10:16 | 04/10/2016 Society
The industry and trade sector accounts for up to 80 per cent of Viet Nam's gross domestic product. It has been considered a key sector for State management of the economy. Its administrative reforms therefore have drawn public attention as considerably impact the business environment. The Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, Tran Quoc Khanh speaks to the media about the ministry's efforts in administrative reforms.
Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh
Many people blame complex Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) administrative procedures for causing difficulties for businesses, for example having to go to several departments to complete procedures. How will the ministry resolve the issue?
Businesses have not been required to meet with several departments or agencies when completing administrative procedures at the ministry. They have to go to the department in charge of their issue. This overlap in procedures took place when other ministries asked for the MoIT's opinion as each department is in charge of a certain sector. Our administrative procedures require businesses to meet with only one department, not three or four departments.
Administrative procedures are vital in economic management. I believe that Viet Nam's administrative procedures are not more complex than other countries. One example is when a Vietnamese businessman bought an entire town in the US it took him nine months to complete administrative procedures to open a coffee shop. In Viet Nam, it takes about two days to apply for permission to open a coffee shop.
Administrative procedures are not the problem. The issue is that whether management agencies can ensure transparency, publicity and facilitation in applying them. Do they implement the procedures in a modern and standard way? We should pay attention to the issue instead of abolishing an administrative procedure when we think it takes time. We have been organising conferences to collect opinions from people and businesses to find ways to maintain administrative procedures while ensuring facilitation and modern standards.
In the process of drafting a legal document, there are many administrative procedures said to be unsuitable in reality while some are still used despite being terminated. What does the ministry do to fix these issues?
We will continue to fix shortcomings. As I said before, shortcomings have been found in several legal documents after being promulgated. The shortcomings of Decree No 19/2016/ND-CP on gas trading is only one example. The shortcomings were uncovered thank to the participation of affected people and businesses in building legal documents. Management agencies had not collected opinions from firms while affected people had not paid adequate attention to legal frameworks. These factors made them unable to respond in a timely fashion to management agencies before promulgating a law. We have to listen to opinions from businesses to review legal documents.
The second issue is that legal documents which were built in the past could be unsuitable with today. These documents should be reviewed and modified in business as stipulated in the 2014 Business Law.
The ministry has been lambasted for separated management in sectors such as import-export or logistics. Businesses think that there should be common management to avoid overlaps. What do you think?
Businesses always dream about a single management agency in their sector. However, there is no country in the world with such an agency. Logistics is related to several sectors. Its transport relates to the Ministry of Transport, its services relate to the Ministry of Planning and Investment while import-exports relate to the MoIT. If logistics applied big data, it would relate to the Ministry of Information and Communications. This is why expecting a single management department for the logistics sector would be unrealistic. We instructed the Department of Import and Export to establish a special team to help logistics firms with administrative procedures. The team will take responsibility for resolving issues related to logistics.
Local firms like it when the ministry listens to them. However, they expect a deadline for the modification of legal documents. Do you have an exact deadline?
This is not an easy question to answer as legal document issues are under the Government's management. The ministry could quickly modify or remove circulars which are promulgated by our minister. However, we need a process to remove or modify decrees as they were promulgated by the Government. We wanted to announce the changes to businesses as soon as possible. We are listening for and finding the shortcomings. We expect people and businesses to wait for us as we are in the process of modifying the shortcomings.
We aim to improve administrative reform year by year. The ultimate purpose is to make people and businesses pleased with our administrative procedures.
The Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, Tran Quoc Khanh said the ministry has maintained 447 administrative procedures at all levels. Khanh said the number of administrative procedures was low; especially as several are under modification, re-granting or withdrawal.
However, he said the ministry has strived to simplify the procedures.
The ministry's Legal Department said that the simplification of administrative procedures has helped them save VND4.3 billion (US$191,100) a year based on average spending on implementation time.
The ministry has removed six administrative procedures while simplifying 33 in e-commerce, chemicals, alcohol, energies and food safety sectors so far this year.