February 23, 2020 06:20

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Finance sector is harvesting many 'sweet fruits'.

08:39 | 25/01/2020

VCN - 2019 is an important year and a time for industries and levels accelerating, breaking through and reaching the goals set in the 2016-2020 socio-economic development plans. Up to now, it can be affirmed that the efforts of the Finance industry are continuing to reap many "sweet fruits". We met and talked with Mr. Dinh Tien Dung, Member of the Party Central Committee, Minister of Finance, to look back on those achievements.

member of central party committee minister of finance dinh tien dung finance sector is harvesting many sweet fruits
Minister of Finance Dinh Tien Dung

In the context of socio-economic conditions, there are many advantages and challenges, and the results of the implementation of the State budget and finance tasks still achieve comprehensive results. Could the Minister share theresults of the industry in 2019?

As I have said from the early days of 2019, this is a crucial moment for the implementation of the 2016-2020 5-Year Plan as well as the 5-year Financial Plan for the 2016-2020 period. In fact, the thriving predictions were a reality. By the end of 2019, the socio-economic situation has achieved comprehensive results. The growth is quite high, the macro economy is stable, inflation is controlled, the major balances of the economy are improved, social security is guaranteed, and people’s quality of life is raised. In particular, 2019 is the second consecutive year of meeting and exceeding all targets assigned by the National Assembly. Those are very important factors that facilitate the implementation of the financial - state budget task of the Finance sector.

However, there are still challenges. The international and regional situation has many complicated and unpredictable developments; world economic growth tends to decrease; strategic competition and conflicts of interest between countries increased with many hidden risks.Natural disasters, epidemics and climate change stronglytookplace.

Thanks to the close leadership and guidance of the Party, the National Assembly and the Government, the efforts of both the political system as well as the people, businesses, the whole Finance sector has actively implemented the set of financial - state budget solutions set out; drastically administering revenues and expenditures, ensuring the State budget deficit and public debt are within the National Assembly's limits; contribute to the good implementation of socio-economic development tasks.

By the end of 2019, the total state budget balance exceeded 9.8 percent of the estimate. In which domestic revenue, crude oil and import-export activities exceeded the estimate. It means that the revenue structure is increasingly sustainable. In 2019, revenues from three economic sectors, including state-owned enterprises, foreign-invested enterprises and non-state enterprises, increased by 10.9 percent over the same period in 2018, higher than expected economic growth and inflation. In contrast, revenues from assets, resources, land and mining have increased compared to the estimates, but overall, these revenues account for a small proportion and are decreasing. Thus, revenue from production and business is still an important revenue.

The state budget expenditure in 2019 closely follows the estimates assigned and managed by the National Assembly in accordance with the implementation schedule and promptly meets the tasks of infrastructure investment and socio-economic development. Continuing to promote the results of 2018, the restructuring of state budget spending was also actively implemented in 2019 and reached the target by the end of the year.

The proportion of recurrent expenditure decreased. Actual regular expenditure in 2017 was 65.1percent; in 2019 the estimate is 61.2 percent. This figure surpasses the planned target of less than 64 percent while ensuring the source of wage reform (up about 7 percentper year) according to the National Assembly's Resolution and the tasks of national defense and security, as well as other urgent social security policies. The proportion of development investment increased gradually, implementing the period 2016-2019 is estimated at 27 to 28 percent of total state budget spending while our target is 25-26 percent.

The state budget deficit in 2019 continues to be controlled both in absolute and relative terms at about 3.4 percent of GDP. Thanks to good control of overspending, government guaranteed loans have increased the rate of public debt by more than half. The public debt ratio by the end of 2019 will be about 55percent of GDP; Government debt is about 48.5 percent of GDP.

2019 is also a year in which the Finance industry has achieved many results in institutional building, administrative reform, organizational structure, improvement of business investment environment, productivity and quality improvement, efficiency and competitiveness of the economy. Policies and regimes have beenamended, supplemented and promulgated in a timely manner, suitable to the actual situation and committed to international integration, improving the efficiency of state management in the field of finance - State budget, increasing financial discipline.

The financial market continues to develop stably; continue restructuring and reorganizing SOEs; strengthen market price management, control inflation; improve the efficiency of public asset management.

With the above results, it can be said that the Finance sector has approached many goals set by the end of 2020. It is a significant achievement. What key measures has the Ministry of Finance taken to achieve that in 2019, Minister?

It must be said that it is a "sweet fruit" gathered from a process of efforts over many years through institutional reform and administrative procedure reform, associated with the modernization of the Finance sector, removing difficulties for businesses and contributing to stimulate economic growth.

The Party Personnel Committee, the Ministry of Finance leaders and I have paid great attention to directing the implementation of this task for many years with the priority given to solutions to improve the investment, business andfacilitation environment for people and businesses; especially simplifying, reducing administrative procedures, and cutting business conditions.

Some remarkable figures such as in 2019, the Ministry of Finance has chaired the development and submission to the competent authorities for promulgation under its competence 108 legal documents in accordance with the issued plan. The Ministry of Finance also abolished 49 administrative procedures; amended and supplemented 23 administrative procedures; cut and simplified 129 business conditions. In particular, last year, the Ministry of Finance officially established and put into operation the department of receiving and returning administrative procedure settlement results through the single window mechanism at its headquarters. A total of 102 administrative procedures in eight management areas of the Ministry of Finance were received and returned results right at this single windowsection with 100 percent settlement results.

The above solutions have contributed to reducing operating costs for businesses, improving competitiveness and creating equality and convenience for businesses in accessing resources and business opportunities.

The Ministry of Finance's establishment and institutional improvement work meet the quality and schedule requirements. Policies and regimes are amended, supplemented and promulgated in a timely manner, being suitable tothe actual situation and committed to international integration, contributing to raising the effectiveness and efficiency of state management in the field of finance - State budget, strengthening administrative reform and tightening financial discipline.

A series of assessments launched in 2019 have acknowledged the above efforts of the Finance industry. For example, on the PAR Index of 2018 published by the PAR Steering Committee of the Government in May 2019, the Ministry of Finance ranked secondout of 18 ministries, ministerial level, up one rank compared to 2017. According to a VCCI survey in 2019, seventy-eight percent of taxpayers were asked about satisfaction with the results of tax authorities' reforms, an increase of 3 percentage points compared to the survey. In 2016, an increase of 7 percentage points compared to 2014. According to the World Bank's 2018 Business Environment Report, Vietnam's tax and social insurance payment index has seen strong reforms and increased rankings, the highest ranking among 10 indexes assessed (up 22 grades from 131 to 109). And in the 2019 Information Technology Readiness and Application Index (ICT Index) table published by the Ministry of Information and Communications in collaboration with the Vietnam Computer Association, 2019 is the 7th year the Ministry of Finance continues to rank first among ministries and branches.

Besides institutional and administrative procedure reforms as mentioned above, would you like to talk about the results of the State administrative apparatus organization reform in the last year?

This is a central task implemented by the Ministry of Finance, not only in 2019 but also in the process. Since Conclusion No. 64-KL / TW of May 28, 2013 of the 7th Central Conference (Session XI), a number of issues continue to renovate and perfect the political system from the central to grassroots levels, The Party Committee of the Party and the Ministry of Finance leaders have studied and directed all levels to focus on reviewing, evaluating and preparing conditions to implement the organizational structure in a streamlined and effective manner. Up to now, the Ministry of Finance has arranged and reduced over 5,368 units from central to unit (team) levels and localities; reducing 4,542 management leadership units. In particular, implementing Resolution 18-NQ / TW, Resolution No. 19-NQ / TW. Accordingly, from January 1, 2018, the Ministry of Finance has arranged and reduced 2,719 focal points for administrative units, reduced 2,044 leaders, while ensuring effective management, through the industry's professional activities.

Specifically,the General Department of Taxation reduced 2,216 focal points (27 divisions under the General Department; 63 Departments of the Tax Department of the province or city; decreased 211 Tax Departments at the provincial / municipal Tax Departments; and 1,915 Tax Teams of the Tax Departments). The State Treasury reduced 234 focal points (186 offices and the equivalent of the provincial State Treasury, 48 transaction offices of the State Treasury of the district and county equivalent to the branch level). The General Department of Customs reduced 253 focal points (14 branches; 239 teams / groups). The General Department of State Reserve has reduced 13 focal points (four branches andnine sections equivalent to team / team level).

For public non-business units, nine units have been reduced (from 36 units to 27 units) due to the merger or dissolution to reduce two non-business units under the Ministry; dissolve six non-business units under the Department of the Ministry; dissolve one non-business unit of the Department under the General Department of the Ministry.

Along with streamlining the apparatus, reforming and modernizing the sector, the work of payroll management and streamlining the contingent of civil servants of the Ministry of Finance was also reviewed and organized synchronously.In which to ensure that by 2021 the payroll will be reduced by 10 percent compared to 2015 and 2019, the payroll of civil servants at the administrative organizations of the Ministry of Finance is 69,288 (down 4,974 targets equivalent to 6.7 percent compared to the number assigned in 2015 was 74,262).In 2020 the Ministry of Finance has implemented 67,802 targets (down 1,486 targets equivalent to 2.14 percent compared to 2019 and down 6,460 targets) equivalent to 8.7 percent compared to 2015, meeting the goals and requirements of the Politburo's Resolution No. 39-NQ / TW of April 17, 2015 on staff downsizing and staff restructuring of civil servants and officials.

As the head of Finance, we often see the Minister emphasizing that "Investment attraction is an important driving force for promoting socio-economic development". Perhaps that is why the Minister is always interested in attracting investment, especially from foreign partners. After Japan and South Korea, in 2019, the Minister led the Ministry of Finance mission with a series of successful trade promotion activities in the United Kingdom. What is the meaning of this event?

Vietnam's economy is increasingly prosperous, with anincreasingly attractive investment environment providinggood conditions to attract investment from the private sector, especially foreign enterprises. We know that it is sure that foreign investors have not known yet, so trade promotion events will be a good opportunity to promote the country and attract more resources.

In charge of mobilizing resources for the whole country, the Finance sector must understandthis issue clearly. Therefore, it is necessary to regularly organize indirect investment promotions in countries with potential to invest in Vietnam, sothe same eventwas held at the UK in 2019. We have promoted the prospects of Vietnam's economy and capital markets; directed policy dialogue with foreign investors sothey can approach and better understand Vietnam's policies, the Government's opening and express their commitment of the Ministry of Finance to accompany and create favorable conditions for businesses of the two countries in the process of cooperation and investment. I believe that after this series of activities, businesses of the two countries will have more ideas and new cooperation projects, thereby contributing to overall socio-economic development.

Besides the achieved results, it is sure that the Minister still has many concerns. Could the Minister say something?

It is undeniable that there are some limitations and difficulties. The mobilization rates from taxes, fees and charges still need to meet the requirements; collection in some key areas is still difficult. The proportion of recurrent spending is decreasing but still slow; equitization and divestment of state capital in state-owned enterprises still faces many difficulties and progress was slow; disbursement of public investment has not improved, affecting economic growth; natural disasters, epidemics consume many resources of the budget. These are major barriers requiring the concentrated efforts of the whole Finance sector and the active support and coordination of ministries, branches and localities to gradually overcome.

In the future, what key policies will the Minister prioritize for the Finance sector to fulfill its financial and state budget tasks in 2020 as well as strive to complete the basic objectives of the 5-year Financial Plan for the 2016 period?

In order to complete the tasks assigned by the Party, the Government and the people, not only in 2020 but also in the 2016-2020 period, on the basis of following the Politburo's Resolution No. 07-NQ / TW on policies and measures to restructure the state budget, manage public debt to ensure safe and sustainable national finance; tasks assigned in Resolution No. 25/2016 / QH14 of the National Assembly on the 5-year Financial Plan for the 2016-2020 period, Resolution 01 / NQ-CP 2020 tasks and solutions to implement the Economic Development Plan - society 2020; Resolution 02 / NQ-CP 2020 with the main tasks and solutions to improve the business environment 2020, the Ministry of Finance will focus on implementing the following main tasks and solutions:

Continue to run tight fiscal policy in combination with monetary policy, ensure macroeconomic stability and control inflation according to the set goals. Coordinate with ministries, branches and localities to implement solutions to remove difficulties for production and business activities, improve the investment environment through reforms of administrative procedures, cutting business conditions, repairing and supplementing policies which are suitable toreality, create conditions for enterprises to develop, thereby creating a solid revenue source for the State Budget. At the same time, continue to strengthen revenue management; inspection and control against loss of revenue and transfer pricing; ensure to fullycollect taxes, charges and fees forthe state budget.

At the same time, continue to thoroughly implement thrift and combat wastefulness, being suitable for the ability to balance resources from the stage of defining tasks to be performed in 2020 and the state budget - financial plan in the subsequent period. Developing and implementing budget estimates associated with development strategies and orientations in each period, ensuring the sustainability of the state budget. Besides, continue to strengthen financial discipline, promote reform of administrative procedures, practice of thriftagainst waste.

By HongVan/Bui Diep