Viet Nam Private Sector Economic Forum
08:30 | 02/05/2019
VGP – The Viet Nam Private Sector Economic Forum opened in Ha Noi this morning with the participation of Party, Government and legislature leaders, academia, and business representatives.

* Plenary session

Before joining the plenary session of the Viet Nam Private Sector Economic Forum, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (5th from left) cuts ribbon to inaugurate the exhibition on achievements of the private sector at the National Convention Center in Ha Noi on May 2, 2019. Photo: VGP

The plenary session of the Viet Nam Private Sector Economic Forum began this afternoon with the participation of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Head of the CPVCC Economic Commission Nguyen Van Binh and other politburo members.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc addresses the plenary session of the Viet Nam Private Sector Economic Forum at the National Convention Center in Ha Noi. Photo: VGP

Addressing the plenary session, Prime Minister Phuc affirmed that Viet Nam has gained numerous achievements after more than three decades of reform.

2018 was the 4th consecutive year witnessing the unprecedented number of newly established enterprises. Now the private sector accounts for 42% GDP and many of which have affirmed their market standings.

Phuc stressed that the private sector plays a very important role in the national economy, thus we need to devise solutions to further promote its role.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc highlights the importance of the private sector in the national economy. Photo: VGP

 The Government chief acknowledged that the private sector still faces many difficulties, thus we need to create more favorable conditions, including fair opportunities and access to resources, for the development of the private sector.

He said the Government has approved a project to support a national startup and innovation eco-system and established innovation centers and will approve a national digital transformation project in 2019 in a bid to facilitate successful startups.

Regarding human resources, Prime Minister Phuc shared the participants' view that the Government needs to focus on both quantity and quality of the workforce and to open new training areas like artificial intelligence.

Regarding gender equality and its role in economic development, Vice State President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh said Viet Nam is one of the countries that makes fastest progress in narrowing gender gap over the past 20 years.

Vietnamese women holding managerial positions at businesses account for 27%, the highest rate in Southeast Asia, Thinh added.

She also pointed out challenges that hinder economic empowerment for women, including income gap between men and women, home violence and discrimination.

Thinh said Viet Nam has introduced a number of policies and programs on gender equality like the Law on Gender Equality in 2006 and the national action plan for women and children.

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* Session 3: Tousism

Session 3 on tourism

The session 3 aims to seek solutions, focusing on visa, competitiveness, air infrastructure and promotion recommendations for the sustainable development of tourism sector. More than 300 domestic and foreign experts join the event.

Ngo Van Tuan, Deputy Head of the CPVCC Economic Commission

In his opening remarks, Deputy Head of the CPVCC Economic Commission Ngo Van Tuan said the country's tourism sector witness robust growth in the past three years, both in term of number of foreign arrivals and revenues.

Especially,it is estimated that 99% of tourism companies are private-owned, Tuan highlighted.

The Government expects to lure 17-20 million foreign arrivals and 80 million local tourists by 2020 with combined revenues of US$35 billion.

Touism is also expected to become a spearhead economic sector by 2030.

However, professionalism of the workforce is the one of the biggest hurdles of Viet Nam's tourism sector.

Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Le Quang Tung

Mr. Le Quang Tung, Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism said Viet Nam has special tourism position as the country ranks 32nd on global scale in terms of the number and attractiveness of national landscapes, including 8 UNESCO-recognized heritages.

Last year, Viet Nam welcomed nearly 15.5 million foreign visitors, earning VND 620,000 billion in revenues, accounting for 8% GDP.

In order to make tourism a spearhead economic sector, there remain many things to be improved. For example, the number of foreign arrivals is still far below that of other regional countries like Thailand (38 million), Malaysia (25 million), and Singapore (18.5 million).

In addition, foreign tourists' spendings in Viet Nam remain modest though they stay in Viet Nam longer than many other regional countries. Each tourist only spend US$96 compared to US$330 per day in Singapore, Tung said.

To diversify and improve the quality of tourist products, Viet Nam needs to accelerate leisure travel while creating more favorable visa policies and ensuring safety and security for tourists, Tung suggested.

Foreign language training for tourism workforce and enhancing air connectivity are also among key solutions, he added.

Vu The Binh, Vice Chairman of the Viet Nam Tourism Association

Vu The Binh, Vice Chairman of the Viet Nam Tourism Association said the majority of more than 40,000 companies operating in the tourism sector are private, which means that tourism development is the development of private economic sector.

The question is that what are Viet Nam's promising source markets and why Viet Nam's tourism has not fully tapped potentials of these markets?

Citing the fact that foreign arrivals only rose 7.6% in the first four months this year, the lowest growth rate in recent years, Binh suggested the first thing that Viet Nam needs to improve is the competitiveness of visa policy.

Truong Tan Son, a representative from Saigontourist

Truong Tan Son, a representative from Saigontourist, suggested Viet Nam should exempt visa for more countries with duration of stay lasts from 5-10 years for high earners.

The country also lacks of a market access strategy as well as national products like Cigar of Cuba, Son added.

Pham Ha, Director of Luxury Travel Co., Ltd

Pham Ha, Director of Luxury Travel Co., Ltd shared his view that there are four bottlenecks to tourism development in Viet Nam, namely, visa policy, human resource training, tourist products, and promotion.

He stressed the need to remove visa for more countries and focus on high-quality human resource training, especially foreign language skills and attitude to tourists.

Dinh Viet Phuong, Vice President of VietJetAir

Vice President of VietJetAir Dinh Viet Phuong Viet Nam has 22 airports, including 9 international ones as of March 2019 thanks to the open door policy and envolvement of private sector.

The problem is that Viet Nam should upgrade the quality of airports to provide good services while a long-term planning scheme for the development of airport system is needed.

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* Session 2: Digital economy

The second session on digital economy

Vu Dai Thang, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment said digital economy is developing quickly and has produced great and deep effects on all aspects of lìfe across countries.

Viet Nam's digital economy was estimated at US$3 billion in 2015 and rose to US$9 billion in 2018 and is forecast to increase to US$30 billion by 2025, according a survey by Singapore's Temasek Holdings.

Meanwhile, a survey of Data61 - a data science research and engineering company based in Australia, Viet Nam's GDP may increase by US$162 billion in 20 years if the country successfully carries out digital transformation.

Thang said that businesses play a central role in the development of digital economy in Viet Nam.

The Government will active mull over policies to help Viet Nam promptly exploit potential advantages, Thang said, adding that the Ministry of Planning and Investment is designing a national strategy on the fourth industrial revolution which will include policies for digital economy development in favor of faster and more sustainable growth.

Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Thanh Hung

Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Thanh Hung said the Ministry is figuring out tasks to create foundations for the development of digital economy in Viet Nam.

Hung, however, said Viet Nam needs to build trust among users in digital infrastructure, thus ensuring cyber security is a fundamental condition for the development of digital infrastructure and digital economy.

Data is not inter-connected among ministries and agencies and therefore Viet Nam is at the early stage of digital economy, Hung frankly pointed out.

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Session 1: Agriculture

The first session on agriculture

At the session, experts, policy makers and private business representatives discuss on ways to strengthen links in agricultural production and development of leading businesses as well as measures to forumate big data on agriculture, forestry and aquaculture.

The ratio of agriculture/GDP fell from 40% in 1990s to 15% in 2018, according to official statistics.

According to Cao Duc Phat, Deputy Head of the CPVCC Economic Commission, the number of agricultural businesses still remains modest though many policies have been introduced.

Phat, who was former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said there are only 6,000 businesses out of the total 500,000 operating in agriculture.

Private sector is considered to be one of the major driving forces of Viet Nam's socialist-oriented market economy, Phat said.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Quoc Doanh

Meanwhile, Le Quoc Doanh, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, revealed Vietnamese farm products are now available in 185 countries and territories.

Between 2008 and 2017, the agricultural sector grew 2.66% annually on average and rose 3.76% in 2018, Doanh said.

The total export values reached US$261.28 billion in the 2008-2017 period, up 9.24%/year and more than US$40 billion last year, ranking 2nd in Southeast Asia and 15th in the world.

Foreign delegates to the session on agriculture

Doanh, however, said Viet Nam still faces with many long-lasting difficulties, including low competitiveness due to limited quality of agricultural products.

He stressed the need to develop high-quality and environmentally-friendly products to sharpen competitiveness of farm produce in the global value chain.

Nguyen Ngoc Dan, President of the United Agri

Nguyen Ngoc Dan, President of the United Agri, fertilizer producer, emphasized the need to open training courses for farmers to cultivate certain types of crop plants in a bid to increase the quality of labor workforce.

He also stressed the need to control the quality of fertilizers.

Tran Dinh Luan, Deputy Director General of the Directorate of Fisheries

Tran Dinh Luan, Deputy Director General of the Directorate of Fisheries under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said prawn output rose to 760,000 tons in 2018, including 300,000 tons of sugpo prawn.

The export value of sugpo prawn reached US$3.6 billion last year and no country could achieve that export figure, according to Luan.

The Government expects to increase export turnover of prawn to US$10 billion by 2025.

However, the Mekong Delta's fisheries production is now facing with great challenges such as climate change and adverse weather conditions that require huge investment in technological development.

The Viet Nam Private Sector Economic Forum is considered the biggest event of its kind this year

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Head of the CPVCC Economic Commission Nguyen Van Binh co-chair the event which was designed to address key development issues and potential solutions, including development solutions for the private sector.

The forum will offer the private sector an opportunity to make recommendations and talk directly to policy makers. They can also propose initiatives to promote the private sector's contribution.

The main areas that the discussions will focus on include tourism, agriculture, digital economy and the expansion of mid- and long-term capital flows./.

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