Speeches & Transcripts

Vietnam Development Partnership Forum 2014 Closing Remarks

December 5, 2014

Victoria Kwakwa, World Bank Country Director for Vietnam Vietnam Development Partnership Forum 2014 Hanoi, Vietnam


Thank you very much, Minister Vinh. I'd like to thank Prime Minister Dung for his remarks. Thank you for your participation today.

As I said at the beginning it's a busy time for you but you've spent the entire morning with us. This is much appreciated.

As we come to close I'll try and do a quick summary of some of what has come up. I am not able to clarify what would be the follow up actions. I will suggest a way forward in concluding on follow up actions at the end of this quick summary.

We heard the Prime Minister lay out clearly his priorities, the priorities of his government for 2015. These priorities respond to and reflect a lot of the issues that we've been discussing here. So there is quite a bit of resonance. He highlighted, in particular, the continued attention to the fight against corruption, which is a theme that has come out strongly in the conversations that we've had this morning.

On macroeconomic stabilization, while recognizing the government's efforts and the significant progress that has been made over the last couple of years, I think it's also clear that this has to continue to be an area of focus. Vietnam's budget deficit situation is still relatively high, and the achievements on macro stability have also benefited from the fact that you've had bit of a growth slowdown, so demand has been quite weak.

As the economy begins to recover there is always the risk that you could run into renewed macroeconomic instability. So, the suggestions about providing a broad platform for sustained macro stability going forward remain important. Linked to that is the issue of how you finance the NPLs in the financial sector, and recognizing, increasingly, the close link between macro stability and the structural and institutional reforms.

One other theme that's come out very clearly is the need for strong implementation. We've all commended government for the very good pieces of legislation that have come into place during the course of the year. But implementation is key. The inter-agency coordination: reducing the burden on private sector and other agents as things are implemented. Ensuring consistency and predictability and implementation, and particularly transparency in the process of implementation are clearly mechanisms to continue to evaluate implementation success and performance and to feed that back into policy formulation is going to be important.

There have been specific comments about the implementation of the land law, which we all applauded when it was adopted, and how this can be strengthened and more data brought to the table around land registration and land assets.

I think these are all areas, Prime Minister, though we stand ready as development partners to support you on, recognizing the critical importance of implementation.

There has been great attention to the PPP law, Minister Vinh has indicated that there's another round of comments we anticipate, and we hope that this can be completed soon. That also the issue that was raised earlier about the eligibility, or the - distinguishing what projects are ripe for PPP and what would be implemented through other channels is also important.

We've all highlighted the great importance in implementation; particularly of the institutional reforms of ensuring the independence of regulatory and oversight bodies. We've heard the experience of Australia. We've mentioned, in particular, that the electricity regulatory agency ERAV and Vietnam competition authority particularly need to be given independence and autonomy so that they can function well in promoting competition that is needed.

On the SOE reforms the disclosure and transparency issues have come up again. We've all recognized, and Minister Vinh has acknowledged the importance of focusing not only on the numbers, but also on the quality of equitation, particularly in how this impacts the final performance and the results of the SOE sector, and the efficiency.

We've said it's going to be increasingly important to recognize the need to ensure competition. To open space so the issues around contestability of markets is going to be increasingly important. We hope this is an area that the government will focus on. Because it does provide the platform for private sector development.

We've talked a lot about civil society participation. We look forward to working with [MPI] on the revision of Decision 93. There has been attention to the law on associations, and also to the law on access to information.

The dialogue on private sector issues, particularly on the dialogue with the domestic private sector has been pointed out as important. We've recognized the importance of the introduction of a chapter on social enterprises and the enterprise law, and look forward to supporting its implementation. I think part of the conversation on private sector development has also been about how the government can play a role in putting in place the right legislation and regulations to ensure that enterprises behave in a socially responsible way, and protect the interests of labor, including young women, lactating mothers and others.

We've talked about the great importance of establishing a directors' institute, an institute of directors and support has been offered by several development partners in helping you reach this.

We've emphasized that even as we talk about these economic issues it's critically important to continue to keep focus on our sustainability and inclusiveness agenda, which is also very much front and center of the government's agenda. The Prime Minister mentioned the MDG achievements and the objectives of moving forward on that.

We've heard the importance of making progress on defining the 2015 - post- 2015 agenda. The continued challenges on ethnic minority poverty, ethnic minority - a voice. Also recognizing that growth is not just any growth. It' sustainable growth that we're all looking for. So, looking- even as we're developing the private sector - at opportunities to help them be greener in their growth, and to look at the opportunities for green growth as a new line of business. Bringing in technology and innovation for small and medium scale enterprises, for other enterprises is really relevant.

We've spoken about ODA implementation. Vietnam needs a lot of resources. The Prime Minister was mentioning this morning we still have a lot of resources that are on the table that need to be implemented. The upcoming revision of ODA Decree 38 is going to be important. We stand ready to support and to help in this regard to address some of the remaining bottlenecks on this.

Now, this is a very quick summary. I haven't touched on everything. It's been a rich conversation. I'd like to thank all of you for your very active participation. It’s evidence of the commitment of all of us to the Vietnam Development Partnership Forum.

Now, in terms of how we come to closure on actions that we will follow up on. I notice that the two working groups have matrices. These matrices still remain quite long. I would suggest that we set ourselves a deadline of let's say the middle of January, since several of us are going to be going away on holiday; the middle of January to finalize the matrices, make them more focused, a fewer number of actions.

That we submit this to government and that government, hopefully, commit to have these approved no later than the middle of February so that we can monitor implementation and work with the government side on implementation.

We will also finalize a broader road map of actions from now to the next VDPF in 2015.

Let me close by thanking all of you; Prime Minister Dung, thank you so much for your commitment to this forum, for your commitment to the partnership that we have with you. All of us as development partners, with the government and people of Vietnam, the strong commitment and willingness on both sides to continue to improve our partnership and our dialogue so that it serves the interests of the government and people of Vietnam.

Thank you very much.