Illustrative photo (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – A forum on accelerating the process of reforming and improving the efficiency of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) was held by “Tap chi Kinh Te va Du Bao” (the Journal of Economics and Forecasting) in Hanoi on November 6.

Some 74 SOEs have been equitised in Vietnam since 2016, generating trillions of VND for the State budget, said Dang Quyet Tien, Director of the Ministry of Finance’s Department of Corporate Finance. After equitisation, many of them have gone on to further develop their reputation, he added.

At the same time, the official underlined problems such as lengthy delays in the equitisation of many other SOEs and uneven improvement in the performance of equitised firms. He noted that the operational efficiency and profitability of many SOEs are still relatively lower than those in private sector.

Deputy Minister of Investment and Planning Nguyen Van Hieu said over the past two decades, the country has seen a sharp decline in the number of SOEs, from 12,000 in the early 1990s to about 500 at present.

While these companies often manage a large volume of State-owned assets, their business results and contributions to the State budget have not matched the resources they own, he said, noting that many of the SOEs’ projects have actually suffered big losses.

In the time ahead, equitisation and divestment remain top priorities for the restructuring of SOEs, particularly the equitisation of corporations in the fields of mining, chemicals, and post and telecommunications. In the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and with the establishment of the Committee for State Capital Management, there is lots of work to be done to reform and improve the efficiency of SOEs, Hieu said.

He emphasised that SOEs must ensure they maintain accuracy and transparency in information disclosure and debt issues to attract investors.

Pham Duc Trung from the Central Institute for Economic Management recommended that SOEs improve their management mechanisms by applying international corporate governance practices and enhancing the efficiency of investment in State capital.

By 2020, the number of SOEs is expected to drop to about 100. The Government approved the equitisation plans of 136 SOEs for the 2016-2020 period, including big names like Vietnam Rubber Group.
In the last three years, Vietnam has earned 198 trillion VND (8.49 billion USD) from the divestment and equitisation of SOEs, which included the record 110 trillion VND (4.71 billion USD) generated from the divestment of leading brewery Sabeco. –VNA