A public-private dialogue under the Asia-Pacific Cooperation (APEC) took place in Hanoi on March 27 to seek measures to settle obstacles for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and very small enterprises (VSEs) in accessing capital sources.

The two-day event, held by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) in conjunction with the APEC Secretariat, aims to strengthen mutual understanding between the private sector and the Government, thus enhancing their coordination efficiency.

According to MOIT Deputy Minister Le Duong Quang, support policies to help SMEs and VSEs overcome barriers in their access to capital are crucial for the viability and development of the firms, especially in developing APEC countries.

Currently, more than 90 percent of businesses in Vietnam are SMEs and VMEs, according to the MOIT. Despite their significant contributions to the country’s socio-economic development, they remain vulnerable to changes in the economy, such as policy and legal adjustments, it added.

Meanwhile, Indonesian Deputy Minister of Cooperatives and SMEs Choirul Djamhari held that in order to help the firms overcome capital difficulties, the commercial banks should give them at least 20 percent of their total investment, while convincing commercial banks to adopt more preferential policies for loans for production rather than consumption.

Ha Thu Giang, deputy head of the state credit policy office of the State Bank of Vietnam (SVB), said since May 2012, the SVB has cut the interest rate for short-term loans in VND for SMEs eight times, from 15 percent to 8 percent currently.

At the same time, Professor Andrew Terry from Sydney University held that capital access is a major problem for SMEs, therefore, the Government should play a more active role in ensuring a favourable environment and mobilising sources of capital for the firms.

He also stressed the importance of a stable macro-economy and an effective finance base for SMEs and VSEs’ smoother access to capital.-VNA