E-government sets up success for businesses

March 18, 2021 | 09:00
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Domestic and international businesses are expected to benefit more from Vietnam’s future e-government development, as the completion of the long-awaited legal framework on shared data could be a way to improve the business climate amid stiffening regional competition.
1535 p11 e government sets up success for businesses
E-government sets up success for businesses, illustration photo

At the meeting to review the two-year development scheme of Vietnam’s e-government on March 10, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc stressed that the upcoming tasks will be the completion of the legal framework, acceleration of public e-services, creating and deploying an effective national database so that paperwork in administrative procedures can be eased.

Important tasks were set out for ministries, agencies, cities, and provinces. Specifically, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has to fast-track the development of a national database on land by July. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Public Security develops a national database on the population in the same timeframe.

Regarding the e-government platforms, ministries, agencies, cities, and provinces must fully complete IT security measures and propose solutions to effectively use integrated platforms and promote database sharing. Moreover, they have to build and deploy schemes on their digital transformation in the new development period.

The Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) is issuing decrees to complete the legal framework on electronic identification and authentication and personal data protection while also announcing the strategy on e-government development towards digital government development in 2021-2025 with a vision towards 2030.

The MIC will study the revision of the laws on e-transactions and the digital economy, build a decree on the management of digital platforms and the development of the digital economy, and submit a scheme on digital economy development by 2025 with a vision towards 2030, and on supporting and promoting digital transformation in key businesses and sectors.

Vietnam currently ranks 86th among 193 member states in the United Nations’ E-Government Survey 2020, up two ranks from 2018. Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei, and the Philippines scored higher and some regional countries even made great headways (Thailand ranked 57th, up from 73rd, and Indonesia climbed to 88th from 107th).

A country’s higher e-government index also means a higher business environment, competitiveness, and innovation indexes, making it a strong rival to others in investment attraction, trade, and services, which prompts most Southeast Asian nations to take actions and improve.

With the future orientation, domestic and international businesses can expect several positive spillovers. According to the UN and World Bank reports, a good business environment attracts high-quality investors, facilitates technology transfer and exchange of management practices, and enhances transparency and reduces corruption.

The National Digital Transformation Programme aims to promote the development and widespread use of e-commerce platforms in enterprises and the community. It also aims to give greater incentives and support for startup development and encourages large companies to make use of new technologies and commercial activities. Therefore, further investment incentives for science and technology-related firms are expected in the coming years.

E-government development has also been attracting attention from the international business community in Vietnam. Virginia B. Foote, chairwoman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam, said that the digital economy in general, and e-commerce, e-banking, fintech, modern cloud computing, and e-government in particular, come out of the necessity to reduce face-to-face transactions, and can enhance Vietnam’s goal to reduce the use of cash overall.

She attributed that, “We need accelerated use of e-government, e-commerce, e-banking, fintech, hyperscale cloud computing, and the overall reduction of paper and cash for all businesses. Replacing Vietnam’s technical standards in clouds in state agencies with internationally recognised certifications and compliance mechanisms, as well as adopting cloud-first policies, will enable the government to choose the best technologies, strengthen digital resilience, and develop a robust e-government technology ecosystem.”

“Accelerating the implementation of these objectives can permanently reduce administrative costs and burdens for both the government and all businesses, and will attract new investors looking for global standards and ease of doing business. It will provide the foundation for smart city infrastructure and services,” she noted.

Similarly, Tetsu Funayama, a representative from the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Vietnam said the implementation of digital transformation has been determining the rise and fall of companies and businesses.

“Although there is a trade-off with national and corporate security, digital transformation ahead of other countries will bring benefits to Vietnam. We would like to ask for support for foreign companies to contribute to Vietnam in these fields as well,” he recommended.

Vietnam’s e-government development has achieved results in technical infrastructure, database sharing, use and development of platforms, and network security in 2016-2020, especially in the last two years.

By Bich Thuy

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