Providing the necessary support for SMEs to thrive

December 13, 2021 | 10:15
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Links to global supply chains, financial accessibility, and digital transformation are the pillars for enterprises to improve competitiveness. Talking to VIR’s Nguyen Huong, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Tran Duy Dong explained the numerous measures available to support smaller businesses moving into 2022.

What has the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) been doing to accompany businesses and support their development?

Providing the necessary support for SMEs to thrive
Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Tran Duy Dong

The MPI listens to all comments and recommendations from enterprises. We often organise meetings between state agencies and enterprises to find out if they are struggling, and collaborate with the Government Office to hold annual conferences for the prime minister and businesses.

Thereby, the ministry plays the pioneering role of proposing to the government and prime minister some policies to remove burdens on production and business, supporting enterprises to adapt and recover. These include various resolutions on tasks and solutions for dealing with difficulties in business operations, promoting disbursement in public investment, ensuring public order and safety during the pandemic, and generally supporting enterprises, cooperatives, and business households in these times.

We are conducting the role of standing agency of the two prime minister’s special working groups on removing difficulties for businesses and people, and policies on investment and business, as well as being the focal point to promote the implementation of supporting policies in line with the Law on Supporting Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) and Decree No.80/2021/ND-CP on the elaboration of some articles of the law.

Additionally, we are directly collaborating with various associations from the United States, Japan, Singapore, and others, as well as the Vietnam Association of SMEs and technology giants such as VNPT, Amazon Global Selling, and Oracle to carry out assistance for such enterprises to overcome the woes of the health crisis. This is carried out by strengthening the links to the leading firms in supply chains, financial accessibility, and digital transformation. These moves match the demand and are timely for businesses to gain more motivation, becoming a foundation to maintain and stabilise production.

In order to support businesses to overcome difficulties and develop sustainably, what plans and programmes should the government provide to help them next year?

The MPI has submitted to the government a draft of the enterprise recovery programme with a number of specific solutions, These include supporting the improvement of the liquidity of businesses in the form of extending or delaying tax payment deadlines; exempting or reducing taxes and fees as well as cutting lending interest rates; and supporting interest rate compensation for businesses in industries strongly affected by the pandemic, and the key industries prioritised to become a driving force for the economy.

The draft programme also pays attention to supporting businesses in digital transformation, innovative startups that are applying science and technologies, labour restructuring, attracting and re-training workers, corporate and finance restructuring, and improving risk management.

Solutions to support SMEs have also been concretised and focused in Decree 80, which focuses on innovative startups, supporting enterprises participating in value chains, and applying digital transformation, sci-tech, and innovation.

Moreover, the ministry has also been directed to effectively implement activities of technical support projects for businesses.

To quickly overcome the main issues and seize opportunities, what should SMEs do to prepare?

Vietnamese SMEs, making up 98 per cent of all enterprises here, have low competitiveness and a weak ability to participate in global value chains. Most of them are still mainly developing, and have not improved much in quality.

The pandemic has also reduced their resilience, leading to the risk of disruptions of supply chains, labour chains, and large-scale production impacts. However, the pandemic also creates opportunities for businesses, especially in forming and developing new value chains and links, and emerging new business models and lines.

This is also an opportunity for Vietnamese businesses to recognise and re-test their true capacity, resilience, and adaptability to market issues, production restructuring, and strategic transformation.

In that context, enterprises need to actively innovate their production and business models, restructure enterprises in association with digital transformation, and improve the capacity and competitiveness of enterprises.

They must also actively restructure labour, pay more attention to training and re-training employees, become equipped with a modern and professional corporate governance, actively apply strong science and technology, create new value standards, and expand markets by participating in the global value chain.

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