Vietnam’s competitive environment has improved after two years of implementing the government’s Resolution 19 on improving the business environment and national competitive ability.
Nguyen Dinh Cung, head of the Central Institute of Economic Management (CIEM), spoke to Vietnam News Agency about plans to further improve the national business environment and competitiveness.
How has Vietnam’s investment and business environment changed since the government issued Resolution 19 in 2014?
After two years, Vietnam has improved its investment and business environment as well as competitive ability. Prestigious international organisations have recognised this. The business community has appreciated the achievements and expects the investment and business environment to improve further in the future.
According to the “Global Competitiveness Report 2015-2016″ of the World Economic Forum (WEF), Vietnam ranked 56 out 140 economies, up 12 places compared to the 2014-2015 period.
The World Bank’s “Doing Business 2016″ report announced that Vietnam’ business environment in 2015 increased three places to 90 out 189 compared with the previous year.
Resolution 19 has had specific impact on businesses. For instance, it has affected taxation. The Ministry of Finance will be implementing an electronic tax refund from September 2016 nationwide, a move expected to pprevent the delay in tax refunds for some enterprises. Under the resolution, the government has set a target of information technology applications for 95 per cent of tax refunds, customs declarations and tax payments.
How do you look back on the two years of Resolution 19, including the difficulties implementing it?
The biggest difficulty was stagnancy and apathy in the ministries. I think the ministries had to change that attitude to ensure better services for enterprises. Businesses expected to have strong government commitment to further improve the business environment, remove barriers, reduce cost and risks, and create favourable conditions for the enterprises.
Vietnam has 196 documents, laws, decrees and circulars, and 87 of them need to be corrected. If the nation can carry out reforms in the legal system, it will witness a big change in the national business environment.
What is new in the 2016 version of Resolution 19 compared to the 2014 one?
One of the new points are specific tasks assigned to people’s committees in provinces and cities in order to improve the business environment and increase the Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI).
Version 2016 sets specific tasks, including reforms of the legal system, for ministries, especially important ones such as planning and investment, industry and trade, and finance, to reduce difficulties and risks for enterprises.
We expect to see big changes in improving customs clearance via the border gates formulated by the Ministry of Finance with the cooperation of 14 relevant ministries and State agencies.
We also hope for a change in granting construction licences because according to the World Bank, the time period for getting a construction licence in Vietnam has increased.
How can the government increase efficiency and improve the national business environment in the future?
Firstly, the government should follow closely and evaluate the implementation of the adjusted Resolution 19 according to its targets.
The government should also have teams directly inspect implementation of the resolution at ministries and people’s committees of cities and provinces.
Resolution 19 is one of initial major results of Resolution 35 on support and development of enterprises by 2020. Therefore, the national business environment will surely improve.
Meanwhile, domestic enterprises should reform themselves to ensure better production and business.