IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the sustainable private sector investments in emerging markets. In Vietnam , IFC has long been one of the most active Development Financial Institutions supporting Vietnam’s sustainable development through implementing development projects, mobilizing international financing for infrastructure development, and providing expert advice to Vietnamese firms and Government.
In Lao PDR, IFC’s Business Regulatory Reform Project is supporting the Reform Task Force, recently established by the Lao PDR’s Government and coordinated by Ministry of Planning and Investment, to improve the regulatory environment for business start-ups and operations in the country. The objective of this assignment is for a consulting firm to provide technical support to the Reform Task Force to identify and assess regulatory barriers to doing business, develop solutions and advocate for their adoption in Lao PDR. MCG was selected by IFC to support the Laos’ Reform Task Force in some concerned regulatory areas including registration, construction permits, property registration and operating licenses for general and sector specific businesses.
MCG provided advisory services including: (i) Assessment of the overall business regulatory regime in Lao PDR encompassing the entire business lifecycle from registering to closing a business, for both general and industry specific businesses; (ii) Selection of five priority areas for immediate and medium-term reform engagement; (iii) An in-depth analysis of the selected five areas using regulatory reform methodologies and tools, including process mapping, standard cost model, cost-benefit analysis and public-private dialogue to identify regulatory barriers in these areas; and (iv) Proposing practical recommendations to address the identified regulatory barriers and detailed reform proposals for each priority area.
The assignment is part of IFC’s Green Building program aiming at developing the infant green building market through the development and implementation of a Building Energy Efficiency Code (BEEC) in step with the mobilization of private sector investment in energy efficiency projects. The program is expected to help reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions and improve energy efficiencies associated with new building construction in Vietnam. MCG was commissioned by IFC to incorporate international best practices on process re-engineering for local authorities in the three selected cities (Hanoi, Danang and Ho Chi Minh City), as well as provide training courses on BEEC to government officials.
In this project, MCG took main responsibility to: (i) Process map current construction permit licensing procedures for buildings with areas of 2,500m2 and above; (ii) Identify procedures that are ineffective or inappropriate and not in line with international best practices and make practical recommendations for improvements; (iii) Design detailed solutions for the provincial authorities to appraise construction permits in compliance with the BEEC by standardizing licensing documentation and procedures; (iv) Conduct field survey in target areas; (v) Design a standardized process of appraisal to replicate to all other cities/provinces and develop a toolkit of the standardized process to distribute all over the country; and (vi) Organize awareness raising workshops.
One of the major challenges facing Vietnamese financial institutions (FIs) committed to responsible environmental and social risk management (ESRM) is the limited local market infrastructure and a general lack of local, high-quality, affordable training and capacity building services in ESRM. Without the availability of these services, even environmentally and socially responsible FIs in Vietnam face difficulties in developing ESRM systems and training their staff in their implementation. ESRM training often differs significantly from traditional banking training modules in that motivational elements are significant. Also theoretical, technical elements and process related elements can be daunting. Trainers of ESRM often need a different skill set from the normal financial focus to deliver effective ESRM training programmes. In order to address these ESRM market capacity gaps in Vietnam, FI Konsult (FIK) retained by IFC to develop a training of trainers’ program (ToT) and to develop the local capacity to assist FIs to build institutional capacity in ESRM in Vietnam.
MCG, in collaboration with FIK successfully delivered a 3-5 day training of trainers on both technical subjects and soft skills; and provided up to five trainings of 2-3 days each for FI staff in Vietnam.
Vietnam’s agriculture sector is seeking to improve safety, quality, productivity and competitiveness of agricultural products in the world market, in which, women rely on agriculture for their income more heavily than men with over 50% of Vietnamese women employed in agriculture. The important role of women farmers remains undervalued and their access to access to resources, services and markets continues to be limited compared to men. The overall goal of the project is to improve sustainable rural growth in Vietnam, leading to an increased net income of USD 36.6 mil. for farmers by 2019. It will be realized by implementing the project’s integrated approach to increasing adoption sustainable farming practices, business opportunities and finance for farmers. In addition, the project will investigate and define gender equality dimensions to be mainstreamed in upcoming activities through: (i) Conducting gender analysis to enable equal opportunities for men and women in agriculture; (ii) Developing and delivering training modules on gender issues in agricultural production to targeted groups of farmers-30% women for ToTs and farmer group leaders; and (iii) Developing gender-informed financial products, and train bank staff on designing, promoting and delivering those products in a gender-sensitive manner. To meet this objective, MCG was contracted with IFC to inform the gender dimensions of the project and conduct a detailed gender analysis of the rice and coffee value chains within project client(s) network.
Working closely with IFC team members and identified key stakeholders in the value chain, MCG carried out the following main tasks: (i) Assess and quantify the representation of women in the various parts of the value chain; (ii) Identify the challenges that women face throughout the value chain and assess the ability of agricultural support services to meet the needs of men and women farmers; (iii) Conduct surveys and focus group discussions with selected target farmer groups and other stakeholders in three selected provinces; (iv) Analyse gender issues related to access and usage of resources, services, markets and benefits; and (v) Carry out an ecosystem analysis and coordinate with IFC to develop a monitoring system.
As a part of IFC’s environmental sustainability agenda in Vietnam, IFC intends to support the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) in its efforts to improve the environmental and social (E&S) risk management (ESRM) in lending activities among the banking sector. MCG was appointed by IFC to assist SBV in developing a full set of guidelines on ESRM for financial institutions in Vietnam, including but not limited to (a) main guidelines for addressing the E&S risks, (b) checklist for an number of key industries, (c) performance indicators for assessment of ESRM implementation, (d) key Tools, and (e) a report template on ESMS. In addition, capacity building and training activities are also part of attempts to strengthen knowledge and expertise on E&S risk management for commercial banks, which enables financial institutions (FIs) to improve their E&S management system.
MCG particularly implemented the following key activities: (i) Developing a first draft of Environment and Social Risk Management Implementation Guidelines taking into consideration local laws and regulations and international best practices, specifically IFC Performance Standards; (ii) Leading two round of consultations, supported by IFC, with SBV, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Vietnam Banks Association (VNBA), and key banks to reach the contents of final Sustainable Finance guidelines; (iii) Drafting the final ESRM Implementation guidelines for dissemination by SBV, VNBA and the banking sector; (iv) Developing sector specific tools to assist FIs in E&S appraisal; (v) Conducting four half-day training workshops for FIs describing methods for implementation of the guidelines; (vi) Providing subject matter expertise, experienced-based recommendations, best practices, etc., as needed, with the purpose of facilitating quality of support in the 6-month period following the banks training session.
Since April 2012, the Vietnam Licensing Project has been supporting the Vietnam Administrative Procedures Control Agency (APCA), to design a structured Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) system to ensure effective implementation and sustainability of reforms. The project is focusing on the design and development of the Evaluation tool under the form of client satisfaction survey. From February to June 2013, IFC conducted the Vietnam Administrative Reform Business Satisfaction Survey which aims to assess the opinions of businesses affected by the two reforms: (i) E-custom: Reform as specified in Decree 87/2012/ND-CP, allows 24/7 online declaration, checking, processing and feedback; and (ii) Self-printed Invoice: In Decree No.51, businesses are allowed to self-print their own invoices without going through registration procedures. This survey focuses on the two reform areas of e-custom and self-printed invoices and explore the opinions of businesses affected by these reforms.
MCG was commissioned to conduct a mass phone/mail SME survey with at least 2000 companies from 10 – 15 cities/provinces on the implementation of two administration procedures and deliver training sections for APCA staff on the usage of M&E tools.
Within the framework of Vietnam Secured Transactions Project Phase 3 (Access to Finance Program), IFC conducts a gender borrower survey. This activity is a part of project component 3 focusing on promoting and improving the movables lending practices in Vietnam, thereby increasing access to credit by SMEs, including women SMEs in particular. The main objectives, among with other things gather information on gender borrowers to assess the market demands and the actual percentage of women receiving credit and identify the following aspects but not limited to (a) Lenders’ enabling policies/incentives for gender borrowers and specific financial and financial products and services used by lenders targeting women clients; (b) credit needs and credit coverage geographical locations; (c) quality of credit payment history geographical locations; (d) women entrepreneurs’ needs and challenges in access to credit; (f) preferable channel for access to credit; and (g) active women entrepreneurs associations in Vietnam promoting access to finance for women.
In this assignment, MCG was contracted to conduct the survey in Vietnam with main tasks of (i) Determining a statistically significant sample size for the survey; (ii) Undertaking in-depth research of gender borrowers; (iii) Providing recommendations for the lending community to enabling increased access to credit for women entrepreneurs; (iv) Writing up and presenting final comprehensive report on gender borrower survey, including lessons learned from the analysis and recommendations to the representative(s) from IFC.
During the past two years, IFC had provided support to the Government’s far-reaching Administrative Procedure (AP) Reform Initiative, known as Project 30. IFC has focused on simplifying APs for key selected business licenses and building capacity for relevant officials on regulatory reform governance. IFC is now supporting the Administrative Procedure Control Agency (APCA), a new agency established following Project 30, to monitor the implementation of the reforms and continue reform efforts. In response to APCA’s request to provide technical assistance in reform solutions for selected investment related procedures and to support the institutionalization of standardized process at national level for application nationwide, MCG was commissioned to assist the IFC team in implementing this assignment.
Leveraging the land procedure re-engineering work done in three pilot provinces including Bac Ninh, Binh Dinh and Thua Thien Hue, and with analysis of the process in other provinces, MCG developed a universal process for the application of unconditional investment projects with access to land across the 63 provinces. In parallel, our consultant team conducted a Process Mapping and Standard Cost Model by interviewing over 200 businesses in Vietnam to streamline two types of conditional investment projects, i.e. school/university and hospital. The three proposed reform processes would be submitted to the Government for institutionalization under a Circular.
IFC and the Vietnam General Department of Taxation (GDT), under the Ministry of Finance, had collaborated on the implementation of a tax simplification project that aims at improving the tax regulatory environment for MSMEs by reducing the time and financial cost of tax compliance faced by taxpayers, especially small and micro businesses, and reducing ad-ministration costs faced by tax authorities. The project intends to use the diagnostic information from the study to recommend tax administration, policy and accounting simplification and to redesign the tax regime for unincorporated business households (BHs). The simplified tax regime would help to save time and costs for the tax administrations and make it easier for un-incorporated business households to comply.
MCG was contracted to conduct a diagnostic study of unincorporated BH taxpayers in order to establish a comprehensive picture of tax compliance and requirements for the small and micro taxpayers and of tax administration processes for this segment. Working closely with IFC and the GDT team, MCG was responsible for: (i) Desk researching the tax obligations and accounting requirements for unincorporated BHs; (ii) With the necessary support from GDT and IFC, locating and interviewing BH owners to validate the information and identify barriers to compliance and operation by BHs; (iii) As facilitated by GDT members, interviewing tax administrators including “outsourced” tax collectors from the commune/ward governments to identify areas of improvement to the current administration regime of BHs; (iv) Benchmarking against regional best practices in tax administration of the SMEs; and (v) Analysing data and writing report with proposals on simplifications, improvements to the administration regime which benefits tax compliance by BHs.
In Vietnam, IFC provided assistance in establishing the Better Work (BWV) Mekong Sustainability Program program from 2009 to 2011. There are 150 factories enrolled in BWV to which the program delivers social compliance assessments and training services, and all participating factories are presently located in Ho Chi Minh city and neighboring provinces. IFC’s next step for engagement focus on strengthening sustainability prospects for BWV; this includes increasing BWV capacity for income generation by expanding the number of clients it serves. This will require assessing the feasibility of delivering services to factories in partnership with other providers already serving the apparel industry in Vietnam. To achieve this, IFC contracted MCG to conduct a mapping exercise of all third-party service providers, NGOs, and other initiatives offering services to the Vietnamese apparel industry in: social compliance auditing, management and workers’ capacity building, productivity training, soft skills training and other relevant vocational training initiatives.
Working closely with IFC an BWV team, MCG delivered the following activities: (i) Conducting in-depth discussions with IFC team and BWV management to understand the current services delivered by BWV and expectations for the future; (ii) Completing mapping of all providers currently delivering services to the Vietnamese apparel industry; and (iii) Building on the mapping exercise to support the identification of appropriate partners.
As part of the environmental sustainability agenda in Vietnam, IFC intends to support the State Bank of Vietnam in its efforts to improve the environmental and social (E&S) risk management (ESRM) in lending activities among the banking sector. MCG was engaged to conduct a review of the current practices in ESRM among Vietnam-based commercial banks. The review should answer the following questions: i) To what extent E&S risks are covered by the current credit policies and procedures at commercial banks; ii) How the banks currently undertake E&S risks assessments in their credit approval process and where are the critical gaps potentially undermining their portfolios’ health; iii) How current practices in Vietnamese banks are benchmarked against best practices in the region or in developing countries of a similar context; iv) The key barriers perceived by banks in applying sound practices in E&S risk assessment and management; and v) What segment of commercial banks’ current portfolios is specifically prone to E&S risk issues and is immediate attention required.
Specifically, MCG conducted a mass mail survey to all commercial banks having operations in Vietnam and an in-depth study of five selected banks to develop a case study for analysing the gaps in current ESRM policies and procedures.
The Swiss Development Agency SECO provided a grant over 900,000 Swiss Francs to the Bank Training Center (BTC) to build capacity in Vietnamese banks via delivery of training and consultancy services from December 2005 to December 2009. The grant, managed by IFC, was intended for the following purposes: i) to make new content and services available to the market where expertise was not locally available, ii) to help existing BTC customers continue/increase their training and consultant services, and iii) to assist new BTC customers in using the services. The grant was also intended to enhance BTC capacity via expansion of the customer base, associate trainers, and product range. The budget was allocated to five main areas: i) Subsidies for specific bank training; ii) Training material development; iii) Training needs assessment; iv) Subsidies for consultancy; and v) Technical advisory for capacity building of BTC staff. The purpose of the Final Evaluation of the Vietnam Bank Training Center was to help IFC and SECO determine the effectiveness of the grant”. In addition, lessons learned related to the design and delivery of banking sector training and consultancy would be shared along with follow-up recommendations.
Given the specific purposes for the funds outlined in the grant documents, and intended outcomes, the end-term evaluation attempts to measure actual vs. expected results. As such, MCG was commissioned to measure the relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, impact and sustainability, the five DAC criteria, of the program. The assignment, therefore, was carried out in three phases, detailed as work packages: (i) Desk Study: document review, survey and questionnaire development, fieldwork methodology and sampling design; (ii) Field Work: Stakeholder interviews, review of survey results, and initial analysis of findings; and (iii) Written Report: Review of data, deeper analysis of findings, identification of lessons learned, recommendations drafted and write-up completed.
The Vietnam Land Program had two phase: (i) The first phase, that had been completed, consisted of a diagnostic assessing the land issues constraining private sector growth and identifying the necessary reforms; and (ii) The second phase (this project) dealt with detailed design and implementation of solutions and replication. The objectives of this assignment were: i) To improve inter-agency coordination and simplify administrative process and procedures for the local governments of the three provinces that affect business access to land, including investment registration, land allocation, environment impact assessment and construction permits; and ii) To review and streamline land-related procedures for the OoG’s Project 30, including above procedures in three provinces.
Within the project, MCG was commissioned to provide consulting services to (i) Local governments of the three provinces (Bac Ninh, Thua Thien Hue and Binh Dinh) to improve inter-agency coordination and simplify administrative process and procedures that affect business access to land. This included procedures related to investment registration, land allocation, environmental impact assessment and construction permits; and (ii) The Office of Government’s Project 30 to review and streamline land-related procedures, taking into account the work done in the provinces under (i) above. MCG was responsible for process mapping and solutions development activities. Out Consultant team worked with Departments of Planning and investment, Departments of environmental resource, Departments of constructions and People Committee at all levels, and nearly 60 enterprises in Bac Ninh, Thua Thien Hue and Binh Dinh for the research.
IFC, through IFC-MPDF (Mekong Private Sector Development Facility) and FIAS – a multi-donor investment climate advisory service managed by the IFC, has been supporting the General Department of Taxation of Vietnam to implement a tax simplification project aiming at improving the tax regulatory environment for SMEs by reducing the time and financial cost of tax compliance faced by taxpayers (especially small businesses), and reducing administration costs faced by tax authorities. The objectives of the assignment are (i) To conduct the mapping of Corporate Income Tax (CIT), Personal Income Tax (PIT), and Value-added Tax (VAT), including, but not limited to, procedures for tax registration, assessment, filing, paying, refund, appealing, audit and inspection; and (ii) To take stock of all kinds of taxes and fees applicable at national and sub-national levels, applicable at all business sectors in order to ascertain the full burden on businesses.
MCG was contracted to conduct a process mapping of tax administration procedures and stock taking of existing tax instruments applied to a number of key business sectors. The work was done by organizing in-depth interviews with more than 100 businesses in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh city, Binh Dinh and Da Nang. An assignment was envisaged to produce a complete inventory of tax instruments and illustration of all tax procedure flow detailing steps, documents, stakeholders, time and cost to complete each procedure.
The Project was built on the earlier work conducted by IFC under its Vietnam Land Program, which included a legal review, business surveys in a number of provinces and cities in Vietnam and an analytical report with the objective of assessing the impact on business access to land of the Land Law 2003. The pilot provinces selected for the Project are Bac Ninh Province, Thua Thien Hue Province and Binh Dinh province.
MCG was selected to assist IFC to provide advisory services to the local governments of the two provinces to improve their inter-departmental coordination on land and simplify administrative procedures for business access to and use of land in order to save investors’ time and cost when they decide to invest in the provinces.
In 2006, IFC conducted a diagnostic SWOT analysis of Techcombank’s ability to serve financial needs of the SME market segment, and agreed to support Techcombank in advisory services to provide more and better services to SMEs. IFC would offer supports through its Mekong Private Sector Development Facility (MPDF) in order to develop a cohesive strategy for the SME market. The following three areas are main project’s components: (i) To improve Techcombank’s ability to identify the needs of different client groups; (ii) To help develop suitable SME banking products and better manage risks for the particular portfolio; and (iii) To provide SMEs and consumers with better access to the funding and banking services, as well as to provide advisory services to Techcombank to support the development of the SME banking business. Part of the task is to identify and profile the potential SME customer universe by means of a target market survey and customer needs analysis.
MCG was selected to conduct this survey and prepare the SME market segmentation report. The key tasks were to (i) Conduct data mining from the database provided by IFC/MPDF and write short report on overview of SMEs of Vietnam which cover breakdown of SMEs according to: size of business, industry they are in, location, length of time in business and legal status; (ii) Coordinate with international consultants in finalizing the questionnaires, selecting samples for interviewing; (iii) Testing the questionnaires; (iv) Interview SMEs and analyse data collected to answer questions as requested by the international consultants; and (v) Validate data at the request of international consultants, IFC-MPDF and Techcombank.
Access to credit remains a significant constraint for private sector growth in Vietnam. The lending environment is heavily reliant on collateral and private firms are restrained from applying for credit, because of lack in collateral. In Vietnam, most valuable assets that firms hold are movables. However, the inability to effectively translate movable assets such as equipment, receivables, and inventories into alternatively productively assets (collateral) significantly diminishes the ability for all businesses, but especially SMEs, to access credit. IFC-MPDF had been working with the Ministry of Justice and the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) on a project to assess the current shortcomings in the legal and institutional framework for movable asset financing (secured transactions) in Vietnam and provide concrete recommendations for reform to allow broad use of movable assets as collateral. The following three areas are main project’s components: (1) Assistance in addressing the current shortcomings in the legal framework; (2) Assistance in identifying the discrepancies in the institutional set up and operation of the NARST (secured transactions registry system); and (3) Public awareness and knowledge dissemination activities for the end users of the system. In order to set out the baseline information with regard to private sector lending practice in this regard for measuring and monitoring the reform’s progress and impacts; as well as to get the practical inputs for above works; IFC/MPDF works jointly with the State Bank of Vietnam to undertake a financial sector survey and contracted MCG to conduct this survey.
MCG was engaged to (i) Undertake interviews with credit officers of banks and non bank financial institutions in Vietnam with regard to lending practices; (ii) Collect and consolidate data via survey questionnaires and interviews; and (iii) Analyse the data and prepare a report on lending practice with particular focus on the lending against movable assets as collateral.
In 2004, the Mekong Private Sector Development Facility (MPDF) revised its monitoring and evaluating (M&E) approach adopting systematic implementation assessments of each program, thus, enable it to better elaborate outcomes and impacts to donors, clients and other stakeholders. The Evaluation Plan adopted Before-and-After Approach in assessing impacts for a number of Programs, hence, collecting baseline data is seen as a prerequisite condition.
Within this assignment, MCG carried out the following works: (i) Verify the validity, availability and accessibility of pre-determined impact indicators; (ii) Provide suggestions on revising indicators; (iii) Collect baseline indicators after validity/availability/accessibility checks; and (iv) Enter collected data into a database and process data for inputs of future Outcome/Impact Assessments.