Government Office Chairman and Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc admitted that only one-fourth of the 258 priority administrative procedures had been simplified by late October have been addressed.

State agencies are falling behind the curve when it comes to administrative reform.

The priority procedures reform is a crucial step in the implementation of the government’s Administrative Procedure Aimplification Master Plan in the field of state management for 2007-2010 (Project 30).

“The major cause was the lack of serious collaboration among relevant state agencies to build legal documents defining the simplification of the procedures,” Phuc said.

Under Resolution 25/NQ-CP dated June 2010, the government requested the simplification of 258 priority administrative procedures in crucial areas including construction, tax, customs and medical treatment to be finalised by late October 2010.

The simplification is based on the principle of reducing administrative burdens, creating favourable conditions for citizens, businesses and ensuring state management objectives are met.

As per initial calculations, simplification of the priority procedures will save about VND5.7 trillion ($292 million) a year for citizens and businesses.

To achieve the goal, state agencies have been requested to build legal documents and measures to conduct the simplification of procedures.

“Strong cooperation among state agencies is crucial to help achieve the goal. We are trying to push forward the progress to make all 258 priority procedures simplified by late November,” Phuc said.

On November 8, Phuc also requested state agencies and localities to strictly follow up the schedule to ensure the timeline.

In a workshop last week on “Vietnam Business Climate Reforms: Looking Forward from Doing Business 2011” held by the World Bank, the bank’s vice president of financial and private sector development Janamitra Devan agreed that although Vietnam had made significant progress in the business regulatory environment over years, much more needed to be done for a better business environment.

“Vietnam can celebrate improved regulatories regarding to starting a business, dealing with construction permits and getting credit,” Devan said.

There were positive changes in Vietnam but tax payment, investor protection and starting up business procedures still needed working on, said Devan.

“Actual improvements depend on improvement in implementation [of laws and policies, otherwise Vietnam will have big problems,” he said.

Vietnam Investment Review -Nov 15, 2010