PM's first resolution in attempt to change business conditions

By Lam Le   May 1, 2016 | 08:10 am GMT+7

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has signed his first business resolution which aims to ease the administrative burden faced by enterprises, improve transparency and government officials’ accountability for 2016-2017 with vision to 2020. VnExpress International presents the key points of the resolution.

By 2017, Vietnam aims to achieve business environment on par with the average of Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and Thailand, known as the ASEAN-4. The Resolution 19, signed on April 28 by the Prime Minister, eyes to allow Vietnam to catch up with ASEAN-4’s average in indicators in World Economic Forum’s subindex of efficiency enhancers. 

Ministries and chairmen of provincial people’s committees are directly accountable to the Prime Minister on the results of implementing the resolution. By May 30, they are to submit specific programs and action plans for the resolution.

Completing legislation

Under the resolution, Vietnam will complete regulations on requirements for business investment according to the 2014 Investment Law as well as Enterprise Law circulars. Any cumbersome, unnecessary and ultra vires conditions shall be removed.

In particular, by July, Ministry of Justice, Government Office and other relevant agencies shall issue regulations to combine investment procedures with those for land, construction, procurement and environment. There should be a common understanding of the term “business operation requirements” and all procedures should be simpler and faster.

Reduced red tape and increased monitoring

Government agencies are to publicize all administrative procedures that have been standardized in the National Database by June 30. 

Time required to set up a new business will be down to three days. Procedures like submitting an application form and collecting results will be digitalized. Information will be shared among state agencies and linked to the national and ASEAN one-door portals in order to reduce bureaucracy, heading towards paperless procedures.

Specifically, Ministry of Finance will apply information technology in at least 95 percent of tax procedures; tax refunds will be made public while ensuring that 100 percent of tax refund applications are checked and 100 percent of complaints submitted by taxpayers are resolved within the timeframe required by law.

Vietnam Social Insurance, in coordination with Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs will develop a mechanism to connect enterprise information, whereby enterprises will have a single code. They will also be allowed to use e-signatures in all transactions with state agencies as well as with other businesses.

Also, procedures regarding social and health insurances will be simplified. The social insurance database of all provinces will be digitalized and connected while making efforts to create an online platform to submit insurance forms.

Citizens and businesses will also be able to send recommendations and feedback on administrative matters online or by mail. Heads of relevant agencies will be responsible for resolving such matters.

Additionally, Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Vietnam Lawyer’s Association, business and professional associations will independently monitor the quality of administrative service and provide recommendations for improvement to the government. They will also study to develop a ranking to measure how much various ministries, government agencies and provinces are trusted by the business community.

Implementation of the resolution will be closely monitored. ISO quality system will be applied to assess operations of state administrative agencies. Any official who causes inconveniences to citizens or businesses will face severe consequences.

Customs clearance

Rate of specialized inspections of imported goods at customs clearance will be reduced from the current 35 percent to 15 percent by the end of 2016. Specifically, only goods imported on a commercial scale will have to be inspected. Vietnam will conduct specialized inspections in line with international rules as well as push for active recognition of famous brands and goods originating from countries noted for strict quality control like Europe, the U.S. and Japan.

The Vietnam Automated Customs Clearance System (VNACCS/VCIS) will be completed and improved. Criteria for channeling goods as red and yellow for customs declaration will be made public. Vietnam also aims to reduce the proportion red or yellow channel checks. Furthermore, Ministry of Science and Technology is to resolve issues surrounding double checks involving a certificate of conformity and checks of individual imports.

Management of import and export goods is to be digitalized.

Land issues

Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment is to complete revisions to procedures for registration and transfer of asset ownership by December 2016.

There will also be a proposal to make public any land that is unused or sub-let at industrial zones, economic zones and export processing zones. Enterprises, especially small and mediums sized ones, should be able to easily access land. New policy to encourage concentration will prioritize development for large-scale concentrated agricultural production.

New regulations regarding issuance of land use right certificates and land auctions are set to make the process faster and simpler.

Additionally, Vietnam will develop a national database on residents, land and businesses.

Contractual disputes and bankruptcy proceedings

Ministry of Justice and Supreme People’s Court will complete regulations under the 2014 Civil Procedure Code and the 2014 Bankruptcy Law to simplify the process for contractual disputes and bankruptcy proceedings.

On a national business portal, information will be available on businesses undergoing bankruptcy proceedings, along with the list of arbitrators.

Regarding international disputes, Ministry of Foreign Affairs will push for Vietnam’s partners to recognize the country’s market regulations to protect the rights of Vietnam’s enterprises.

Construction permit

Ministry of Construction will develop the procedures for issuance of construction permits to make the process faster and cheaper. Verification procedures for fire safety, environmental impact assessment and construction design will be merged.

Food safety

Ministry of Health will revise procedures for food safety inspections to include risk management. Food safety will be checked mainly after clearance instead of simultaneously and during production process, instead of checking finished shipments.