Obstacles to promoting overseas Vietnamese intellectual resource

Many overseas Vietnamese want to return and invest in Vietnam. However they have just received spiritual encouragement instead of specific assistances from the Government and faced volatile policies, information shortage, cultural differences and other obstacles.

Overseas Vietnamese burn incenses to commemorate martyrs at Ben Duoc temple, HCMC (Photo: SGGP)

The potential of overseas Vietnamese intellectuals is estimated to be very huge and a strength of not only Vietnamese community abroad but also the country. However policies have yet to work efficiently to promote it appropriately.

Minh Chau Commerce and Service Company, Hoc Mon district, HCMC of Ms. Nguyen Thi My Linh, Vietnamese national resident in France, is an example of victims of policy changeableness.

For recent days, the businesswoman has been very anxious about a compulsory sale order of her garment and textile plant and personal properties which she had mortgaged for bank loans to establish the company ten years ago.

Minh Chau Company is one of the pioneers of investment in Nhi Xuan Industrial Zone under a country project on management, vocational training and jobs for people after detox in accordance with Resolution 16.

For social welfare, the project offered the company many incentives including 100 percent of interest on loans it got to build the plant and buy machines within 10 years.

According to the preferential treatment policy, the company built a ten year financial plan. Its investment capital totaled VND36 billion in 2009, equivalent to US$2 million with the exchange rate at that time.

During peak time, the company organized vocational training and provided jobs for 272 people after detox.

Amid the smooth and potential business phase, the company faced two abrupt shocks in 2009 when the Resolution ended and the revised law on Drug Abuse Prevention took effect sending most rehabilitated addicts back to their communities and causing the company have no workers.

At the same time, interest incentives were cut off because the company operated in garment and textile field, banned from receiving subsidy as per Vietnam’s commitment with the World Trade Organization.

The company had been unable to predict the policy change and fallen into difficulties. It had been forced to sell collaterals for recent years but still unaffordable for original debt and interest, Ms. Linh said.

Dr. Luong Bach Van, chairwoman of the Association for Liaison with Overseas Vietnamese, said that many overseas Vietnamese have not achieved success in doing business in the country.

For instance, some had repaired the houses, they wanted to rent for a long term to do business, as per suggestion by lessor before uncovering that the lessor were not proprietor. Some bought real estates under their relatives’ names who then sold the properties on their own choice.

These all have affected overseas Vietnamese’ confidence in local business environment, Dr. Van said.

In many places in the world, overseas Vietnamese gather into groups of experts in different fields and want to invest in the country. Still they sometimes see no home connection or direction and been unaware of local demand.

A number of Vietnamese national residents in France and Germany have seen Vietnam’s advantage in solar power and raise funds to help develop this type of energy, Dr. Van quoted.

She has many times directly taken many delegations of overseas intellectuals to meet and work with authorized agencies on solar power development. Nevertheless, they have still waited for the agencies’ answers about how assistance Vietnam needs and how scale of projects it wants.

Information shortage and cultural shocks

Professor Ha Ton Vinh from the US commented no need to table the patriotism of overseas Vietnamese because it is natural for any Vietnamese who is seft-respecting and accepts their birth origin. The thing they want most is a sustainably developed nation and to do something for that.

Despites the desire, many of his friends including professors, scientists and businesspeople have not returned to the country for a long time. When they came back, they have neither stayed long nor well grasped domestic situation.

Subsequently most have suffered failure and losses.

The way that Vietnam has used for mobilizing overseas Vietnamese has not worked much as the country’s insiders wait for outsiders and vice versa. That has caused a waste of overseas enthusiasm.

Professor Ha Ton Vinh said that overseas intellectuals have been professionally trained with much new knowledge, liberal in disposition and open-minded in thought. However, they have been away from the country for a long time.

Therefore, they have to relearn Vietnamese after coming back and been short of information about domestic situation. The information shortage concerns them as they do not know where their positions and opportunities are and what should they do. In addition, administrative procedure is another difficulty for them.

Many of them have failed because have been unfamiliar with local environment and received insufficient guides and assistances from authorized agencies. As a result, they have felt like a fish out of water and difficult to contribute to the country.

Mr. Vinh has conducted a small survey covering over 30 professors from all fields who have returned to Vietnam but could not stay.

According to the survey, overseas Vietnamese favor freethought and freelife while many local people have been afraid of these.

Many agencies and state organizations have not recruited overseas Vietnamese who make courageous statements and show professional work style.

Mr. Nguyen Nhu Khue told he used to introduce many overseas Vietnamese professors and scientists to HCMC Technology University, Saigon Hi-Tech Park and some training centers in HCMC, where superior leaders okay but inferior managers and staff do not want to receive them.

Some well-known professors have been willing to lecture at universities in Vietnam one month every year however it has been very difficult.

Obviously, overseas Vietnamese policies have been talked about a lot but they have not been materialized, he stated.

Dr. Nguyen Quoc Binh said that the biggest obstacle which overseas intellectuals have faced is work practice and deportment between leaders and experts or staff. In developed nations, they are all equal, people have their own positions. In Vietnam, leaders seem to be always right.

Professor Vo Van Toi from the US said he introduced some good experts for some subjects at universities but they excused enough personnel to refuse recruiting more.

He was so surprised by a mechanism in which a professor is equivalent to five masters so schools said that their number of lecturers for a certain subject has been redundant, he commented.

Spiritual encouragement

Professor Nguyen Ky Phung, deputy director of the HCMC Department of Science and Technology, said that HCMC attracted 12 science and technology experts who are oversea Vietnamese and foreigners last year. The number increased by 15 by mid 2016.

At present, the city is short of professional personnel for positions of leading cadres, chief engineers and general engineers.

The number of leading scientists attending in professional scientific researches have been few and been reducing. The city has yet to promote the overseas human resources and especially short of specific attraction policies.

All policies have been for spiritual encouragement without specific material assistances including housing and salary supports for foreign experts.

Ms. Duong Thi Kim Dung, in charge of overseas Vietnamese affairs in Ward 5, District 3 said that a lot of overseas Vietnamese have been willing to return but afraid of problems such as food safety, public order and security and traffic safety.

Related article:
Overseas Vietnamese make continuous contribution to country’s development

By Duong Loan – Translated by Hai Mien

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