Reduce the number of licenses and inspection volume by 90 percent and 95 percent, respectively, thanks to the Decree No. 15

VCN - A survey of the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM) shows that, thanks to the Decree No. 15, enterprises can significantly reduce time, costs and risks; have more opportunities to diversify production and business activities.
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Reduce the number of licenses and inspection volume by 90 percent and 95 percent, respectively, thanks to the Decree No. 15
The workshop.

A revolution in the food industry

In the field of food safety management, before 2018, it was implemented according to the Food Safety Law (2010) and Decree No. 38/2012/ND-CP detailing the implementation of a number of articles of the Food Safety Law. However, the implementation of the provisions of Decree No. 38 causes many problems and inadequacies, increasing costs, time and reducing business opportunities for businesses. Under the Decree No. 38, state management of food safety is mainly pre-inspection, but post-inspection management is left open.

To remove difficulties for businesses in the field of food production, processing and trading, the Ministry of Health has coordinated with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Ministry of Industry and Trade to gradually remove inadequacies in food safety management. On that basis, the Government issued Decree No. 15/2018/ND-CP detailing the implementation of a number of articles of the Food Safety Law, replacing the Decree No. 38. The Decree No. 15 is considered a breakthrough institutional reform, demonstrating a fundamental change in thinking about state management, moving from pre-control to post-control.

Speaking at the Workshop "5 years of implementing Decree No. 15/2018/ND-CP on food safety: Results, issues and recommendations", according to Dr. Dang Duc Anh, Deputy Director of the Institute for Economic Management Research Central Economics (CIEM), the Decree No. 15 is considered a typical reform of state management methods for production, business and goods establishments. After five years of implementation, enforcement agencies and the business community appreciate the changes in the Decree No. 15 and expect this to create a good precedent for reform in other areas of state management.

Accordingly, the Decree No. 15 applies the principle of risk management based on the level of legal compliance of enterprises and the risk level of goods; additional subjects exempt from inspection; comprehensive reform of state management on food safety for imported food; decentralize state management, overcome overlapping and duplicative management; creating flexibility and initiative for businesses in implementing administrative procedures...

CIEM's survey show that businesses have significantly reduced time, costs and risks; have more opportunities to diversify production and business activities. Thanks to that, the number of businesses in the food industry increased rapidly; create job and income opportunities for tens of millions of workers; and makes an important contribution to GDP and economic growth.

On the part of state management agencies, post-inspection activities are strengthened and carried out more frequently. Customs authorities are relieved of customs clearance pressure; fast release time, meeting customs clearance requirements in line with international commitments.

In particular, the Decree No. 15 is considered a revolution in the food industry when applying risk management and shifting strongly from pre-inspection to post-inspection. Specifically, for low-risk foods (regular foods, dietary supplements), businesses are allowed to declare and take responsibility for themselves, contributed to reducing the number of licenses by 90 percent and the amount of state inspection by up to 95 percent. According to the assessment of the Ministry of Health, implementing the Decree No. 15 saves up to 8.5 million workdays and VND3,332.5 billion per year.

The survey results also show that, with 12,000 food production and processing enterprises (operating as of December 31, 2021), regulations allowing enterprises to self-announce their products help businesses greatly reduce costs. That does not include commercial enterprises and importers of food products.

Pay attention to post-inspection activities

Although there are many positive reform contents, according to Mr. Dau Anh Tuan, Deputy Secretary General, Head of the Legal Department, Vietnam Confederation of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), the Decree No. 15 still has some points that need to be further researched and improved. For example, the regulations are not clear and specific in how to determine the proportion of imported goods in case of applying the reduced inspection method; inconsistent enforcement in cases where the product is a prototype.

In some local agencies, there is still the phenomenon of officials asking businesses to supplement documents many times; there are even requirements that are outside the regulations. The Decree still lacks regulations on registration of imported foods containing new additives...

Therefore, Dr. Nguyen Minh Thao, Head of the Business Environment and Competitiveness Research Committee (CIEM), said that it is necessary to maintain and promote the reforms of Decree No. 15; research and apply this management approach to other areas of state management.

In addition, state management agencies must focus on post-inspection activities. At the same time, monitor and improve the responsibility of officials in enforcement activities; ensure serious implementation in the spirit of cooperation and support for businesses. Stop asking businesses to supplement documents beyond regulations or make general, unclear requests. In particular, it is necessary to ensure policy stability; do not propose or promulgate new regulations that create additional burdens on business costs and unnecessary legal compliance costs for businesses and propose amendments and supplements to a number of specific regulations of the Decree No. 15.

By Xuan Thao/Kieu Oanh

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