Grouping businesses to best advantage is one of the most important tasks for restructuring State-owned enterprises.
According to a World Bank report, State-owned enterprises (SOEs) account for only one per cent of the total number of domestic businesses but they hold about 39 percent of total State-invested capital, 45 per cent of total fixed assets and 25 percent of bank loans. This shows an improper allocation of resources.
WB economist Deepak Mishra said though the number of SOEs has reduced sharply, those in operation still fail to use their fixed assets and loans effectively.
SOEs only earn 1 dong in profit from 1 dong in investment while businesses in other economic sectors can get a good return of 21 dong, he said, adding that SOEs mostly earn 1.7 dong in return from 1 dong invested in labour employment but other businesses can get 16.3 dong.
Mishra said it is necessary to divide SOEs into three groups: group one consists of those that need immediate equitization (investors are allowed to buy up to 100 percent of stake), group two includes those that need rearrangement before equitization (investors are allowed to buy up to 49 percent of stake), and group three embraces those under 100 percent State ownership.
He also proposed applying the comprehensive restructuring mechanism including boosting the transparent process of information among SOEs, including State-owned economic groups; applying the modern business management system, and promoting the restructuring of SOEs, including parent companies of State-owned economic groups.
Nguyen Trong Dung, Deputy Director of the Business Innovation Department under the Government Office, said the number of SOEs has reduced from 5,655 in 2001 to 1,309 in 2011.
However, he said, many of SOEs are not yet prepared for rearrangement in both business operation and management.
Dung said businesses in other economic sectors are not willing to join State-owned economic groups operating in high-risk fields, which have low management skills and financial capacity.
Dung described grouping businesses a key element in restructuring SOEs to improve their business efficiency and competitiveness.
The State only maintain its 100 percent ownership in certain areas such as national defence and security, multi-purpose electricity production, key railway lines, airports and sea ports, he said.
Anyway, there remain certain snags in the restructuring of SOEs as it will affect some major economic groups, not to mention other problems such as redundant workers and high costs for restructuring.
Pham Viet Muon, Vice Chairman of the National Steering Committee for Enterprise Reform and Development, said it is crucial for the State to control businesses operating in important fields in order to use them as macro tools for regulating the market if need be.
Muon also emphasized the need to boost transparence and democracy in the restructuring of SOEs, which he said will improve supervision by authorities.
The Government has recently asked SOEs, including economic groups involved in important areas to submit their restructuring plans as early as possible in the first quarter of 2012.
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