Mr. Le Viet Hai, Chairman of Hoa Binh Construction Group, was one of the businessmen set to run for election for the 15th National Assembly term from 2021 to 2026. In a conversation with Saigon Investment, Mr. LE VIET HAI expressed his views on several important issues concerning the private sector.
JOURNALIST: - Sir, as manager of a private firm, how do you rate the role of the private sector?
Mr. LE VIET HAI: - Currently, authorities are gathering opinions to amend a number of issues related to the Law on Enterprises. One of the contents discussed was when will a company that has capital from State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC) operate under SCIC. Many suggested that when returning to SCIC, state-owned enterprises are considered normal enterprises, not state-owned enterprises (SOEs). In my opinion, the authorities' point of view is quite clear, which is to appreciate the dynamics and efficiency of private firms. The private equitization policy is also a policy to help businesses operate moreefficiently under the new model. Thus, the current private sector is not only private capital but also originates from state capital. I affirm that this is the right policy and the role of the private sector is increasingly being promoted.
However, my concern is how SOEs can have more favorable conditions for development, and for the private sector to be seen as motivation force for economic development of the country. The private sector and the state economy must be treated fairly, with transparency, even though there are many difficulties in SOEs management. According to my research, the responsibilities of the Chairman of the Board of Members, and the general director of SOEs are huge, but the interests do not commensurate, so there is lack of dedication of business leaders.
It could also be that the criteria for selection, appointment, and dismissal of SOE managers are not specific and clear, so it is difficult to recruit talented people, or encourage heads of enterprises to come up with long-term strategies for the company. These are problems that we need to research thoroughly and overcome, in order to select talented people and operate businesses in the most effective way. We even have to concretize these processes and contents in laws and decrees.
- Sir, if you are elected a member of the National Assembly, what will be your concerns for private sector development?
- Currently, the State takes the private sector very seriously. However, the legal system needs to be more complete to develop the private sector, overcome its many limitations, as the private sector forgets social responsibility when chasing profits. Accordingly, the law not only supports, but also helps the private sector develop in the right direction.
In the position of a member of the National Assembly, not only will I personally offer legal solutions, but I will also enthuse people to use and apply solutions wisely. The legal system needs creativity, not a stereotype of another country, but we must continue to learn from developed countries. We should combine world views to Vietnamese creativity to have the most suitable legal system.
- Sir, can it be said that the private sector has not been promoted in the best way possible?
- For a long time now, we have talked about delays and sluggishness in the private sector, which are caused by administrative procedures that have not met the requirements of enterprises. However, this is not the root of the problem. The basic problem lies in the development strategy, and first of all, we must determine what is a key economic industry, why is it a key economic industry and what solutions are there for that industry to develop.
We have a lot of industries and services, so it is necessary to have a deeper assessment of each field, each industry, and listen to opinions from experts, businesses, and managers for their competitiveness, challenges, as well as opportunities. After that, we can determine which industries have opportunities to become key economic sectors in the country, so then we can have appropriate strategies and solutions. The construction industry is the field in which I have directly operated for many years. I see that this industry can completely become a key economic industry. I have shared this thought with state management agencies, colleagues and received much enthusiasm from everyone.
As I said, solving a difficulty is only solving the top part of the problem. Identifying new strategic tasks can solve the root of the problem. The strategic issue here is to identify the key industries, markets and economic products in a competitive environment. After that, we must have global competitiveness in every industry that we think is strategic. The problems of administrative procedures are actually not so important to me, but we must have breakthroughs to bring the economy into deeper integration with the world.
- Sir, can you give a clearer example of the field of businesses in which you are operating?
- First, I think there is a strategy to create an economic breakthrough for Vietnam. It is not because I work in construction that I recommend this. But I see a huge opportunity for the construction industry to effectively contribute to the economic boom, if we export construction. The foreign construction market is worth USD 12,000 bn, 750 times more than the domestic market which is worth USD 16 bn. If we have a national strategy, we can create conditions for the realization of such a goal.
In my opinion, this needs to be done quickly because the Covid-19 pandemic has hurt the entire world economy, and all countries choose construction as an industry that governments can intervene in through public investment. Many countries have policies to limit the use of Chinese goods and services, while Japan and South Korea advocate not developing overseas construction because they are no longer competitive. Therefore, this is the time and opportunity for Vietnam to rise to the occasion and replace China, South Korea or Japan in the world construction market, and make construction a key economic sector of the country. In the role of a National Assembly member, I think my voice will have more weight in policy formation and implementation of this strategy.
- Sir, what are your concerns about the private sector, as well as the development of the construction industry, and what do you expect after becoming a member of the National Assembly?
- The issues that I have just spoken about are issues I have presented many times in many forums and I have been heard by many authorities, economic managers and experts. However, if this time I become a National Assembly member, I think my voice will hold much more weight, and the chance to share my views will be better as I will be able to contribute towards my ideas more effectively.
I have already freed myself of some of my current responsibilities by transferring these to my son, who is now in the position of CEO. If I continue to hold position of chairman and CEO, there will be no time to do justice to my work. Now, I have more time to participate in the conference, and I think I will be able to gather knowledge from many people in the business world, as well as seek ideas, initiatives and solutions from many worlds, and many contributors.
- Thank you very much.