Workers harvest tea buds (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) is determined to punish those whose lack of responsibility led to the prolonged equitisation of State-owned enterprises (SOEs), said MARD Deputy Minister Ha Cong Tuan.

He urged quicker equitisation of SOEs under the ministry’s management at a meeting in Hanoi on February 14.

MARD Minister Nguyen Xuan Cuong said equitisation is an opportunity for SOEs to revitalise but it also poses a lot of challenges.

Equitisation must be carried out in line with law and in a transparent fashion so as to prevent losses and protect the State’s interests, he noted, stressing in that process, the head of each agency and SOE must take the leading role.

Deputy Minister Tuan reported that from 2011 to 2016, the ministry took strong actions to re-organise, reform and restructure its SOEs, reaping encouraging outcomes. The MARD has equitised 12 corporations and companies directly subordinate to it and three science-technology businesses under the ministry’s institutes and universities.

It successfully auctioned the Hanoi Agricultural Produce and Foodstuff Import-Export Co. Ltd and will finish handing over the company to the successful bidder in the first quarter of 2017.

It is also working to equitise the Vietnam Rubber Group, the Vietnam General of Agricultural Materials Corporation Ltd, and the Vietnam Southern Food Corporation, he added.

However, Tuan admitted that many small firms have encountered difficulties in selling their stakes due to poor performance and modest capital. For example, four subsidiaries of the Vietnam National Coffee Corporation (Vinacafe) failed to sell their stakes although they have registered for share offering for two or three times.

After being equitised, while some businesses have operated in a more effective manner, others in which the State still holds a big stake have yet to live up to expectations, he added.

Pham Quang Hien, Director of the MARD’s department of enterprise management, said SOEs subject to equitisation should move to attract investors, especially strategic ones with good capacity, to reduce the State ownership at those firms to a level that is low enough to change their governance. It is also necessary to coordinate more closely with consulting firms to precisely assess the value of the businesses to be equitised.

Leaders of SOEs or the representatives of State capital who do not seriously or effectively conduct equitisation must also be strictly handled, he said.

In 2017, the MARD will assess the value of Vinacafe and the Vietnam Northern Food Corporation to prepare for equitisation.-VNA