Regulatory reform a must to improve business conditions

Tuesday, Oct 29, 2019 09:23

Following the World Bank's Doing Business 2020 Report, in which Viet Nam lost one place in the ranking, experts have said the policy system must be reformed so investors are protected from risks. — Photo

Business confidence in the legal system remained low because local governments had made slow progress with regulatory reforms, Dau Anh Tuan, head of the legal department at the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), said on Monday.

Tuan admitted the fact following the release of World Bank’s Doing Business 2020 Report, in which Viet Nam ranked 70th out of all 190 economies – down one place from the previous year.

In the report, Viet Nam showed improvements in credit access and tax payments, but few improvements had been made to protect investors and shareholders or solve insolvency.

Tuan cited a VCCI report that said less than 50 per cent of firms would not consider going to court to resolve disputes.

Meanwhile, the completion of administrative procedures for land, tax and social insurance remained the most difficult tasks for businesses, he said.

“Businesses are still concerned about ‘post-business registration’ work. About one-third of all surveyed businesses had paid ‘non-official fees’ when finalising their business registration,” Tuan said.

“About 29 per cent are struggling to gain technical qualifications, and 16 per cent had to wait for more than a month to sort out paperwork so they could start operations.”

“If the legal system is not reformed, the market will not operate properly. An improved legal sector will protect investors from risks, and then they will be encouraged to invest in the economy and expand their businesses,” former director of the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM) Nguyen Dinh Cung said.

The problem with trying to improve the legal system is that if one item is amended, it is often held back by two or three others, he said.

“Viet Nam has made some improvements to its business conditions but the reforms are obviously still slow and lagging behind other fast-growing economies,” Nguyen Minh Thao, head of CIEM’s Business Environment and Competitiveness Committee, said.

“The reforms are slowing down and there are challenges to the economy as some indicators have either shown little improvement or no improvement at all,” she said.

Sectors and ministries must change their mindsets based on a willingness to help develop the business community, and all local authorities, ministries, sectors and agencies were required to take action together, according to Thao.

“(The Government) needs to make reforms to administrative regulations and policies and publicise tax procedures as well as provide assistance for taxpayers,” Hoang Thi Lan Anh, deputy director of the taxation reform department at the General Department of Taxation, urged.

In addition, tax officials must be better supervised and administrative work should be reformed in the sector, she said. — VNS

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