Jan 07, 2020 / 17:13

Experts urge Vietnam to address bottlenecks to economic growth in 2020

The Hanoitimes - A growing role of the private sector in the economy would help Vietnam overcome challenges and quickly adapt to international practices, said experts.

The Vietnamese government should focus on addressing bottlenecks that hinder economic growth in 2020, in turn creating motivation for the development of the private sector, according to economists at a business forum held Monday.

 Overview of the forum. Source: VGP. 

Nguyen Tu Anh, head of the Economic Department under the Economic Commission of the Communist Party of Vietnam, said one of Vietnam’s highlights in 2019 was a breakthrough of the private sector amid global economic slowdown and exports of the domestic sector expanded 8%.

According to Anh, local enterprises have been focusing on foreign markets, some even exported machinery.

Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) Vu Tien Loc said for the first time, Vietnam is included in top 50 economies in terms of size, while the business community is expanding at a rapid rate.

Loc, nevertheless, expected 2020 to be a challenging year for enterprises, particularly when it comes to sustainability.

In 2019, state budget revenue from production and business activities did not meet the year’s estimate. Additionally, Vietnam’s efforts to improve the business environment still leave much to be desired. The country remained fifth in ASEAN in terms of business environment ranking and much needs to be done to meet the target of breaking into the top four, said Loc.

Loc noted the government intends to set up a task force specialized in removing overlapping regulations in businesses, which could be a breakthrough for 2020.

Economist Tran Du Lich said in 2020, there remain bottlenecks that restrict economic growth in the fields of public investment, legal framework for projects under the build – operate – transfer (BOT) and build – transfer (BT) financing models.

Anh from the Economic Commission added that slow disbursement of public investment was the biggest issue in 2019. However, he suggested the disbursement pace would be accelerated in 2020, to be driven by more drastic measures by the government.

Vice President of the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (EuroCham) Jean Jacques Bouflet said the EU – Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and the EU – Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA), subject to ratification by parliaments of the EU and Vietnam, would open doors for Vietnamese enterprises to access the European market and vice versa.

Bouflet expected European companies to invest more in Vietnam once these agreements come into force.

Most experts at the forum shared the same view that a growing role of the private sector in the economy would help the country overcome challenges and quickly adapt to international practices.

2020 is a significant year for Vietnam as it marks the final year of the five-year socio-economic plan 2016 – 2020, which sets the foundation for development strategies in the next period.

For emerging fields that are attracting investment from the private sector such as aviation, tourism, renewable energy, and education, experts warned competition would become fiercer in 2020.