Equitization of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) has been at a snail’s pace since the process is riddled with mistakes and disputes, lawmakers say.
Nguyen Truong Giang, a standing member of the National Assembly’s Legal Committee, said only 12 out of the 64 SOEs targeted were equitized last year. „Equitization has been slowing down steadily over the years.“
Poor compliance with laws and regulations has been a reason, and there are still group interests interfering with the equitization process, while authorities are slow to penalise violations, he said at a National Assemby session Thursday.
The Government Inspectorate last year found that shipping firm Vinalines, under the Ministry of Transport had, illegally sold its stake in Quy Nhon Port to a private company without the government’s approval. Vinalines was ordered to buy back its 75 percent stake, which it did for VND415 billion ($17.7 million) this week.
Giang said the violations occurred in this case because the Ministry of Transport had issued two illegal documents to sell its stake in the port.
Giang also cited the instance of construction giant Vinaconex, which was successfully equitized but was embroiled in many disputes and lawsuits between groups of shareholders, which adversely affected its business.
Pham Dinh Toan, deputy chairman of the National Assembly Office, concurring with Giang, said there have also been many instances of losses because land use rights were not taken into account when valuing SOEs for equitization.
Le Minh Chuan, chairman of the state-owned mining group Vinacomin, claimed there are many discrepancies in regulations related to valuation, resulting in agencies not understanding how to apply them.
Lawmakers urged the government to speed up equitization and improve the transparency in valuing companies. Organizations and individuals who abuse their positions or illegally intervene in the equitization process need to be severely penalized, they said.
According to reports by 17 ministries, out of 113 enterprises that should have been equitized in 2017 and 2018, only 37 were, putting the government’s plan to equitize 140 businesses by 2020 in jeopardy.