Boosting Practical and Effective Support for Business
Constantly taking business development and local development as the goals for creating practical activities to support overall development, VCCI Thanh Hoa is always an active and effective branch of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI). To learn more about these efforts, Vietnam Business Forum has an interview with Mr Nguyen Thanh Tieu, General Director of VCCI Thanh Hoa Branch. Ngo San reports.
Could you please introduce the branch’s business support results?
Under the leadership and guidance of the Party Committee and the VCCI Standing Committee, the support of the Thanh Hoa Provincial People’s Committee, as well as the efforts of all the staff, VCCI Thanh Hoa Branch has excellently performed its functions and tasks: Representatively protecting the rights and interests of the business community, assisting businesses and business associations to enhance their competitiveness, promoting trade and investment and building harmonious labour relations among enterprises. Legal advice and policies are important jobs of VCCI Thanh Hoa. Business support results are expressed in the following activities.
One, activities for a better business environment
After self-studies and opinions collected from enterprises, the branch put forth opinions for draft laws and draft programmes and projects concerning administrative procedures, business environment and business development.
The Law on the Promulgation of Legal Documents 2015, adopted by the National Assembly, stipulates that all legal documents with respect to rights and interests of the business community, must be consulted by VCCI. The Law on Vocational Training (2014) provides that VCCI and business associations are responsible for participating in strategy building and for promoting vocational training in the nation. The branch’s constructive opinions increased significantly in policies concerning business. In carrying out Resolutions 19/2014/NQ-CP, 19/2015/NQ-CP, 19-2017/NQ-CP and 35/NQ-CP dated May 16, 2016 on business support and development to 2020, and the commitment between the Thanh Hoa province Provincial People’s Committee and VCCI, the branch always collected business opinions to timely reflect to local authorities, State management agencies and VCCI to integrate opinions to report to the Prime Minister and the Government.
In addition, the company hosted two government – business meetings a year, one with provincial authorities and one with the Prime Minister. The branch’s enthusiastic, responsible and effective supports were highly appreciated by enterprises. Without doubt, this was a highlight of the branch in 2016.
Every year, the branch closely monitors the performance of the Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) of Thanh Hoa to analyse, report and supply data when requested. The branch also studied and contributed ideas to draft action plans on PCI improvement for Thanh Hoa province in 2016-2020 and to the province’s PCI system.
Two, the branch took actions to support businesses to improve competitiveness
To meet enterprises’ actual needs, the branch organised training in appropriate forms to develop human resources for businesses and help entrepreneurs improve their knowledge and management capacity. Start-up training and business empowerment; business start-up consultancy and business consultancy on business law and business planning; marketing, human resources, finance, import and export were major training contents. The branch hosted conferences to introduce, communicate and disseminate legal documents, mechanisms and policies, and mobilise enterprises to seriously implement regulations, social responsibility and corporate culture. It regularly provided information and guidance on the implementation of regulations on its website. Along with government-to-business dialogues, law introduction and enforcement guidance events also helped improve the sense of self-awareness and skills necessary for enterprises to comply with the law.
Three, the branch organised business connectivity, trade and investment promotion efforts, and supported businesses with international integration, like organising seminars and presentations, introducing markets, products and services of enterprises on the branch’s newsletters and website, and organising domestic market survey delegations. Every year, the branch hosts 3-5 business delegations to visit and survey the markets of the United States, Japan, South Korea, China and EU countries. In 2016, the branch received the consulting group from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Chemnitz Region (Germany) to discuss the organisation of a business delegation of Freiberg City to explore cooperation opportunities with Thanh Hoa businesses; and the specialist consultant delegation from Seongnam Industrial Promotion Agency (South Korea) to explore surveys, capture information for drafting and submitting ODA projects on support for upgrading and installing LED lighting systems in some streets in Sam Son and Bim Son towns.
In addition to the above activities, issuing certificates of origin (C/O) and representing employers in the tripartite mechanism are also regular operations of the branch. During the operation, the branch always receives the guidance and support of VCCI, Thanh Hoa Provincial People’s Committee and Ninh Binh Provincial People’s Committee, the dynamism, creativity and determination of the VCCI Thanh Hoa staff, and the response and support of the business community, especially member enterprises.
However, limited financial availability to a certain extent affected the quality and effectiveness of its activities. In addition, support for business establishment and operational capacity improvement of enterprises and business associations failed to keep up with the rapid growth of enterprises and business associations. Some associations lacked vision, direction, competences and resources needed for effective operation, resulting in ineffective support for their member companies.
In addition to its endeavours, VCCI Thanh Hoa actually needs to have support from VCCI, provincial authorities as well as the business community, especially the support from the People’s Committees of Thanh Hoa and Ninh Binh provinces, to engage the branch in local business development support programmes and projects. To date, the branch proposed the Thanh Hoa Provincial People’s Committee allow it to implement new programmes and projects in 2017, especially a start-up programme. If it is assigned by the Provincial People’s Committee to carry out these programmes and projects, the branch is confident of implementing them effectively.
In recent years, Thanh Hoa usually has had a high PCI rank. However, in 2016, its PCI ranking dropped to No. 31 out of 63 provinces and cities. Why did this happen? What will Thanh Hoa province need to do to raise its PCI ranking?
In 2015, Thanh Hoa province scored 60.74 points of PCI to secure the 10th position on PCI rankings. In 2016, it regressed to the 31st place with 58.54 points scored. Thus, compared with 2015, PCI of Thanh Hoa province dropped 2.2 points and 21 places in the rankings. Looking into specific indicators, two component indexes climbed in 2016: dynamism of provincial government and business support service. Meawhile, eight component indexes decreased. This survey reflected the reality of Thanh Hoa province in 2016.
In 2016, the government of Thanh Hoa province made great efforts to create a favourable business environment, took the lead in executing business-related guidelines and policies. It was the first province to sign the Cooperation Agreement with VCCI according to Resolution 35/NQ-CP of the Government of Vietnam, and the first province to organise events to introduce and implement Resolution 19-2017/NQ-CP to district and town leaders and to the business community. It actively hosted dialogues with business, directed them to tackle specific emerging problems, and issued some practical business support policies. It can be said that the determination of the provincial leadership was very high. However, there were still weaknesses in policy enforcement. The determination of provincial leaders was not adequately conveyed to policy enforcement officers and advisors. Acts of harassment and bureaucracy were still occurring.
In order to raise the PCI in the coming time, Thanh Hoa province should soon approve and implement the Thanh Hoa PCI improvement project in 2017-2020, which assigns specific objectives to every unit concerned and the responsibility of unit leaders. The province needs also pay attention to administrative procedure reform in essence, introduce a mechanism to assess and grade performance of public service agencies; seriously apply the monthly business reception calendar at provincial departments, districts, towns and cities to solve difficulties and problems against enterprises right at the grassroots level; fostering awareness, responsibility and professional knowledge of civil servants working directly with the businesses; sufficiently conveying the determination of the provincial government on enforcement officers to ensure the top-down policy efficiency; carry out the agreement on execution of Resolution 35/NQ-CP signed with VCCI. In addition to big enterprises and FDI enterprises, the province needs to pay more attention to supporting and facilitating small and medium enterprises, because this is the motive force for sustainable economic development of a locality and a country.