A company leader in northern Vietnam is grabbing attention penning an open letter last week to Nguyen Phu Trong, Party General Secretary and State President of Vietnam, detailing the excessive bureaucracy faced by local businesses.
The five-page letter, dated November 1, was written by Ta Quyet Thang, general director of Son Truong Ltd. Co. based in Hai Phong City, 120 kilometers east of Hanoi.
“To move forward, a country needs investment and a healthy base of devoted entrepreneurs. But how can businesses make investments with the current administrative procedures?" Thang wrote in the opening of the letter.
The letter then went on to list ten real-life examples of red tape faced by his company during different projects.
One example included the ten years Thang spent trying to acquire a certificate of land use rights for a hi-tech prawn farm he invested in in Hai Phong.
In another instance, a factory his company runs was denied a certificate after having operated for two years and paying tens of billions of Vietnamese dong (VND1 billion = US$42,600) in taxes.
When Son Truong Ltd. Co. invested more than VND122 billion ($5.2 million) in a cement factory in the north-central province of Quang Binh in 2012, the provincial administration promised to grant the company the permit to mine its stone from a nearby quarry.
However, no permits were issued for three years, forcing the factory to shut down as it could no longer withstand the costs of buying stones from a second party.
Notably, three of the company’s charity projects to build free bridges and schools for residents in Hai Phong were also plagued by unnecessary bureaucracy, Thang wrote.
The company was capable of finishing a single school in just 30 days, but it would take 300 days to put it into use as there were 23 different steps for the local administration to receive a donated building.
Similarly, it has been two years since the company agreed to fund the construction of a bridge in An Duong District in Hai Phong, but local authorities have yet to finish approving a design plan.
“For many reasons, not all businesses in Vietnam have the courage to speak up about such issues,” Thang wrote in his letter.
“But if everyone remains silent and doesn’t dare point out the flaws in the administrative system, there will be little progress and it will be a matter of time before Vietnamese enterprises go out of business,” Thang said.
“I hope that the Party general secretary and state president take the issues that I listed in my letter into serious consideration,” he added.