Khoa loves Vietnam. He has studied hard to be able to contribute to Vietnam’s progress. But because he is not a member of the Communist Party, his options for working in government are significantly restricted.
So instead Khoa decided to set up a business in his hometown. When Khoa tried to register his business, it was clear that he would only be welcome there if he ‘smoothed the way’ with money. The nephew of the local official dealing with the application ran a similar business in the area and didn’t want Khoa’s competition.
Minh runs his own restaurant serving fine food and wine to Ha Noi’s elite. The business is thriving and looking to expand. But in order to keep his operating license, Minh must make unofficial payments to those in charge. “I would become a Christian if I lived in the West,” Minh explained, “but here you just can’t live that way. I would be out of business.”
It is expensive and time consuming to follow the letter of the law in Vietnam. Even if a business has everything in order an “extra” payment is usually expected before approvals are given. Corruption is widespread and absorbs millions of dollars each year from local businesses. Government workers receiving low salaries view bribes as an acceptable way to boost their income and provide enough money for their families. Talented young professionals can earn more setting up their own companies than working for the State and nepotism often means that those with connections receive opportunities before those with the best quality products or services.
- Pray for Vietnam’s national leaders; running a huge, developing country like Vietnam is a very difficult job.
- Pray that people in positions of authority and responsibility would be touched by the gospel.
- Ask the Lord to enable Christian graduates to take significant roles in many different spheres which will really build up society.
- Pray that the Lord would provide a way out for Vietnamese business people faced with pressures to pay bribes or compromise godly values
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