Viet Nam has moved up on a joint business environment ranking by the World Bank and International Finance Corporation and for the first time closed the gaps between itself and other leading countries in the region.
The “Doing Business in 2008” report, which was brought to public at the WB’s headquarters in Ha Noi on Sept. 26 ranks Viet Nam 91 out of 178 economies across the world in terms of the ease of doing business, compared to 104th ranking out of 175 economies last year.
“Viet Nam is on the right track and also narrowing the gap with other countries in the region,” Sin Foong Wong, IFC Country Manager for Viet Nam, Laos and Cambodia told a Viet Nam News Agency reporter.
Among the East Asian countries studied by the financial institutions, Viet Nam only runs after Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and China.
The country has succeeded in narrowing the gap of improvement in business environment with Singapore, the nation that retains the most business-friendly economy in the report this year, to 90, compared to 103-grade distance in last year’s study.
In this year’s report, which was conducted from April 2006 to June 2007, WB and IFC chief economists acknowledged the Vietnamese Government’s widely applauded reforms in two important areas – protecting investors and improving access to finance.
Viet Nam has strengthened investor protection with a new enterprise law and securities act, granting investors larger rights to involve in company actions and increase disclosure requirements, especially for related-party transactions. The Government has also allowed businesses to use movable assets as collateral.
Despite the remaining hurdles to investors that are still lingering in Viet Nam, such as time-consuming procedures for tax payments and closing a business, Wong remains bullish that Viet Nam will attract more foreign investment this year.
“The prospect of Viet Nam’s drawing FDI is very positive, FDI is now at a record volume this year and will probably be better than last year,” he said.
According to statistics from the Ministry of Planning and Investment, Viet Nam’s FDI commitment topped US$9.6 billion in the last nine months, a 38 percent rise from the corresponding period last year.
Wong underlined the need for increased education and training, infrastructure investments, and improving the overall regulatory framework so that laws are well understood and strictly implemented as key to sustaining growth.