Expensive and time-costing red tape, especially in customs procedures, are causing a lot of trouble to businesses, young entrereneurs told the Ho Chi Minh City administration at a meeting Saturday.
Do Phuoc Tong, director of Duy Khanh mechanic company, told the meeting that customs procedures have been corrupted by the "lubricant fee."
"Sometimes it was only a small package but without VND50,000 or VND100,000, it cannot be cleared through customs," Tong was cited by news website VnExpress as saying in a report.
He said the process of checking imports is so complicated that he usually has to pay to get over it.
His company once imported an expensive machine and the customs officers required to take it for checking to see if different parts of the machine fitted each other, which might take a long time.
"I had to show some 'understanding' to get things done quickly," Tong said.
Tran Duc Minh, a senior supervisor at HCMC Customs Department, said the lubricant fees is a true story but not all customs officials are corrupt.
Minh said all border gates in the city have been installed with telephones so that people and businesses can call the customs' hotline to report any corruption they witness or suffer.
Tong also pointed out that different tax problems put domestic mechanic firms at a big disadvantage.
Whole machinery and equipment are free from import tariffs but components are taxed between 30-40 percent, he said, adding that mechanic industry needs a lot of foreign components as local producers are not capable enough.
"I suggest more fair tax structures for mechanic products so that the industry has an opportunity to develop," Tong said.
Several business owners at the meeting complained about important administrative procedures that cost them a lot of time and money.
Luong Tri Thin, general director of Dat Xanh Real Estate Company, said he once had to wait three to four weeks to change his business license while it is supposed to take only five to seven days.
Thin said he believed some procedures were only made complicated so that people have to pay to save time.
He suggested administrative procedures be done more automatically to prevent corruption.
Nguyen Thi Thu Huyen, director of Anh Kim Commerce and Service Company, said that it cost her VND6 billion (US$288,000) once just to have the quality of her seafood products checked as she wanted to distribute them for sale at supermarkets.
It cost VND30 million to check each product and Huyen had a list of more than 200, she said.
"The cost was too big compared to the income from the production and trade, and this factor has discouraged many small and medium enterprises," Huyen said.
The vice chairman of the city People's Committee, Le Manh Ha, said he would try to meet with the business owners once a month to listen to their suggestions on trimming administrative procedures.
Ha also promised to keep the businesses up to date with the government and city investment policies.