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Expecting the Government to step up further to improve the business environment

13:55 | 04/01/2021

VCN - According to Vu Tien Loc, Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), besides urgently requesting specific actions to reduce costs for businesses to cope with difficulties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the business community also expected the Government to take specific and quick measures to immediately resolve bottlenecks hindering production and business activities.

Mr. Vu Tien Loc

2020 has been a turbulent year for the Vietnamese business community, however, the Vietnamese economy still achieved growth. To get that result, we must mention the timely support from the Government to the business community. Could you please tell us more about this?

The successes in the economic aspect were the result of the State's efforts from the beginning of the year to present in controlling the Covid-19 pandemic and recovering production and business activities for enterprises. Especially, the signing of a series of free trade agreements and investment protection agreements has opened up new opportunities for Vietnamese businesses with potential markets.

In a period that the Covid-19 pandemic has caused a serious impact on the Vietnamese economy, the Government stepped up the reform of administrative procedures and the application of information technology to settle administrative procedures with the operation of national public service portal, continuing to promote a programme of reviewing and simplifying business conditions with an emphasis on reforming business rules and eliminating overlapping conflicts. Notably, in May, the Government issued Resolution 68 on reducing and simplifying regulations related to business activities in 2020 - 2025, with a very specific goal: 20% reduction of and 20% of the cost of regulatory compliance related to business operations.

In particular, we must mention the outstanding efforts of Vietnamese businesses in this unprecedented difficult situation. Many businesses have planned to deal with difficulties, made great efforts to maintain production, taken initiative in raw materials, and changed products to survive. All businesses try to have small orders to ensure that their employees have jobs and income.

Can you tell us about enterprise’ expectations for the Government's upcoming solutions to overcome challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic?

The lessons learned from the successful control of the Covid-19 pandemic can be fully applied to supporting enterprises for recovering production and business development. It is the flexible and proactive management of the Government, constantly following the practical situation to have appropriate and timely solutions; proactively providing complete, transparent, widespread and timely information; selection and application of pandemic treatment measures base on the level of risk; and concentrating on the effectiveness of coordination between sectors and levels.

Besides urgent requests for specific actions to reduce costs for businesses to cope with difficulties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the business community also hoped that the Government would take concrete and prompt measures to solve the bottlenecks that are hindering enterprises to take advantage of integration opportunities from FTAs ​​in general and the EVFTA in particular to recover from the negative impacts caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and continue to develop.

In terms of infrastructure, the VCCI and the business community proposed that the Government should focus on the effective implementation of the Public-Private Partnership Law and the Public Investment Law with the priority given to transport infrastructure and ongoing projects. In terms of enhancing competitiveness, although this is the job of each business, the business community expected the Government to support businesses in this matter. Specifically, at Vietnamese Trade Offices abroad, it was necessary to establish a market portal and business connection for enterprises, especially with the EU and markets where Vietnam already has an FTA (with information on trade commitments with Vietnam; import and export procedures; system of relevant legal regulations; information on market characteristics, distribution channels; focal points and partners demand).

In the country, for groups of agricultural products that partner nations have specific requirements on technical standards, food hygiene and safety (eg irradiation and inspection before loading) the Government should support the establishment of technical centres to guide manufacturers and exporters in implementing the requirements and conduct inspection of goods for free or applying preferential cost in accordance with the standards of the importing country.

Regarding the promotion of administrative procedure reform and creating a suitable business environment, what are the expectations of enterprises?

The business community expects that the Government will continue promoting improvement of the business environment and national competitiveness, with a focus on administrative procedure reform and business conditions, cutting costs for firms.

In recent times, the Government has made great efforts to slash business conditions. The annual survey of 10,000 enterprises in 63 provinces and cities of VCCI last year showed the rate of enterprises having difficulty applying for a license decreased to 35%, compared to 42% in 2018. However, 35% of enterprises having difficulty applying for a business license is still a relatively large number. Resolution 68 issued by the Government was expected to promote a wave of business condition reforms in 2020.

At the same time, it is necessary to focus on reviewing and optimising the inter-sector administrative procedures process, especially procedures related to investment, construction, land and the environment. We must implement administrative reform in the direction of reducing compliance cost burden for businesses and minimising the chance of incurring informal costs, while accelerating the application of IT in solving administrative procedures and increasing the number of online public services at level 3, 4. Towards the creation and interconnection between State management authorities with enterprise databases to ensure State management for enterprises is carried out synchronously.

Continue reducing the burden of inspection and examination of enterprises towards applying the principles of risk management in inspection and examination. To clearly identify the focal point for controlling enterprise inspection activities in each locality, including inspections of central authorities; soon publicise on the website of the state authorities the list of enterprises subjected to be inspected, examined in accordance with the plan, as well as results of the inspection and examination after reaching a conclusion.

Besides that, there is a need for stronger reforms in specialised inspection. Thoroughly apply the principles of risk management, shifting from pre-inspection to post-audit and minimising the overlap in specialised management and inspection.

Especially it is necessary to coordinate with business associations to conduct regular and substantial business dialogues. Ensuring micro, small and medium enterprises are able to attended these meetings and dialogues. Timely solving problems of enterprises; assign the provincial business association to monitor and supervise the settlement process; and periodically conduct public assessment of the results of solving problems from businesses. Timely posting information about feedback, assessment, reflecting problems, proposals and complaints of enterprises; continue to implement the performance assessment of the department, sector, district through the development and publicity of the Department, Sector and District Competitiveness Assessment Index (DDCI) on a regular year.

By Xuân Thảo/Thanh Thuy