VN business climate needs reform

Friday, Mar 16, 2018 08:48

Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam speaks at the International Conference on Substantially Improving the Business Environment to Strengthen Economic Growth on Thursday. — Photo

Extraordinary efforts are needed to enhance the current national business environment, but Viet Nam is ready to do whatever it takes to overcome low productivity, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam and other delegates concluded at the International Conference on Substantially Improving the Business Environment to Strengthen Economic Growth on Thursday.

The Deputy PM commemorated administrative achievements across ministries, sectors and localities in improving the business environment over the past year. He expressed high hopes for the future, stressing the importance of economic restructuring and business environment development as keys to a better Viet Nam.

Dam said that although Viet Nam’s place in the international community had improved, the country’s levels of human resource development and labour productivity were still lower than that of other countries in the region and the world.

Ousmane Dione, World Bank Country Director for Vietnam, said that it was very important for all stakeholders to share information to effectively promote business environment reform.

According to Dione, the country needs to create a dynamic business sector and a competitive economy. Therefore, feedback mechanisms and impact assessments are important to achieve such objectives.

Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Van Trung said that over the past four years, national efforts to improve the business environment had brought remarkable results, contributing significantly to economic growth and poverty reduction.

However, the pace of implementation was not uniform, with some sectors trailing behind, Trung added.

He urged that government policies must be implemented to help narrow the gap between Viet Nam’s business environment quality and competitiveness and those of other countries of the same development level.

Trung promised that in 2018, the government will continue to set higher, more comprehensive goals for improving the country’s business environment.

He cited the Government’s Resolution No. 19 as a way to maintain the objectives of improving the business environment, emphasising the current success in business conditions reform and specialised management, boosting labour productivity and competitiveness of the economy.

Nguyen Dinh Cung, director of the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM), acknowledged the Resolution as having remarkable results since it was promulgated on a regular basis since 2014, with numerous improvement indicators such as tax payment, electricity access, social insurance and investors’ protection.

Cung also said that some other areas had experienced little change, such as business registration, contract enforcement, corporate bankruptcy and property ownership.

Although the goal for 2017 was to reduce current unnecessary business conditions by half or one third, only a few ministries, such as the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Construction have achieved this goal, Cung added.

This means Viet Nam has not reached the ASEAN 4 average for business environment, despite a large number of abolished business conditions, as the number of goods subject to lengthy specialised inspection has not met ASEAN’s standard objectives, especially at local levels.

Nontheless, Cung was confident that the Government has set feasible goals with specific solutions and clear responsibilities, and he expected it to have real impacts on the business environment in Viet Nam.

Regarding international experience and suggestions for Viet Nam, Catherine Masinde, Practice Manager of the East Africa Region in the Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice of the World Bank group, mentioned four remaining issues that could hold the country back from achieving its business environment development goals.

These issues include the lack of operational goals and detailed action plans at all levels, the lack of a transparent and effective interactive system between central and local government agencies, the lack of financial incentives in the public sector and the lack of focus on feedback mechanisms and user surveys.

Yesterday’s conference was jointly organised by the Government Office and the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI), in cooperation with the World Bank in Viet Nam, with the support of the Australian Embassy and the US Agency for International Development in Viet Nam.

Attending the conference were more than 300 representatives from local ministries, business associations and international organisations. — VNS

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