A number of owners of foreign-invested businesses in Ho Chi Minh City and the neighboring province of Dong Nai have suddenly disappeared, leaving behind empty manufacturing plants and a huge amount of unpaid wages to employees and taxes to the government.
The Dong Nai management board of the province’s industrial parks has recently revoked the investment licenses of 17 such businesses. Meanwhile the HCMC customs agency said 128 foreign invested businesses operating as outsourcers for other companies have also fled their locations, defaulting on VND400 billion worth of taxes.
Most of the business owners of the canceled projects in Dong Nai have returned to their home countries without completing the procedures to declare dissolution.
Some have even managed to secretly transport their machinery and equipment out of the plants, only leaving behind low-value machines that are not enough to cover the salary debts they owe to workers.
Similarly, the list of defaulting foreign-invested business owners in HCMC has repeatedly seen new names added to it.
Most have left behind enormous amounts of unsettled taxes, local authorities said.
The 100 percent South Korea-invested Silver Star Vietnam, for instance, still owes as much as VND29.6 billion worth of unpaid taxes, but all authorities found at its headquarters in Binh Tan District was a deserted land plot without a single piece of machinery.
Out of control
Doan Phi Van, deputy head of the agency that manages the investment sector under the HCMC Customs Agency, said authorities have trouble retrieving the unpaid taxes as they do not know where to find the defaulters.
Van said inspections of the businesses also face problems.
“Some businesses declare that their headquarters are in the city, but their manufacturing plants are located in other localities,” she said.
“Moreover, we have to inform them of the inspection before hand, which in fact gives them time prepare to pass the check.”
To deal with the issue, the Ministry of Planning and Investment has recently ruled that provinces and cities should withdraw the licenses of sluggish foreign investors.
“Any FDI projects that fail to proceed within 12 months of receiving the license without adequate reasons will be pulled out,” the ministry said in a statement.
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