City urged to attract overseas Vietnamese for economy

Wednesday, Jan 04, 2017 10:29

Overseas Vietnamese play an important role in developing HCM City’s economy, but the city lacks the legal framework required to fully utilise their capabilities. — Photo

Overseas Vietnamese play an important role in developing HCM City’s economy, but the city lacks the legal framework required to fully utilise their capabilities.

“The role of overseas Vietnamese is not just sending foreign currency back to their families, but also having good relations with international politicians, multinational companies, investment funds and banks,” Dr Dinh Thanh Huong, an ethnic Vietnamese living in France and lecturer at University Paris 12 was quoted as saying on the Government’s website

Therefore, the city should have a dedicated channel for overseas Vietnamese, and from that the city could source capital, technology and senior experts who would come back and contribute to its development, she said.

“For those who would like to return with their families, besides providing a favourable, transparent and supportive business environment, the city should also assist their family members with accommodation, schools and jobs.”

Dr Nguyen Tri Hieu, who has spent many years living in Viet Nam and working in the financial sector, was apprehensive about the gap between the Vietnamese and international legal frameworks.

“Viet Nam does not have a personal bankruptcy law while its closed foreign currency management system does not allow overseas Vietnamese to easily repatriate their profits or transfer money.”

Nguyen Hong Hue, Vietnamese-Australian chairman of BankPay, said if Viet Nam had stringent policies to protect the environment, it would attract many “green”, stable, long-term investors.

“If managers loosen environmental protection norms for more FDI, I am afraid that current earnings will not be able to compensate future losses.”

At the macro level, Viet Nam should have a national environmental impact report for every five to 10 years of development with the participation of both domestic and foreign experts, he said.

At the micro level, relevant authorities must make use of independent, third-party assessors to assess environmental impact reports.

According to the city Department of Planning and Investment, of 1,110 enterprises funded by overseas Vietnamese, 80 per cent are based in HCM City.

According to The Economist Intelligence Unit, if HCM City cannot achieve a breakthrough in its rate of economic growth, by 2025 it will rank a lowly 96th in Asia in terms of competitiveness.

City’s record credit growth

Commercial banks in HCM City saw record credit growth of 18 per cent in 2016, according to the State Bank of Viet Nam (SBV).

To Duy Lam, director Director of SBV’s HCM City Branch, said the city’s total credit balance reached VND1,457 trillion (US$64.09 billion) last year, with the production and business sector accounting for 78 per cent of the total.

Commercial banks’ total deposits increased by 16 per cent over previous years, he said. In addition, a nationwide programme to connect commercial banks with enterprises under Government Resolution 35 achieved positive results.

To date, 21,914 customers in the city have received loans with a total amount of VND281.216 trillion.

In 2016 online banking services at commercial banks in the city continued to improve with the number of customers using the service surging by more than 54 per cent over 2015.

This year, SBV’s HCM City Branch will continue guiding commercial banks in the city to improve credit growth safely and sustainably.

SBV’s HCM City Branch plans to focus on providing loans for production and business fields, which will conform to credit growth regulations and credit growth targets, especially strict control credit for risky sectors such as stock, property and consumer credit.

It aims to continue monitoring monetary and credit policies in 2017 to maintain stable inflation, achieve its credit growth target, facilitate economic growth, and remove obstacles for enterprises. — VNS

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