President Truong Tan Sang has called upon small-and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to stay proactive, enterprising and creative in their operation to stand firm in both domestic and global economic playgrounds.

At the same time, SMEs should further sharpen their competitive edge so as to keep up with the world’s development trends, the State leader said at a reception for more than 100 outstanding business players in Hanoi on February 5.

He highlighted the important role of SMEs in the national socio-economic development agenda and extolled their active engagement in the Party, State, and the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) Central Committee’s activities such as the campaign “Vietnamese people prioritise Vietnamese goods” and the programme on building new-style rural areas.

He asked SMEs to ensure optimal working environment and higher income for their staff, while forging the linkage among businesses and concentrating on both domestic and export markets.

The SMEs association should develop its network at the grassroots level and help businesses overcome difficulties, as well as developing human resources, and promoting trade and technological transfer, he further said.

The President confirmed that the Party and State will continue to put forward incentives to help the players play in a favourable business environment and develop.

Statistics showed that SMEs make up overwhelming 97 percent of the total 600,000 active businesses across the country.

Last year, they created jobs for 3.5-4 million workers and contributed over 40 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) and 30 percent of the total State budget.

However, in the light of prolonged global economic crisis, only 20 percent of SMEs has been performing productively, while 60 percent are struggling to exist and the remaining could be resolved or halt operation.

To this end, businesses proposed that State place the SMEs restructuring in the national strategy equally important to the scheme on restructuring the State-run businesses, public investment, and banking system.

Enterprises also appealed for more preferential policies so that they could make more effective contributions to the national target of stabilising the macro-economy, curbing inflation, increasing integration capacity and competitiveness.-VNA