VietNam Net Bridge – Rice exporters complain they have to satisfy many requirements and pay under-the-table money to obtain a license to export rice.
Everyone knows that it is costly to obtain a license to export rice, but rice exporters had never revealed how much a license costs until the director of a rice export company mentioned this at a seminar recently.
Ngo Van Nam, general director of ADC Company Ltd, said that one license ‘costs no less than $20,000’.
Nam revealed the figure to prove that the current regulations stipulated in Decree 109 create big barriers for enterprises and hinder exports.
Nam said that rice export companies are required to report to state management agencies every day about rice export volume and inventory level, which takes enterprises time. Some companies have to hire more workers just to make reports.
When export licenses expire, enterprises will have to have licenses extended, for which they will also have to pay money. If they don’t, they will be excluded from a list of rice exporters.
The requirement on material growing areas is also an obstacle that hinders rice exports.
“There are many businesses which have good prestige and good products, but they are not eligible for export just because they cannot satisfy the requirements on the material growing area. And they have to ‘pay’ for licenses,” he said.
The representative of the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT), who was present at the seminar, stated that MOIT will ‘clarify the case’.
Just one day later, MOIT’s Deputy Minister Tran Quoc Khanh was instructed to head an inspection team to investigate the case that ADC mentioned.
Nam confirmed on February 25 that he had a working session with MOIT’s inspectors. However, he said the cost for the rice export license he mentioned was the price offered by a consultancy firm.
Nam said that ADC had never sent a dossier of application for rice export license to MOIT and ADC had never paid such money for the license.
“ADC has not made direct rice exports. The price offered by the consultancy firm is too high. Therefore, I do not agree to pay money to get a license,” he said.
“I just provided information about the price of a license. I did not say I could obtain a license at such price,” he explained.
However, opinions from well-informed circles said ‘there is no smoke without fire’.
Vo Tong Xuan, the Vietnamese leading agronomist, said 10 years ago, he heard from rice exporters that they had to pay money for export licenses.
At that time, Vinafood was the only enterprise which could export rice directly. But the policy has ended. Under current regulations, all companies can export rice directly if they can satisfy requirements.