VET follows proceedings at a meeting between Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phu and the business community in Ho Chi Minh City on April 29.
7.45am: The meeting will get underway at 8am but Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc arrives 15 minutes early to shake hands and talk with business representatives.
He is accompanied by Deputy PM Truong Hoa Binh, Deputy PM Vuong Dinh Hue, Deputy PM Trinh Dinh Dung, and Deputy PM Vu Duc Dam. Politburo Member and Secretary of Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee, Mr. Dinh La Thang, is also in attendance.
8am: The conference begins.
PM Phuc emphasizes that the business community is one of the most important drivers of economic growth in Vietnam and so needs to be heard and supported by authorities. This conference, he said, is the chance for him to do so.
The appearance of four Deputy PMs is also a sign of the comprehensive support coming from the government to the business community.
PM Phuc expects that through a spirit of discussing issues transparently and in a straightforward manner the outcome of the conference will be feasible solutions and improvements to the investment and business environments.
8.10am: Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), Mr. Vu Tien Loc, stresses that the next five years should see the business community supported as much as possible.
In the past 15 years, he said, since the approval of the Law on Enterprises, there have been more than 941,000 businesses licensed but as at December 31, 2015 more than 428,000 enterprises, or around 45 per cent, had ceased operations.
This is normal in business, he added, but it is important to note that half of these have ceased operations in the last three years. The number of enterprises wound up in 2015 was more than 80,000.
This should prompt the government to improve the investment and business environments so that enterprises can survive and thrive.
8.40am: The Vietnam Association of Small and Medium Enterprises made eight proposals, including the principles of freedom of association and a national steering committee for startups.
8.45am: The American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Vietnam reviews Vietnam’s environment laws and trusts that the new government will facilitate a rise in the country’s private sector.
9.22am: The Japan Business Association in Vietnam (JBAV) emphasizes software development and agriculture as two driving forces for Vietnam’s economy in the time to come.
9.43am: A representatives of Korean businesses in Vietnam highlights labor and salaries in Vietnam. He suggests that the government should not be too rigid in this issue and needs to be more flexible. He also complains that current policies make it too difficult for enterprises to employ foreign workers and experts.
10.06am: Mr. Vu Duc Giang, on behalf of the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS), said the industry will be an important locomotive in the economy in the future, especially with the TPP coming into effect. Like the Korean businesses, Mr. Giang expects the government will make progress regarding labor and salary issues. He also hopes that there will be fewer investigations so that the business community can focus on business.
10.16am: The European Chamber of Commerce (EuroCham) in Vietnam emphasizes the issues of energy, pharmaceuticals and intellectual property rights in Vietnam.
10.33am: Mr. Le Hoang Chau, Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City Real Estate Association (HoREA), calls attention to land use fees being a burden not only for local enterprises but also foreign enterprises. He also underlines complications in the verification process and asks for simplification.
10.40am: Tea break
11.05am: Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung said that many positive socioeconomic results were recorded in a range of sectors and many targets reached in the 2011-2015 period.
The market economy mechanism is being completed, with improvements made to a host of legal documents, bringing positive reforms and creating a favorable and transparent business environment for all economic sectors. The private sector is playing a more important role, contributing 48.3 per cent of all social investment by the end of 2015.
The private sector still faces many difficulties in accessing resources and the support policies of the government, which has a negative effect on the country’s competitive capacity.
GDP growth of 6.5 to 7 per cent over the next five years requires the government and the business community improve growth quality and efficiency as well as competitive capacity.
The Ministry is committed to prioritizing tasks to support the business community in all economic sectors.
11.14am: The Minister of Finance committed to accompany enterprises to improve mechanisms and resolve bottlenecks.
Enterprises still face a range of difficulties in paying taxes and making customs clearances, he acknowledged.
Solutions include reducing the time for customs clearance and paying taxes and accelerating online customs services.
The Ministry is committed to listening to enterprises’ opinions and improving policies to support enterprises, he said.
11.25am: State Bank of Vietnam Governor Le Minh Hung said it will continue to work with enterprises.
Credit has returned to solid growth this year compared to 2015.
The Vietnam dong faces certain challenges such as slower economic growth and faster CPI growth.
Credit growth is relatively high, with medium and long term credit increasing 5 per cent as at the end of last year, while deposit rate are increasing slightly and continuing upwards.
In order to manage inflation at less than 5 per cent, Mr. Hung said that policies will be implemented flexibly in managing average deposit and loan rates.
The SBV committed to retaining interest rate stability, but their management must be in line with the macro-economic situation.
11.40am: Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh said the Ministry views reforming public administration as the most important matter and has implemented many solutions and will soon bring public administration activities online to make it easier for businesses and the people.
11.52am: Minister of Construction Pham Hong Ha asked the Prime Minister to direct local units to increase their planning processes, including regional planning, investment planning, and urban planning, which will provide a platform for urban development.
12pm: Minister of Public Security To Lam said the Ministry will create a secure environment for businesses and has already identified weaknesses at enterprises.
12.14am: The Minister of Labor, Invalids and Social Affair said that to 2017 the minimum wage will be based on workplace productivity and other factors.