Taxation and customs general departments must simplify their administrative procedures and eliminate unnecessary licences to attract more overseas Vietnamese investors, experts said. (Photo: tapchitaichinh.vn)

HCM City (VNA) –  Taxation and customs general departments must simplify their administrative procedures and eliminate unnecessary licences to attract more overseas Vietnamese investors, experts said.

“Vietnamese taxation and customs policies were reformed in recent years to create favourable conditions for local and foreign enterprises to do business,” Peter Hong, deputy chairman of the Business Association of Overseas Vietnamese, said.

“However, Vietnamese taxation and customs policies change regularly, which makes it difficult for Vietnamese to have information. Also, the overseas Vietnamese business community does not receive much information about incentive projects and fields,” he added.

Hong said overseas Vietnamese send a huge number of remittances every year to Vietnam, but only a small amount of the money was used to invest and conduct business.

For the first 10 months of the year, a total of 2.7 billion USD of remittances were sent to HCM City, of which only 260 million USD were channelled into investments.

“It means that most remittances have been spent for individual purposes and they haven’t created any new value at a time when the city lacks huge capital for socio-economic development,” he said.

Chau Ba Long, general director of Minh Nguyen enterprise, said the Government had given priority to supporting industries, but machinery imports for these industries had not received preferential taxes and customs procedures as several other industries had.

“More importantly, import licenses for secondhand machinery are out of date,” he said.

The law stipulates that enterprises cannot import 10-year-old machines, but in reality many machines have operated over 10 years and retain their quality and efficiency better than many new-tech domestically made machines.

David Ngo, a businessman, cited the example of automated and engineering machines from Germany, France and Sweden.

“Such machines operate for a long time and their precision is still much better than brand-new ASEAN products,” he said. “Furthermore, Vietnamese authorities regulate old and new technology based on the amount of time, which is inappropriate. Such regulations have restricted many overseas Vietnamese from importing machines.”

Many overseas Vietnamese businesspeople have also complained that their vehicles such as cars and motorbikes could not be brought into Viet Nam because of regulations on equipment, machinery and private vehicle imports that require time of usage rather than certain levels of efficiency and environmental protection.

They are also concerned about financial regulations which do not limit the amount of money that overseas Vietnamese can bring into Vietnam, but limit the amount that can be sent out.

“The regulation allows us to bring the same or less amount of money than we brought to the country. But if the time period is more than one year, we must have a licence from the State Bank of Vietnam. How can we benefit over the long term?” David Ngo asked.

Bui Viet Cuong, an overseas Vietnamese from Switzerland, said: “Regulations are very necessary to ensure State management in every aspect of life. The knowledge of overseas Vietnamese in finance is great, and relevant authorities should issue proper policies to encourage them to invest and promote the country’s development.”

Nguyen Huu Nghiep, deputy head of the HCM City’s Customs Department, said that authorities had tried to reform administrative procedures, especially online services, to reduce cumbersome procedures for overseas Vietnamese and investors, and have regularly organised forums to hear complaints.

“We will submit all proper and practical complaints to relevant ministries for adjustment in order to create the most favorable conditions for investors,” he added.-VNA