The business environment is the key for all businesses

VCN - In an interview with Customs Magazine on the occasion of the beginning of the Lunar New Year 2024, Mr. Pham Tan Cong (photo), Chairman of the Vietnam Confederation of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), said that improving the business environment will support businesses to recover, but businesses must also improve their own capacity to penetrate deeper into the value chain.
Finance sector determined to accompany, support businesses and people Finance sector determined to accompany, support businesses and people
Foreign direct investment enterprises gain confidence and momentum from improved business environment Foreign direct investment enterprises gain confidence and momentum from improved business environment
Business environment is the Business environment is the "lifeline" for all enterprises
The business environment is the key for all businesses

How do you evaluate the business community's efforts to overcome difficulties and challenges in recent times?

The year, 2023 is an extremely difficult year. We used to think Covid-19 was a terrible "earthquake" for the global economy, but it turns out that the "tsunami" after the earthquake is more terrifying. Unpredictable geopolitical fluctuations, high inflation... have caused many businesses to lack orders or have to stop operations, or even go bankrupt. Import-export turnover of goods in 2023 will have negative growth even though we still have a trade surplus, but it also partly shows reduced demand for production and business, weak consumption, causing businesses to reduce import of raw materials and goods. .

In such a context, the Vietnamese business and business community is still very persistent, patient and highly resilient. Many assessments say that Vietnamese businesses are almost exhausted and are struggling to maintain production and business activities. This shows the great spirit of overcoming difficulties of Vietnamese businessmen, willing to accompany and share with the country's difficulties. Thanks to that, our country's overall macro economy remains stable, ensuring social security targets and ensuring income for workers.

In your opinion, how has the support from the Government, especially fiscal policy, impacted the economy and businesses?

- It can be said that in recent times, the Government has listened very carefully to the opinions of businessmen and businesses responded in a very timely manner. Many institutional and business environment bottlenecks have been removed, helping to reduce difficulties for businesses. Not only does it open up new development space for businesses, but management agencies also support the opening of new market development space. In 2023, the Prime Minister has traveled to many countries, met with many large economic groups... to seek and bring business opportunities to the country, including the field of high technology and semiconductor technology.

In particular, fiscal policy has been contributing greatly to the recovery of the economy and the business community. Resolution 41-NQ/TW of the Politburo on building and promoting the role of Vietnamese businessmen in the new era (Resolution 41) has made a requirement to devote resources to businesses to develop. Therefore, the Ministry of Finance and VCCI as well as the business community have always accompanied us from developing policies to solving difficulties for businesses.

For example, the General Department of Customs and the General Department of Taxation have for many years coordinated with VCCI to organize dialogues and answer sessions on tax and customs policies, thus contributing to solving difficulties for businesses. Many recommendations of VCCI on tax reduction, tax support, fees... have also been supported, recognized and implemented effectively by the Ministry of Finance. Businesses need to help, so if there is still room for state resources, they should be released to support businesses from tax reduction, tax refund to promote public investment disbursement.

Improving the business environment is always an issue that receives a lot of attention. Could you tell us how the current situation has changed?

Over the past years, VCCI has always tried to contribute to improving the business environment to create convenience for businesses. Furthermore, the business environment is also a matter of survival for all types of businesses. I often compare the business environment to water, businesses to fish. If the water is clean, the fish will live healthily and grow strong. If the water is not good, even polluted, the fish will die or become stunted and unable to grow, or the fish will find a way to swim away.

​Therefore, taking care of and promoting improvement of the business environment is an important task of the Government, ministries and branches and needs to be implemented in the spirit of Resolution 41. Previously, it was only the favorable business environment. Resolution 41 has added a business environment of "favorable, safe, equal", meaning that more attention must be paid to macroeconomic safety, security, safety and equality between businesses, foreign enterprises and domestic enterprises; between large enterprises and small enterprises; between local enterprises and non-local enterprises.

VCCI has announced the Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) for many years, so in the near future it will have to issue notes on unfair and unfavorable conditions for businesses. For example, it may only take 24 hours for a foreign enterprise to carry out investment application procedures, but it may take more than a dozen days for a domestic enterprise. Or many businesses investing in renewable electricity are withdrawing due to policy changes, so they must find the cause to make appropriate changes and additions...

In particular, the viewpoint of not criminalizing economic relations has been officially included in Resolution 41 to create a safe environment, strengthen the handling of economic violations with economic sanctions, and respond to requirements of international integration. This is a viewpoint that is very pleasing to businessmen and as well as adding confidence to foreign investors.

Of course, improving the business environment or reforming institutions takes a lot of time, but once we are aware of the problem and have a policy to implement it, we will definitely be able to do it. Among them, a small issue of the business environment that ministries and branches can immediately do and reform administrative procedures, digital transformation and digitizing administrative procedures into the network environment. This is to help all procedures be public and transparent. However, converting procedures to online needs to be done synchronously and comprehensively; because if it is "half-hearted", additional procedures will arise, leading to a situation which people and businesses declare online, but they still have to make a hard copy at the procedure site.

In the future, to support businesses to develop sustainably in the integration trend, what issues need to be implemented, sir?

Although there are still many difficulties, the context shows that never have we had enough potential to be ready to seize the great opportunities of history like today. Therefore, in addition to continuing to improve the business environment and institutional reform from the authorities, the business community must cultivate its own knowledge, plus support from management agencies to have a new mindset of International integration, understanding international business culture, thereby participating in the global game. Along with that, it is necessary to build the level of reputation and brand recognition of Vietnamese businesses and entrepreneurs through building a business culture. VCCI has issued 6 business ethics rules to determine and identify the business culture of Vietnamese businessmen to create common value in integration.

In addition, businesses need support in finding partners and accessing new markets to open up opportunities to expand production and business. However, businesses need to improve production that depends heavily on imported raw materials as well as having strategies to increase the value of export products and enhance the business's position in the supply chain. Businesses should gradually find ways to transform production to be greener and cleaner to meet international standards, must upgrade themselves in the production value chain and penetrate higher value manufacturing fields.

By Huong Diu/Bui Diep

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