Gov’t urged to improve business climate

Removing barriers and improving the business environment would contribute to reaching economic growth targets in the context of a tight State budget, director of the National Economic Issues Department Tran Quoc Phuong said on September 19 at a Hanoi conference.

Phuong suggested three main elements needed to reach the GDP growth target of 6.7 per cent this year: monetary flexibility and financial management to curb inflation; promoting production in processing and manufacturing, developing tourism and accelerating disbursement of FDI and private capital; and restructuring the economy.

He added that the growth rate in the second quarter was 1 per cent higher than in the first. Other indexes were stable while inflation was less than 4 per cent. Financial and credit growth in the first eight months of the year was more than 10 per cent.

In addition, the director was also optimistic about the growth of processing, manufacturing and imports-exports. Exports posted growth of 18 per cent while imports rose by 22 per cent in the eight-month period. The import-export growth was expected to surpass the year’s targets.

However, he said, the Prime Minister does not want to achieve growth at any cost, only to take advantage of all opportunities to ease difficulties.

“In the context of a tight State budget, the importance is how to provide encouraging policies and mechanisms to create an open environment to businesses,” he said.

Vo Tri Thanh, former deputy director of the Central Institute for Economics Management, said Việt Nam has three to four barriers to growth, including the State budget; political reform; restructuring and stabilising the macro-economy while ensuring foreign reserves and curbing inflation.

“However, international integration would be one of the most important solutions as we have seen an increase of resources from FDI and the private sector,” Thành said.

Dau Anh Tuan, head of the Legal Department of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) agreed, saying that taxes have been an extremely important issue, affecting investors and enterprises.

A VCCI’s survey of 2,000 FDI firms operating in Vietnam showed that tax and preferential policies are one of four advantages in attracting foreign investors.

Tuấn said the Government and the Ministry of Finance should carefully evaluate any change relating to tax policies as it could have a major effect on businesses and the economy. “The long-term solution for economic growth is to reform, reduce costs and shorten time to implement administrative procedures for firms,” he added.

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