Strong Business Community - Thriving Nation

9:14:52 AM | 1/27/2022

Vietnam Business Forum would like to present an excerpted speech by Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh at the 7th National Congress of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) for the 2021 - 2026 term.

In the past two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has seriously affected social and economic conditions, health, life and business of enterprises and people. In that context, enterprises and entrepreneurs have resolutely overcome difficulties and upheld self-reliance and adaptability to continue business and ensure jobs and incomes for employees; strongly promoted the spirit of solidarity and mutual support; and made important and effective contributions to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Party and the Government acknowledge and highly appreciate the cooperation, joint effort and consensus of the business community and businesspeople across the country. At the same time, the Government understands and shares the difficulties and challenges faced by enterprises and entrepreneurs. It will actively propose and deploy effective and timely support solutions for enterprises to restore production and business operations. The Government, the Prime Minister, and all levels and branches of authority have drastically and creatively directed and operated solutions and measures to support all classes of people and the business community to flexibly and effectively carry out multiple goals of preventing and combating the COVID-19 pandemic to protect human health and life, while boosting social and economic recovery and development, maintaining independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and extensive international integration.

Going alongside the business community, VCCI's role, position and reputation have been increasingly affirmed and enhanced. As a national agency that gathers and represents the business community, entrepreneurs, employers and business associations in Vietnam, VCCI has effectively performed its functions and duties, and has made many positive and influential contributions to the overall achievements of the country.

VCCI has played an active role in making important policies for businesses such as the Resolution of the Central Executive Committee, and the Politburo's resolutions on enterprises and entrepreneurs. It has many valuable constructive contributions to policy making in the effort for a better regulatory system - one of three strategic breakthroughs that the Party identified, especially with regard to policies, procedures and regulations on investment, business and trade. It actively reviews and makes many recommendations on amending and supplementing legal documents; removes difficulties and creates favorable conditions for the business community and people.

VCCI has initiatives to speed up policy enforcement and actively helps improve the business environment such as studying and scaling up the Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) in the past 16 years; and added motivations for sustainable development like creating the Corporate Sustainability Index (CSI) and guiding businesses to apply it in Vietnam.

VCCI has actively led and fostered the international integration of Vietnamese enterprises; organized many major international business forums such as the APEC Business Forum, carried out many effective trade and investment promotion programs, and established close cooperation ties with nearly 200 international agencies to support enterprises to reach out to the global market.

Facing challenges and requirements in the new development phase of the country, VCCI can do many things better, like further changing its mindset; broadening strategic horizons; and strengthening the organizational structure and working methods for higher efficiency and effectiveness. Its engagement in policy formulation on many important economic issues of the country should be further promoted. It needs to pay more attention to employer representation and harmonious labor relations construction.

The 13th National Party Congress affirmed and raised the country's development aspirations to 2025: Becoming a developing country with modern industry and surpassing the low-middle income level. By 2030, Vietnam will be a developing country with modern industry and entering higher middle income status. By 2045, it will become a high-income developed nation. This is an enormous and challenging goal for our country, especially in the context of complicated COVID-19 epidemic development and global instability. The new development phase will have opportunities and advantages for Vietnam, but it will pose more difficulties and challenges as well.

This will place even greater and heavier responsibilities on the entire political system, people and businesses, especially including entrepreneurs. The work for VCCI will be more, heavier, bigger and more difficult. To have its work done, VCCI will need to work harder and better to meet high requirements of the Party and the State, as well as expectations and trust of the people, the business community and entrepreneurs nationwide.

I highly appreciate VCCI’s innovations with a new name, and with more than 30% of first-time members in the Executive Board, including representatives of top corporations in Vietnam today. I believe that the new VCCI Executive Board will continue to uphold achievements of the previous Executive Board and many previous generations, and at the same time, create a breath of new vitality and creativity to better connect businesses and trade associations across the country to further help rapid and sustainable socioeconomic development of the country.

Regarding the working plan for the next term, I basically agree with six groups of key tasks and three major breakthroughs stated in the VCCI's Congressional Document. These key tasks are practical and consistent with the country's development orientations and goals in the coming period. As Uncle Ho taught us: "Everything needs to be practicable and workable. Everything has to go from small to big, from easy to difficult, from low to high.” The most important overarching task of VCCI is to represent, gather and associate to foster the synergy and great solidarity of the Vietnamese business community to solve problems posed to the country for its sake and ensure the legitimate rights, interests and cooperation of each enterprise and entrepreneur.

Of course, promoting the synergy of the business community and entrepreneurs is a task for many actors, but among them, VCCI plays an important and irreplaceable role. In the near term, VCCI and the business community need to actively join the whole country to implement the Resolution of the 13th National Party Congress, effectively prevent, safely and flexibly adapt, and effectively control the epidemic and boost social and economic recovery and development.

I suggest focusing on the following tasks:

First, constantly making VCCI a true national agency that gathers and represents the business community, entrepreneurs, employers and business associations in Vietnam. VCCI not only represents nearly 200,000 member businesses, but also has to build a position and establish a worthy reputation as a national body that gathers and represents legitimate rights and interests of the business community and entrepreneurs in Vietnam.

Second, prioritizing and actively helping accelerate institutional reforms, improve the business environment and formulate policy mechanisms. Institutional improvement and policy development for private business development is a very important task that only VCCI and enterprises and entrepreneurs with practical experience can do, knowing the problems, contradictions, difficulties and obstacles in business. Then, it will raise a persuasive and professional voice for institutional improvement. This is very important. In the coming time, VCCI needs to make more efforts to improve institutions and upgrade the investment and business environment of Vietnam to the group of best performers in the region.

Third, promoting professional and effective business support. I agree with VCCI's viewpoint on “Powerful businesses, Prosperous and mighty nation”. VCCI is recommended to effectively carry out good programs to support enterprises to strengthen development, have international competitiveness, apply modern governance standards and actively accelerate digital transformation and innovation to lift the position of Vietnamese enterprises, goods and services in global production chains and enhance national competitiveness. VCCI should actively grasp situations, thoughts and aspirations of enterprises, pay more attention to SME development, foster close interconnectivity of enterprises, pay attention to women-owned SMEs, and build and consolidate sustainable and harmonious labor relations.

Fourth, further developing Vietnamese businesspeople who uphold solidarity, nationalism and self-reliance, solving important problems of the country. It is necessary to promote the development of Vietnamese entrepreneurs as stated in Resolution 09 of the Politburo, Resolution 10 of the 12th Party Central Committee on private business development and the resolutions and directives of the Government and the Prime Minister.  To support building a strong force of large private enterprises capable of reaching out the world; implement Resolution 52 of the Politburo on active participation in the Fourth Industrial Revolution and foster innovations, VCCI must join businesses to raise the flag of green growth and digital transformation and solve global challenges such as climate change, resource depletion and population aging; build digital citizens, digital enterprises, digital economy and digital society.

At the same time, I strongly agree with VCCI's approach to immediately start building Vietnamese business culture. Recently, at the National Cultural Conference on implementation of the Resolution of the 13th Party Congress chaired by the Party General Secretary, the importance of culture was clearly stated. For the business community, building a business culture must match the country’s development. Business culture is associated with building a cultured, prosperous and happy country.

Fifth, leading enterprises on the path to successful integration, actively consulting and improving the country's integration policies, and speeding up international economic integration. The future of Vietnam's economy is integration and in fact Vietnam is already deeply integrated with the world. Therefore, VCCI is proposed to strengthen business consultancy and support to help enterprises to compete well in the market, find partners, effectively grasp trade agreements to which Vietnam is a signatory, handle and support them when they face disputes. It needs to promote cooperation with foreign business associations.

I kindly request relevant ministries, sectors and agencies such as the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and local authorities to closely coordinate, support and assist VCCI to help the business community to develop strongly in the coming time.

By Vietnam Business Forum