MSI’s DFID-sponsored anti-corruption project in Vietnam recently funded a grant to local research institution, the Center for Community Support Development Studies, to conduct a nationwide survey of formal household businesses focused on their experiences with corruption.
In Vietnam, small household businesses are pivotal for economic growth. They are significant job generators providing nearly 80% of jobs in the country. Many properly register with the government and pay their taxes, but they typically fall prey to corrupt practices when seeking to register, obtain licenses or pay their taxes. The survey found that corruption related to tax matters was more prevalent than in licensing or registration, but generally, businesses perceive corruption as the norm in conducting their operations. They are prone to extortion by the authorities, as well as guilty of collusion with such authorities to promote their businesses.
The Agency for Business Registration in the Vietnamese Ministry of Planning and Investment is currently drafting a new decree on business registration with a section related to the registration of household businesses. They want to generate the new regulations while reducing opportunities for corrupt transactions.
The Agency reached out to our anti-corruption project when they heard about the nationwide survey. The Agency plans to use the survey to guide its regulatory drafting and reduce the impact of corrupt practices.
The project also supported the implementation of a new public construction law by drafting practical regulations for the Vietnamese Ministry of Construction. Vietnam sought out our project to provide other countries’ experiences in implementing such laws after participating in the international Construction Sector Transparency Initiative (CoST), a multi-stakeholder governance approach designed to promote transparency and accountability in publicly financed construction. Our expert, who was formerly a member of the CoST Secretariat, worked closely with a group of Vietnamese construction consultants to interview stakeholders throughout the country to identify transparency and accountability problems they have encountered. These were compared with problems experienced in our countries and resulted in a new set of regulations that have bee adopted by the Ministry.