Vietnam gov’t promises to ease cost pressure on businesses

‘Costs are burdening businesses in Vietnam and we have to help reduce this pressure on the enterprises’

Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (L) meets with businesspeople at the conference in Hanoi on May 17, 2017.

Vietnam’s government acknowledges the tremendous financial pressure building up on local and foreign businesses operating in the country, and is therefore committed to working to lift these burdens off the firms’ shoulders.

As he chaired a pro-business conference with some 2,000 attendees on Wednesday, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc tasked relevant agencies with finding solutions for cutting customs expenses, taxes, logistics charges, and license and permission application fees, as well as other expenditures for assessment, inspecting and testing protocols required by the state.

“These costs are burdening businesses in Vietnam and we have to help reduce this pressure on the enterprises,” the premier told local and international business owners in the televised conference in Hanoi.

Encouraged to make no secret of the difficulties they have to face when doing business in Vietnam, local and foreign enterprises actively voiced their feedback to the prime minister, who pledged to build a ‘constructive government’ committed to creating positive conditions for enterprises and startups.

Speaking at the conference, Pham Hong Hai, managing director of HSBC, hailed Vietnam as a spotlight in the region amid a changing world economy, thanks to its competitive labor cost and political and macro-economic stability.

Hai added that the Phuc administration’s commitment to becoming an incorruptible, active and constructive government also helps inspire the business community.

The HSBC executive thus recommended that the government pay attention to connecting domestic and foreign-invested enterprises as well as to the fields that Vietnam has competitive advantages.

Le Van Kiem, chairman of the board of directors of the Long Thanh Golf Investment and Trading JSC, expressed his concern over financial matters and called on the government to stabilize interest rates to facilitate the implementation of long-term projects.

Nguyen Huu De, chairman of the Hop Luc JSC and president of the Business Association of the northern province of Thanh Hoa, underlined the need to rearrange the public servant staff in order to raise the efficiency of Resolution No. 35.

De, who is also president of the Vietnamese Private Hospital Association, added that it is also necessary to involve private enterprises in the health sector to ease the overload of state-owned hospitals.

Swift actions

Shortly after the conference, the Government Office held a press meeting later the same day, announcing the next steps to be taken based on feedback PM Phuc had received from the business community.

The Government Office told reporters that the premier had signed an instruction, requesting that competent forces such as police, customs and inspectors avoid launching overlapping inspections into businesses.

According to the directive, each business will be inspected or audited no more than once a year except for cases where firms are found breaking the law.

“The issuance of the instruction demonstrated the government’s prompt and drastic response to support the development of enterprises,” Minister, Chairman of the Government Office Mai Tien Dung said.

Also at the press conference, Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung said the government would push ahead with administrative reform to enable businesses to develop in all fields and support enterprises to promote innovation, industrial modernization, and human resource development.

The minister urged ministries and departments to revise and simplify business and investment regulations in accordance with the law on investment and the law on enterprises.

Concluding the event, PM Phuc requested cabinet members to continue studying solutions to better implement the government’s resolution on supporting and developing businesses until 2020, using proposals made by the business community during their conference with the head of government.

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