carry out the DDCI survey; dynamically advise the Provincial People's Committee on many contents relating to the investment and business environment, especially the Land Access Index. Although the Provincial People's Committee, departments and branches have facilitated companies to do business in the past years, the demand for land and premises has still met difficulty. Surveys showed that the main causes were overlapping and inadequate legal policies on land as well as limitations of implementing agencies, especially the capacity of public employees responsible for receiving and processing land procedures.

To make DDCI a more objective measure and truly the voice of businesses, from 2024, the Provincial People's Committee will continue to launch this index. Currently, in addition to updating contents and changing the methodology, the Quang Nam Business Association will consult with experts and executives inside and outside the province to complete the index and make the environmental improvement more substantive and deeper. In the coming time, when conducting surveys, the association hopes that provincial departments, districts, towns and cities to provide information and survey organizers must conduct them responsibly, fairly and objectively to obtain right and realistic results.

The accelerating implementation of Quang Nam Provincial Planning for the 2021 - 2030 period, with a vision to 2050, opens up many opportunities to attract more investment capital in the coming time. So, how will the association contact and support investors?

In the past years, the Quang Nam Business Association has not only bridged its members and local businesses but also effectively consulted businesses and investors in Quang Nam. Many investors which faced difficulties in project implementation projects contacted the association to get advice from experts and its members. At the same time, the association also conveyed opinions and suggestions of investors to relevant agencies, so underlying matters were removed and resolved. When investors have proposals, the association also contacts and arranges working meetings with the Provincial People's Committee and relevant agencies to support and accompany investors arriving in Quang Nam.

In the coming time, the association will continue to promote its bridging role to support the business community and act as an "extended arm" of government agencies in addressing issues relating to investors and businesses. Therefore, the association is ready to support investors to quickly unlock potential advantages of Quang Nam in the best and most effective way.

Thank you so much, sir!

By Ngo Khuyen (Vietnam Business Forum)