VCN - Speaking at a conference on deploying fiscal and budgetary tasks in 2019 of the Finance sector, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc appreciated achievements by the Finance sector in 2018 and affirmed the importance to the success of Vietnam's economy in general.
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Excessive revenue shows a great determination
The first point appreciated by the Prime Minister is the coordination with ministries sectors and localities in the task performance. This is a cause for the success. In 2018, the total state budget revenue surpassed the estimate by 7.8%, reaching VND 1.42 million, higher than the level reported to the National Assembly. This figure represented the outstanding effort and great determination of the whole sector. By the end of 2018, the tax agency has recovered tax debts of about VND 32,000 billion, and the Customs agency has recovered and dealt with tax debts of over VND 1,420 billion.
State budget spending was controlled more closely, more economically and proactively. State budget deficit was about 3.67% of GDP. The national reserve capacity has been significantly raised, ensuring timely handling of urgent arising tasks such as overcoming consequences of natural disasters, epidemics and ensuring national defense and security and social security. Public debt indicators were improved (it was estimated that to December 31, 2018, public debt balance was below 61% of GDP).
According to the Administrative Procedures Compliance Costs Index 2018 (APCI), the Taxation sector ranked first among 8 administrative procedure groups evaluated with the lowest compliance cost (more than 73,000 VND). In particular, the average processing time of an enterprise for an administrative procedure is only 2.9 working hours. The prevention and combat against smuggling, trade frauds and the financial and budgetary inspection and audit are more strengthened.
In addition to the achievements, the Prime Minister also asked the Finance sector to recognize shortcomings and limitations in the improvement of institutions, laws, administrative reforms and economic investment environment of some aspects that are still slowly changing and inconsistent. Policies are not stable or regularly modified, causing difficulties for people and businesses.
The Prime Minister requested that the Ministry of Finance needs to consistently consider the financial views towards the development and enrichment for farmers, agriculture and rural areas. By doing this, the country is truly prosperous and rich.
The Ministry of Finance also needs to concretize the Law on Support for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises with a simple financial policy and accounting regime to encourage and promote this type of business to develop right in 2019. "We cannot let a business force with great development potential failing to want to grow as fast as in the past,” the Prime Minister noted.
According to the Prime Minister, professional ethics, behavioral culture, service spirit and attitude to people of some cadres and civil servants were still limited, there was also a public complaint about the negativity and harassment of some Tax and Customs officers. The Ministry of Finance needs to introduce solutions to handle the bottlenecks of administrative procedures in 2019 to ensure the improvement of the business investment environment, improve the national competitiveness and boost the country's economic development.
It is said that Vietnam has participated in many free trade agreements (FTAs), and the great opportunity from new generation FTAs is to expand the market by cutting tax rates and abolish trade barriers for Vietnamese goods for deeper connection in the global production and supply chain. The Prime Minister pointed out that the opportunities do not come naturally for businesses and the Government does not let businesses be on their own in finding opportunities. Ministries and sectors must be responsible for showing opportunities for enterprises.
With the Ministry of Finance, it is necessary to specify the field, commodity lines and roadmap of tariff reduction, opportunity for market entry via prices to improve profits for Vietnamese enterprises. To do this end, the new FTAs are meaningful and practical, and the new tax cuts will not affect the state budget. If this is successfully fulfilled, the Ministry of Finance will complete its responsibility for businesses and people.
The Prime Minister assessed that the inspection and audit of the Finance sector was still modest compared to the State Audit and Government Inspectorate. He emphasized that the Ministry of Finance needs a filter, and gives a measurement criteria for enterprises on law enforcement for fair, public and transparent treatment and does not make it difficult for businesses.
Leading in anti-corruption and waste combat
Entering 2019, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc emphasized: The whole Finance sector must thoroughly grasp the spirit of the direction and operation theme of the Government in 2019: "Discipline, integrity, action, creativity and breakthrough and efficiency" to deploy tasks. Accordingly, striving to increase state budget revenue higher than that in 2018 with a total revenue of over VND 1.45 million billion; making a deficit of 3.5% of GDP; reducing the recurrent expenditure rate to 63% of the total state budget expenditure.
Restructuring the state budget and public debt according to Resolution 07-NQ / TW is a key and urgent task of the Finance sector to meet the technology revolution 4.0. There must be a synchronous solution, creating a larger fiscal space and more resources for active and flexible operation. There must be solutions to manage the budget towards increasing and reducing domestic revenue, reducing recurrent expenditures and deficit. In particular, promoting the renovation of public non-business units - an important task contributing to strongly reducing expenditures and human resource.
Regarding state budget collection, it is necessary to restructure and expand tax bases, raise revenues and expand the implementation of e-invoices. The Tax and Customs sectors need to better control to prevent losses, transfer prices, minimize outstanding tax debts and refund tax for right beneficiaries and in accordance with regulations.
The state budget expenditure has recently been more economical, but has been still wasteful in some aspects and needs to be reviewed more thoroughly. Meetings, commencement and foreign business trips need to be limited for development investment. At the same time, there must be better solutions to reduce deficit and public debts and encourage and monitor the use of loans.
The Finance sector should have a vision in managing macro issues, controlling inflation, price market, facilitating resources, and promoting sustainable and rapid growth. Along with that, offering solutions to stabilize the stock market and financial market in accordance with international practices and standards.
The financial sector also needs to tighten financial discipline in the system from central to local levels. It is also recommended that the financial management agencies are also units in charge of violations related to the use of state budget and public investment capital and ODA, causing wastefulness. The directors of the provincial and municipal Finance Services and the competent agencies must also do this well.
The task of thrift practice and waste combat and anti-corruption are the leading tasks of the Finance sector. Wrongly declaring the actual spending amount, taking advantage of the government's public fund to make a private fund for their unit and locality is also corruption. The Finance sector must be a leading unit in the effective and drastic performance of combat against corruption, wastefulness and showing off achievements.
The SOE equitization over the past time has been carried out slowly. Agencies that have been approved for equitization but have not implemented, need to be strictly handled. If this work is accelerated, it will bring many benefits, creating resources and contributing to prevention of corruption.
The management and use of public assets have shortcomings and have lasted for many years, which needs to be solved better in 2019, especially the use of public vehicles and public offices.
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The Finance sector must also attach importance to building the Party in the spirit of the Central Resolution 4, promote the prevention of self-movements and self-transformation. The Finance sector has set a requirement on strict law enforcement, which is for the other sectors to study and follow. Thereby, the Finance sector will create a good and favorable investment environment.
"I have a strong belief in a strong financial sector that makes an important contribution to the country’s development and with a 74-year glorious tradition that will contribute to creating a Finance sector that deserves the trust of Party and people"- The Prime Minister stressed.
By Hong Van/ Huyen Trang