Government mulls increases to foreign ownership cap

Monday, Sep 30, 2013 14:39

Vietnamese Government to open door to foreign investors' ownership in the near future. Photo

HA NOI (Biz Hub) — The Government will consider increasing the foreign ownership cap for non-State-owned enterprises, said Minister and chairman of the Government Office Vu Duc Dam.

Speaking at a press conference on Sunday, the minister said the administration of foreign owned corporations needed to clear, transparent and in line with international standards, said Dam.

He said the Government would soon devise a foreign-ownership ceiling for private sector businesses across each sector. In the banking system, big banks including Vietinbank, Vietcombank and BIDV have all equitised.

The Government currently enforces a maximum foreign-ownership quota of 30 per cent, but is set to lift the quota in favour of private sector development. The Government would also act to protect the legal rights of ownership to guarantee certainty and stability for investors, said Dam.

The move follows a ten year campaign to re-arrange and equitise state-owned enterprises; cutting back on non-core businesses from 12,000 to 1,300.

"We have followed a scheduled roadmap and we will continue to carry out equitisation of these enterprises," said Dam.

In an interview with Bloomberg in New York last week, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said the Government had planned to let foreign companies own up to 49 per cent of local banks in the near future. There are also plans to sell shares in companies such as Vietnam Airlines Corp., Vietnam Posts & Telecommunications Group, and Vietnam Oil & Gas Group.

Dong devaluation

Dong may be devalued by 2 per cent by the end of this year. Photo

The Prime Minister also said the government plans to devalue the dong as much as 2 per cent by the end of the year due to reports it is overvalued against the dollar. However, the Prime Minister said the timing of a devaluation would be dependent on the market.

In June, the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) raised the inter-bank average exchange rate by 1 per cent to VND21.036 per US dollar. This is the first move since 2011, with the bank saying any adjustments to the dong's value this year would vary within a 3 per cent range. — VNS

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