Strengthening Support for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises

2:48:47 PM | 30/10/2019

Firmly and effectively carrying out Resolution 35/NQ-CP of the Government on business support and development to 2020 and enforcing the Law on Support for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), Bac Ninh province has accelerated SME development pace, enhanced SME competitiveness and provided a favorable and fair business environment for SMEs to contribute more to economic development. Vietnam Business Forum Magazine has an interview with Mr. Nguyen Dinh Xuan, Director of Bac Ninh Department of Planning and Investment. Duy Binh reports.

Implementing Plan 186/KH-UBND on local SME support in 2018-2025, what solutions has Bac Ninh province adopted in recent years?

To deal with emerging difficulties and obstacles, and create the best conditions for enterprises to grow their business, the Provincial People’s Committee has seriously directed the Department of Planning and Investment, Department of Construction, Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Department of Industry and Trade, General of Taxation and the banking sector to adhere to the Prime Minister’s Directive on enactment of the Law on Support for SMEs. In particular, the provincial government assigned specific responsibilities to each department and agency for consistent execution of support measures: Enhancing communications and law popularization; supporting access to credit; supporting tax and accounting; supporting business premises; delivering technology support and market information; developing high-quality human resources, rescheduling taxes, prioritizing the settlement of outstanding debts for basic construction and speeding up project implementation.

The Provincial People’s Committee hosts annual business meetings to timely capture information and support local businesses to tackle difficulties and obstacles, inform new investment regulations and policies. It set up inspection teams and formulated public service inspection plans for provincial and district agencies in order to rectify public discipline and service ethics in administrative agencies.

The province also built the Business Doctor model and set up the Business Support Taskforce. The Business Doctor is a business support project in Bac Ninh province, which is researched and developed by the Bac Ninh Socioeconomic Development Research Institute, applied by the Bac Ninh SMEs Association with the support of the Australian Government managed by the Asia Foundation. With the motto “Friendly, attentive, empathetic and dedicated”, the Business Doctor helps the Chairperson of the Provincial People's Committee to coordinate activities of local departments and agencies on business support, with the focus placed on full settlement of emerging difficulties for enterprises; receiving, responding to and resolving proposals from enterprises; and preventing possible harassment of enterprises caused by administrative agencies so as to build a friendly, secure and transparent business environment.

The Business Support Taskforce has actively surveyed and grasped difficulties and obstacles of enterprises, received and handled or proposed settlement of their requests, answered hundreds of their questions concerning resources, environment, investment, construction, taxes and finance.

In furtherance of the Prime Minister's Decision 506/QD-TTg on pilot establishment of the Bac Ninh Public Administration Center, on May 17, 2017, the Provincial People’s Committee launched and test-ran the Public Administration Center. It uses information technology applications and electronic software in all transactions in administrative procedure settlement and takes part in administrative modernization solutions. People and businesses are received thoughtfully and professionally. The settlement of administrative procedures is open, transparent and strictly controlled. In 2018, public services provided by public administrative centers are rated by citizens at an average rate of 93.13%. Provincial and district-level public administration centers provide 819 public services online, including nearly 300 procedures of Level 3 and Level 4, and reduce the time to tackle administrative procedures relating to land and tax.

The province established Department and District Competitiveness Index (DCI Bac Ninh). With the goal of taking citizen satisfaction as a measure of administrative reform results, the Provincial People’s Committee approved the Project on assessing business and citizen satisfaction with public services and State agencies in Bac Ninh province in 2016-2020, assigned the Bac Ninh Socioeconomic Development Research Institute created the DCI Bac Ninh to gauge improvements in business environment and competitiveness at departments and district authorities. Since then, many departments and district authorities have paid attention to the voice of the business community to improve the business environment.

In 2018, scoring 64.5 points, Bac Ninh ranked 15th in the Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI), two places higher than in 2017, to stand among well-managed provinces and cities. How do you regard this outcome? To improve its rankings in the coming time, what solutions should Bac Ninh province adopt?

Bac Ninh province’s PCI climbed in 2018, illustrated by higher overall scores, sub-index scores and rankings than in 2017. Among sub-indexes, Bac Ninh province witnessed five rising indicators: Time costs (rising by 0.47 points), proactive leadership (by 0.18 points), labor training (by 0.13 points), law and order (0.67 points), and especially policy bias (by 1.45 points - the highest score gain since 2013). The PCI showed that the province’s reform efforts gained significant progress, demonstrated by the following perspectives: Highest-ever overall score and a high advance of proactive leadership. However, the Bac Ninh government needs to make more efforts to improve the effectiveness of governance and public administration, especially as Bac Ninh is aiming to become a centrally run city.

To improve its PCI rankings in the coming time, Bac Ninh needs efforts and determination to implement the following solutions:

Carrying out the Prime Minister’s Directive 10/CT-TTg dated April 22, 2019 on effective settlement and prevention of harassment and trouble against the public and the business together with improving PCI, PAPI, PAR INDEX, DDCI Bac Ninh. Accordingly, agency heads must seriously execute their tasks to proactively prevent, identify and strictly handle violations.

Implementing solutions to improve the business environment and enhance provincial competitiveness:

Enhancing roles of business associations; ensuring equality and fairness among enterprises of all economic sectors in accessing and getting preferential policies, investment support, land and credit.

The Department of Planning and Investment, Department of Construction, Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Department of Industry and Trade and the Bac Ninh Industrial Zones Authority set up working groups to coordinate local investment; and proposed new mechanisms on business registration fee support and exemption for newly established businesses, corporate seal support, tax account opening registration support.

Provincial departments, district-level People's Committees and agency heads are responsible for improving each sub-index of PCI, PAPI and PAR INDEX in relation to their responsibilities.

Performing administrative reform tasks and solutions, applying information technology, taking public and business satisfaction as a measure of results.

Improving the settlement outcome of administrative procedures, consolidating and improving operational quality, building consistent professional processes for provincial and district public administration centers and commune-level single-window units to check, speed up and deal with administrative procedures; accelerate the delivery of online public services at Level 3 and Level 4, handle administrative procedures at a single place, and set up a general switchboard to listen to questions about administrative procedures.

Agencies need to sort and select capable leaders and professionals to take on and handle administrative procedures ethically, competently and skillfully to successfully complete assigned tasks, and resolutely replace ill-behaved public servants reported for poor service attitude or acts of harassment.

Improving accountability quality and controlling public corruption; strictly and effectively implementing law provisions on complaints and denunciations, Decree 90/2013/ND-CP on accountability of State agencies to perform assigned tasks and powers, Decree 56/2015/ND-CP on evaluation of public servants.

Thank you very much!