Vietnam’s industrial policies worse than some African countries: experts

VietNamNet Bridge – Africa is thought to be more underdeveloped than Vietnam and Asia, but some countries have better industrial policies than Vietnam, according to Professor Kenichi Ohno, a Japanese expert.

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He spoke at a workshop at the GRIPS Development Forum (GDF) and Vietnam Development Forum (VDF) in mid-December 2014.

Rwanda, Zambia, Ethiopia and Tunisia, which have been able to reduce corruption, have better industrial policies than Vietnam, he said.

The leaders in the countries take part in sanitation campaigns with citizens and set up action plans every year.

These countries have also been making great efforts to develop the private economic sector and bolster the inner strength of their national economies.

Meanwhile, as Professor Ohno said, Vietnam has made efforts to create value since doi moi (renovation) initiated by the Communist Party in 1986.

But the professor warned that Vietnam has fallen into the middle-income trap, and that if it does not make changes to policies, it will get bogged down in the trap.

He said that Vietnam lacks both the strong will and the capability to speed up its industrialization process.

Policies on vocational training, on small- and medium-sized enterprise development, and support industry development remain weak. Policies on productivity improvement and renovation barely exist, he said.

Commenting on the issue, Dang Thi Thu Hoai, deputy head of the Public Service Policy Division of the Central Institute of Economic Management (CIEM), said: “Many policies have not been implemented or have not brought desired effects, especially in education, and science and technology development.”

“Vietnam has created many new policies with an aim to make science and technology play a key role in economic development. However, the effects of the policies over the past decades have been modest,” she said.

Professor Ohno said that attracting foreign direct investment, developing small- and medium-sized enterprises, and linking foreign-invested and domestic enterprises were three policies necessary for any country.

“In Vietnam, foreign-invested enterprises export more than they import, while domestic enterprises import more than they export. The real estate bubble still exists,” he said.

He emphasized that Vietnam should not rely on ODA (official development assistance) and FDI, but on industrial policies to reform and develop.

Ngoc Ha

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