Fourth edition of Resolution 19
This is the fourth in a row the Government has issued a resolution with the aim of improving the business environment, called Resolution 19 as it was in previous years. In 2014, 2015 and 2016, the Government promulgated Resolutions 19 on key tasks and solutions to improve the business environment and enhance national competitiveness in the three years from 2014 to 2016, with a vision to 2020. After three years of executing Resolutions 19, Vietnam’s business environment has kept improving.

With its efforts for a better investment and business climate, in 2016, Vietnam had a record of more than 110,000 new enterprises. The World Bank (WB) announced that the ease of doing business in Vietnam climbed nine places from 91st to 82nd out of 190 countries surveyed. This was the best result to date thanks to the improvement of component indexes such as investor protection (up 31 places from 118th to 87th) and cross-border trade (up 15 places from 108th to 93rd).

In a government meeting with localities in late 2016, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam said, instead of issuing it in March or April as earlier, this year’s Resolution 19 was issued at the start of the year. This is the first time the resolution was included to the meeting between the government and localities so as to achieve better outcomes in business environment and competitiveness improvement.

Besides, according to many economists, Resolution 19-2017/NQ-CP was different from the previous editions. Resolutions 19 in previous years focused on WB indices while Resolution 19 of 2017 expanded to other indicators of WIPO and the United Nations.

Lifting many indicators
Resolution 19-2017/NQ-CP set a target of achieving the average level of ASEAN 4 by the end of 2017 in terms of business environment. Specifically, the index of starting a business will be in top 70; the index of minority investor protection will be in top 80; transparency and access to credit will be top 30. Particularly, facilitation in loan access (according to the World Economic Forum) will be top 40 by 2020.

Shortening the service duration of procedure: The time for handling tax and social insurance payment will not exceed 168 hours a year (119 hours for taxes and 49 hours for insurance). The time of construction permit and related procedures will not surpass 120 days (63 days for design review and construction permit, etc.)

In addition, the Resolution aims to reach the average score of ASEAN 4 of competitiveness by 2020 (assessed by the World Economic Forum), the innovation index will catch ASEAN 5 (assessed by the World Intellectual Property Organisation – WIPO).

On the e-Government deployment, comprehensive reforms will be exerted on three index groups (the United Nations): Telecommunication infrastructure index (TII), human capital index (HCI) and online services index (OSI). Vietnam will be ranked 80th in 2017 and 70th in 2020 (reaching the level of ASEAN 5).

Improving accountability of central and local authorities
To achieve these targets, Vietnam will have to make a lot of effort to improve specific indicators and raise the accountability of central and local authorities.

Lead bodies are responsible for leading and coordinating with relevant agencies to improve specific indices they are assigned to. In case of necessity, they can report to the Prime Minister for further direction. The Ministry of Planning and Investment will track improvements in business environment and national competitiveness. The Ministry of Science and Technology will keep an eye on innovation indices. The Ministry of Information and Communications will be responsible for monitoring e-government indices.

The Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), the Vietnam Lawyers Association, the Vietnam Bar Federation, business associations and professional associations will carry out independent surveys on the quality of administrative procedure settlement, send recommendations to the Government, and study confidence of the business community in central agencies, branches and localities.

VCCI will raise the quality and prestige of the Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI), support and direct Municipal/Provincial People’s Committees to increase PCI.

VCCI shall collect multidimensional opinions on policies and emerging difficulties in handling administrative procedures and make recommendations to competent agencies for consideration and solution. In addition to make public results, VCCI will send reports to the National Council for Sustainable Development and Competitiveness Improvement and the Office of Government for further report to the Prime Minister.