Seminar mulls ways to develop firms in HCM City hinh anh 1A view of HCM City. (Source: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) - Improving the investment and business environment and administrative reforms are among the measures needed to facilitate the development of businesses in Ho Chi Minh City, a seminar heard on September 6.

Tran Thi Binh Minh, deputy director of the city’s Department of Planning and Investment, said as of May 25 the city had 309,138 businesses, 89.25 percent of them very small, 4.3 percent small, 5 percent medium-sized and 1.37 percent large.

In response to the Government’s target of having 1 million businesses in the country by 2020, the city’s authorities last year issued a resolution to help expand the number in the city to 500,000, many of them large, she said.

The city has drafted specific measures to create favourable conditions for businesses, including simplifying administrative procedures, setting up hotlines to receive feedback from companies and help them resolve their difficulties in a timely manner and developing programmes to provide information about support policies, she said.

The city has also issued decisions to promote start-ups, especially by youths and students, and help household businesses develop into companies, she said.

Nguyen Dinh Tue, director of the Centre for Supporting Small and Medium sized Enterprises, said while administrative procedures have been streamlined somewhat, they are still slow and do not meet businesses’ expectations.

He called for continued reform and changing the approach towards it, otherwise “it will be hard to change the situation,” he said.

Businesses face difficulties, including the need to obtain a slew of sub-licences, inspections by multiple agencies, and problems related to funding, land, human resources, demand, and others, he said.

The number of businesses not functioning is very large at around 41 percent, he said.

The city needs to hold discussions with businesses to resolve their difficulties, he said.

To encourage household businesses to become companies, the city needs to offer free support with incorporation and other procedures, he said.

Several delegates said new businesses should be offered legal, accounting and tax consultancy at subsidised rates.

District leaders said relevant agencies should have clear instructions on helping household businesses expand into companies.

Nguyen Van Dung, head of the municipal People Council’s economic and budget division, said comprehensive measures are needed from the Government and local agencies to create a level playing field for businesses.

Besides, businesses themselves need to be more active in grasping opportunities and capitalising on their resources and the Government’s support policies to develop, he said.

Many delegates said it is also necessary to focus on quality rather than solely on quantity.

They also called for building strong national trademarks to enhance competitiveness in the regional and global markets.-VNA