Scene at the 2017 year-end session of the Vietnam Business Forum (Photo: baodauthau)

Hanoi (VNA) – The 2017 year-end session of the Vietnam Business Forum (VBF) opened in Hanoi on December 12.

The event, an annual dialogue between the Government and business community, was co-organised by the Ministry of Planning and Investment, World Bank, International Finance Corporation, and VBF Consortium.

Opening the forum, Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung said 2017 marks significant moves by the Government in building a favourable business climate, citing the issuance of Resolution 19-2017/NQ-CP on enhancing business environment and national competitiveness, and Resolution 35/NQ-CP on supporting growth of enterprises toward 2020.

The year was earmarked for the implementation of business-cost-cutting measures, he said. According to the official, dialogues between authorities at different levels and enterprises were frequently held throughout the year, with public agencies and sector working to simplify administrative procedures and facilitate business operations.

In the first 11 months of 2017, 116,000 new firms were established, registering over 1 million billion VND (44 billion USD) in capital, up 14.1 percent and 42 percent from last year, respectively. Meanwhile, 24,000 companies resumed their business during the period.

Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) Vu Tien Loc pointed to existing difficulties and to the numbers of 11,000 dissolved firms and of 55,000 others suspending operation during the 11-month period. The figures represented respective annual increases of 3.3 and 3 percent, he said.

Administrative procedures were still a big obstacle to business performance. A VCCI report on the 2016 provincial competitiveness index showed that 35 percent of the surveyed companies spent at least 10 percent of their time to handle these procedures, which one every four of them considered the biggest difficulty to their operations.

Loc suggested the Government, public agencies and sectors focus on completing the list of conditional business sectors, simplifying the procedure of specialized inspection, and cutting costs for businesses.

Hirohide Sagara, Co-Chairman of VBF Consortium's Management Board, acknowledged economic progress Vietnam achieved after joining the WTO in foreign investment attraction, living standards improvement, and market economy building.

At the same time, he said concerns remain related to the apparatus’ transparency, efficiency, and labour productivity, he said, adding that the VBF year-end session aims at tackling these concerns for better growth of the private sector in Vietnam.-VNA