Experts skeptical about transfers of ailing SOEs

Local experts during a meeting on Wednesday said that the transfer of ailing State-owned enterprises (SOEs) to other sound SOEs will only see problems of the enterprises spreading widely instead of giving the firms proper therapy.

In addition, there is no legal framework for such transfer, the experts said at the seminar on SOE role renovation organized by the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM) in Hanoi on Wednesday.

The nature of this move is transferring difficulties from one economic group to another, thus quickly spreading woes among these enterprises, said Tran Tien Cuong, a former specialist of CIEM.

A report of CIEM showed that debt-laden shipbuilder Vinashin has handed over seven affiliates together with their 23 units and five projects to PetroVietnam and Vinalines.

Vinalines has taken over Hai Ha seaport industrial zone in Quang Ninh Province, Vinashin Dinh Vu Port in Haiphong City and Hau Giang shipyard and industrial zone. Meanwhile, PetroVietnam has taken over Lai Vu Ship Industrial Park in Hai Duong Province, Nghi Son Ship Industrial Park in Thanh Hoa Province and Soai Rap Ship Industrial Park in Tien Giang Province from Vinashin.

As the status quo of these ailing enterprises is maintained, they are still suffering serious financial imbalance when being transferred, placing a huge burden on the shoulders of PetroVietnam and Vinalines.

Besides, these enterprises still have many unfinished projects, so it is very difficult to evaluate the projects. SOE transfer is also an administrative order, so transferees will face many challenges.

Vinashin has transferred huge debts and unfinished projects to PetroVietnam and Vinalines but failed to present enough documents of these assets, the report said.

Concerning transfer of EVN Telecom from Vietnam Electricity Group to Viettel, Viettel has experienced a lot of trouble with handling issues such as human resources, old contracts and useless assets.

Besides, the transfer of SOEs has reflected administrative intervention and non-market measures of the State. The move will fail to push enterprises to renovate themselves, Cuong said.

Le Viet Thai from CIEM said that SOE transfer should be applied in special cases such as transfer among ministries and those related to national defense or having great impacts on society. For other cases, SOEs should be transferred publicly.