Business environment still needs further improving

24-Apr-2018 Intellasia | The Saigon Times | 6:00 AM Print This Post

Vietnam’s efforts to improve the business environment and competitiveness have yielded remarkable results but they are not equal among sectors, leading the country to lag behind neighbouring countries, head a meeting in HCM City on April 19.

The outlook of upcoming business environment reforms is unpredictable, according to the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM) and enterprises participating in a seminar titled “Improve the quality of the business environment: reform business conditions, specialised management and administrative procedures.”

CIEM deputy president Phan Duc Hieu said the biggest challenge is the unpredictability of administrative reforms. Other neighbouring countries have reached their targets in reforming the business environment while Vietnam has issued Resolution 19 annually to improve the business environment without much progress seen.

Nguyen Minh Thao, head of the Business Environment and Competitiveness Committee at CIEM, said the government’s Resolution 19 has helped Vietnam improve the business climate leading to a 14-notch leap to 68th in the world ranking last year. Electricity access, investor protection and tax payment indicators have improved.

However, many other business spheres have barely made a move, such as in asset use, ownership registration and bankruptcy handling indexes that remain unchanged.

In addition, only the Ministry of Finance has sought to improve the cross-border trade regulations under its jurisdiction while 12 other ministries have failed to do the job as required. If the time for the cross-border trade is cut by a day, $1 million could be saved, Thao said.

CIEM president Nguyen Dinh Cung said Vietnam’s ranking in the business starting index was low and kept decreasing steadily from 2014 to 2017 despite the availability of Resolution 19 in as many years.

As for the abolishment of business conditions for specialised management, ministries have reported a reduction of hundreds of business conditions, such as the Ministry of Industry and Trade having scrapped more than 650 conditions. However, they have also added new conditions in replacement.

As for customs clearance, informal fees have become a new normal. If the informal fee is VND300,000 for each customs manifest, enterprises would end up paying VND10 trillion a year to the customs sector, Thao said.

Nguyen Dinh Tue, director of the centre for Supporting Small and Medium Enterprises of the HCM City Union of Business Association, noted the lack of the consistency of legal documents has resulted in more power for customs agencies.


Category: Economy, Vietnam

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