Fostering dominant roles of the entrepreneur force
At the meeting with the business community and entrepreneurs regarding the implementation of Resolution 09-NQ/TW of the Politburo (11th term), Mr. Tran Tuan Anh, Politburo Member, Head of the Central Economic Commission, and Head of the Steering Committee for the Summary and Review of Resolution 09-NQ/TW, stated that after more than 35 years of doi moi (renovation), the Vietnamese entrepreneur force has constantly developed in both number and quality, and made great and important contributions to the cause of national construction and defense in many aspects. Currently, Vietnam has nearly 900,000 active enterprises, 14,400 cooperatives and about 5.1 million business households. Many Vietnamese enterprises and entrepreneurs have boldly made breakthroughs in corporate governance, production and business with ambitious projects and reached out to the international market.
In addition, Vietnam has witnessed some giant private firms with powerful financial capacity, modern governance and advanced technology. They lead in important industries and fields such as automobile manufacturing, aviation, information technology, telecommunications, services, real estate and agriculture. As the country struggled to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and adverse international impacts, Vietnamese entrepreneurs acted as fighters on the economic front and steadfastly stood with the country through difficult times.
In 2011, the 11th Politburo issued Resolution 09-NQ/TW dated December 9, 2011 on building and promoting the role of Vietnamese businessmen in the new context of accelerating industrialization, modernization and international integration. This was the first time the Politburo had a separate resolution on entrepreneurs.
Mr. Pham Tan Cong, President of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), said Resolution 09 has created consistency and transparency in guidelines, policies, and ecosystems for the business community to work more conveniently. Notably, heightened social awareness of the roles of entrepreneurs and business environment has importantly assisted today's development and growth of the business community.
With the special attention of the Party and the State, the Vietnamese entrepreneur force has grown stronger and made tremendous contributions to the success of national renovation, construction and defense in many aspects. By number, Vietnam now has millions of entrepreneurs, including seven billionaires. The quality of entrepreneurs has also markedly improved day by day. According to the survey on entrepreneurial development conducted by VCCI in 2021, the educational level of entrepreneurs is quite high, when up to 79.9% hold university degrees, 12% obtain master's/doctoral degrees and only about 8% have below-university degrees.
By investing in production, business, job creation, exploitation and use of resources to develop productive forces to create a variety of goods and services for domestic and international markets, Vietnamese entrepreneurs are the driving force in shaping economic restructuring, realizing industrialization and modernization goals, and developing the socialist-oriented market economy of independence, self-reliance and international integration to help bring the country out of underdeveloped status to a middle-income developing country. The business sector contributes over 60% to the country's GDP and 70% to the State budget revenue.
According to VCCI President Cong, most Vietnamese businesspeople have a true sense of decent business, bravery, creativity and dedication to overcome all hardships and challenges to reform, develop and become better to play a greater part in the course of realizing the aspirations for a prosperous and happy Vietnam. They are responsible to their employees, partners, customers, and the social community, especially expressed during the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. In addition, certain problems need to be addressed. Some enterprises and entrepreneurs do illegal business and lack social responsibility. Many reasons are given for these shortcomings, but business ethics is highlighted.
Responsibilities and desires of enterprises and entrepreneurs
The 13th Party Congress set forth development goals and aspirations of becoming a developed country with modern industry and surpassing the low middle-income status by 2025 and reaching a high middle-income status by 2030. The Document of the 13th Party Congress also affirmed: "Developing a force of entrepreneurs who are strong in number and quality, are dedicated to the nation, have progressive cultural conduct and ethics, and have good governance and business practices."
The 10-year Socioeconomic Development Strategy in 2021-2030 highlights the tasks of strongly developing the Vietnamese private economic sector in both quantity and quality; encouraging the formation and development of large private companies with strong potential and regional and international competitiveness. Vietnam targets to have at least 2 million enterprises, with the private sector making up 60-65% of the GDP by 2030.
VCCI President Cong proposed three key solutions for the entrepreneur force to promote their dominant role.
First, building and perfecting the investment environment and institutions, and developing the country quickly and sustainably, with the immediate priority on institutions for the socialist-oriented market economy, driven by a policy and legal system, to create a business investment environment by protecting and encouraging enterprises and entrepreneurs to conduct decent business and innovations; and preventing and eliminating illegal enterprises and entrepreneurs.
Second, effectively carrying out guidelines, policies and laws; affirming, protecting, facilitating, encouraging, honoring and rewarding worthy enterprises and entrepreneurs doing business and making great contributions to society and the country; promptly preventing and strictly handling illegal enterprises and entrepreneurs that cause damage to the country and the community; facilitating genuine businesses, and avoid criminalizing economic activities.
Third, to effectively implement the above two innovative action schemes, the society and entrepreneurs, first and foremost, must be properly, fully and deeply aware of entrepreneurial positions and roles in the doi moi (renovation) process and the cause of building and defending the socialist nation; build cultural institutions of Vietnamese entrepreneurs; and make Vietnamese entrepreneurs qualified for major goals of the nation by 2030 and 2045.
Mr. Tran Tuan Anh suggested that attention should be paid to elements of the new context, especially the process of industrialization and modernization aligned with the Fourth Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0, and to the requirements of building an independent and autonomous economy in the context of international integration. In order to build a modern industry for the nation, it is necessary to strengthen and develop key, fundamental industries and leading industries, and at the same time, encourage Vietnamese enterprises to develop new, modern industries.
Vietnam needs to develop Vietnamese enterprises to willingly take part in technology transfer and capably innovate and create new technological advances. It should strongly arouse, encourage and promote the entrepreneurial spirit and the desire for the wealth of enterprises and entrepreneurs. It needs to brace up solidarity and consensus among domestic enterprises to create synergy, and elevate the position of Vietnamese enterprises to regional and global classes to join more deeply in global value chains.
In addition to paying attention to increasing the number of enterprises and entrepreneurs, special attention should be given to improving their quality, especially to business ethics and business culture, to have excellent entrepreneurs and modern enterprises in a desired developed country in 2045.
"It is necessary to protect, facilitate, encourage, honor and reward enterprises and entrepreneurs who do decent business and make great contributions to society and the country; promptly prevent and strictly handle those doing business illegally and causing damage to the country, the social community, workers, and consumers of goods and services," he emphasized.
Mr. Tran Viet Anh, Vice Chairman of Ho Chi Minh City Business Association
Vietnamese businesspeople are always the nation's official ambassadors of Vietnamese products overseas. However, mobility is currently restricted. Apart from Viettel - a giant State-owned enterprise and Vinfast - a giant private firm, Vietnamese companies find it hard to bring their products to foreign countries. Most entrepreneurs today prefer doing easier things within their own country where matters are simple and easy to handle. The export-oriented business community is always smaller than the domestically oriented business community. So, I think that entrepreneurs should be made to think that the foreign market is like the domestic market. How can Vietnamese people in the country use products equal to or better than those in foreign countries? It is often thought that export products are good but domestic products are not always that good because both producers and consumers are easy-going with products.
Mr. Nguyen Van Than, Chairman of Vietnam Association of Small and Medium Enterprises
If we only grow in size without finding solutions to increase labor productivity towards the level of global companies, we will be out of global chains, sooner or later. For example, in our fashion industry, a worker must generate average total labor productivity of US$20-25,000 a year to earn enough for living, ensure competitiveness and ensure cash flow turnover for restructuring. If labor productivity is not guaranteed, we will be out of global supply chains, sooner or later.
Mr. Le Vinh Son, Chairman of the Hanoi Association of Main Industrial Products (HAMI), Chairman of Son Ha Group
In current attraction and support policies, FDI enterprises are gaining more benefits than domestic ones. Meanwhile, the latter must have more social responsibility.
To have 1 million enterprises as expected, support policies can be used to pave the way to incentivize business growth like reducing corporate income tax to below 20%, possibly 15%. This reduction will be offset by VAT increase. When the corporate income tax is slashed, enterprises will be happier to pay the tax. When the five million business households that are currently using flat tax see lower corporate income tax, they will be likely to register corporate profiles and opt for better-prepared business.