PCI 2020: Local authorities urged to improve transparency, accountability

The report on Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) in 2020 acknowledged efforts in administrative reform of all 63 provinces and centrally-run cities, but the business circle still wants local administrations at all levels to further improve their transparency and accountability.

Provincial Competitiveness Index, PCI, administrative reform, PCI 2020, land, taxation, social insurance, VCCI, Vietnam, Vietnam News AGency, Provincial Competitiveness Index, PCI, administrative reform, PCI 2020, land, taxation, social insurance, VCCI, Vietnam, Vietnam News AGency, vietnamplusAt the event (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The report on Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) in 2020 acknowledged efforts in administrative reform of all 63 provinces and centrally-run cities, but the business circle still wants local administrations at all levels to further improve their transparency and accountability.

Participants at the event to announce the PCI 2020 on April 15 pointed to areas that need more reform attention such as land, taxation and social insurance.

Dau Anh Tuan, head of the legal department at the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) said amidst the bright spots in the picture of reform in 2020, there remained worrying statistics. For example, one in every four interviewed enterprises said local administrations favour State-owned enterprises and cause difficulties to private ones. Nearly one in every three enterprises thought local administrations gave preferential treatment to foreign-invested enterprises.

Meanwhile, nearly 45 percent said they still had to pay informal expenses, and 20 percent said State civil servants are unfriendly and ineffective. Meanwhile, the impact of COVID-19 has caused enterprises’ confidence to drop strongly. Only 41 percent of enterprises including private and FDI ones plan to expand their business in the next two years, down more than 10 percentage points compared to 2019.

PCI scores in 2020 also showed a slight reduction from 2019 and the leading localities in the PCI rankings made less breakthrough changes, which showed the reform momentum seemed to slow down.

Tuan stressed that the 2020 PCI report paid special attention to analyzing the impact of the pandemic on the business circle. He noted that enterprises appreciated the timely response and support policies made by the Government and local authorities in the situation.

Regarding difficulties faced by enterprises, he said the least improvement was made in transparency, with 57.4 percent of enterprises said they need to have relations with local officials in order to get access to local documents on land, bidding or even land planning and land use plans in localities.

VCCI Chairman Vu Tien Loc underlined that authorities at all levels and all sectors must be thoroughly aware of the need to create a favourable, healthy and fair investment and business environment for all economic sectors.

The PCI report has been published annually since 2005 by the VCCI and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to assess the ease of doing business, economic governance and administrative reform efforts by provincial and city governments to promote the development of the private sector.

Produced based on data collected from enterprises, the PCI has been viewed as ‘the common voice’ of the business community on the level of reform in various fields./.

VNA
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