Advocacy for a better Enabling Environment for BDS in Vietnam, GTZ 2004-5

    Based on an assessment of the market for BDS in Vietnam (see link, right), the GTZ SME Promotion Project conducted a study of the policy and legal environment for BDS, between June 2002 and December 2003, in partnership with local and international partners. In a preliminary study, policies relating to nine services were reviewed. A subsequent, more detailed study covered Intellectual Property Services, Accounting and Auditing Services, and Training Services.

    These services were selected for in-depth study based on the: i) interest of local BDS facilitators in promoting change in the service markets; (ii) severity of legal constraints to the development of the service market; (iii) importance of the service market to SMEs; and (iv) feasibility of legal proposals/ recommendations for change to be implemented.

    For those coming here from the "What's New" page, the report describing GTZ's experience with advocating for a better enabling environment for BDS and the impact of those efforts has been updated as of April, 2005.

    Methods for info gathering
    Desk study, field survey, in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, key informant interviews

    Summary of results
    The involvement of different stakeholders in the study resulted in greater awareness of the need for a more enabling environment for BDS market development among policy making and advocacy institutions. This was reflected in the Comprehensive Poverty Reduction and Growth Strategy, and in the Report on 3 Years of Implementing the Law on Enterprise. It also led to some specific proposals for policy changes:

    1) apparent inconsistencies in the laws on consulting services, making entry into the market more difficult
    2) unclear prohibitions for law firms, making it difficult for them to provide comprehensive legal services
    3) very high requirements for Intellectual Property service providers, contributing to a monopoly situation
    4) confusing requirements for vocational training schools, limiting the establishment of new providers

    All of these issues were addressed in a Directive by the Prime Minister issued in December 2003. GTZ and its partners will be following up on this Directive, and other initiatives by local stakeholders with similar proposals for change.

    Lesson Learned during the process:
    - Involving the agency which can provide direct inputs into the policy making process is critically important;
    - Strong ownership of local stakeholders and "change agents" through their participation in the implementation and selection of study subjects is key;
    - It is not necessary to finalize the study before carrying out policy advocacy activities. The law- and regulation-making bodies can use inputs immediately as long as the results prove good and reliable;
    - Raising the awareness of individuals who draft laws and regulations - through their participation in the study and paid consultancy contracts that support their participation in workshops - makes sense and can bring excellent results.
    - A public/ private/ chamber partnership in the study can be a model.

    Associated Activities and Documents
    Market Assessment
    »GTZ and Swisscontact Viet Nam - BDS Market Assessment 2001
    Synthesis Documents
    »Fifth Annual Service Markets Seminar, Chiang Mai, Thailand, September 2004