Survey finds local enterprises growing but problems remain

 HA NOI — A three-year survey released yesterday found businesses operating in Viet Nam have, on the whole, demonstrated considerable growth.

The results were publicised in the capital during a meeting hosted by the General Statistics Office (GSO).

The survey followed State-owned enterprises (SOEs), non-State firms and foreign-invested companies, from 2002 to 2004 and was conducted by the GSO and World Bank.

"However, the number of operating enterprises surveyed is only a fraction of the actual number of licensed businesses operating in the country," said Vu Van Tuan, director of the GSO’s Industry and Construction Statistics Department.

Nearly 70,000 enterprises were included in the survey each year. There are, according the GSO, some 150,000 registered companies nationwide.

Tuan said many enterprises, though registered, were not included, because they had folded or merged with other businesses.

During the duration of the survey the number of enterprises rose on average by 19.4 per cent per annum.

The survey found that the average net turnover of companies increased by 21.6 per cent annually. Companies’ capital resources increased by 16.2 per cent and remittance to the State Budget went up by 22 per cent.

The number of SOEs has decreased over the past three years, representing roughly 6.7 per cent of the nation’s enterprises in 2004. Despite the diminished number of SOEs, these companies continued to top investment capital and turnover statistics at rates of 59 per cent and 47 per cent respectively.

"This proves the key role of SOEs in Viet Nam’s economy," Tuan said.

All companies’ net profits, on average, increased from 3.7 per cent in 2000, to 4.3 per cent in 2002, and to 4.5 per cent in 2003.

Facing shortcomings

Despite growth in both quantity and quality, many enterprises across the country still face problems.

Tuan said 95 per cent of companies in Viet Nam now are small or medium-sized enterprises. The majority of these firms, some 86 per cent of them, control capital of less than VND10 billion (US$637,000).

A number of companies downsized, employing fewer workers in 2003 than they did when an earlier survey was conducted in 2000.

Based on their findings, the GSO encouraged private enterprises to develop clear business plans and improve competitiveness and technology.

Rob Swinkels, World Bank representative to Viet Nam, said the two institutions faced a series of hurdles in conducting their research.

He said many businesses keep incomplete records of their operations, often limiting the researchers ability to adequately analyse the data.

Viet Nam News, May 12, 2005