42% of Vietnamese SMEs admit to bribing gov’t officials

Despite an improvement in Vietnam’s business, the country’s small and medium enterprises are still pressured to pay bribes in order to operate, according to the “Characteristics of the Vietnamese Business Environment: Evidence from a SME Survey in 2015” report.

The report, conducted by Vietnam’s Central Institute for Economic Management, revealed that 42.7%  (a drop from 44.6 percent in the 2013) of SMEs had to ‘bribe’ officials in order to facilitate their business in 2015, with most acknowledging that the amount of “under the table” money they are forced to pay will continue to rise in the future.

Those who paid bribes said that “under the table” money facilitated the processing of permits and licensing. Bribe money also helped them deal with tax and tax collectors, and handle customs.

The survey interviewed some 2,500 non-state manufacturing SMEs in ten cities and provinces, including three major cities – Hanoi, Hai Phong, and Ho Chi Minh City.

Of the surveyed enterprises, 72 percent are micro-firms, or those with no more than ten full-time employees.