Mr. Nguyen Xuan Phuc, member of the Politburo, Deputy Prime Minister, Chairman of the Government Steering Committee for Administration Reform. Photo: Vietnam News Agency
Recently, Mr. Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Politburo member, Deputy Prime Minister, Chairman of the Government Standing Committee for Administration Reform wrote an article on continuing to push forward public administration reform. Communist Review would like to introduce this article.
Public administration reform has been identified by the Party and State as one of the three strategic breakthroughs in country’s rapid and sustainable development. Fully aware of and strictly implement the Party’s guidelines and resolutions, the Government has issued resolutions, programs, and plans to carry out public administration reform from the Central to grassroots levels. As a result, important achievements have been made, contributing to economic renovation, enhancing effectiveness and efficiency, strengthening social democracy, and international integration, improving business environment, heightening national competitiveness, consolidating and maintaining political stability, preventing and fighting against corruption and negative phenomena.
Institutional system, especially on human rights, basic citizen’s rights, state apparatus, socialist-oriented market economy has been continually supplemented and completed in keeping with the 2013 Constitution. Important reform has been made in the process of building institutions, setting store by generalization of reality, public consultation, shortened duration for preparation and approval and quality of legal document.
Administration procedures, particularly working procedures between state administrative organizations with people and businesses have changed remarkably to be more transparent, contributing to prevention and fighting against negative phenomena and corruption. Particularly, as a result of the Program 30 on streamlining administrative procedures, the Government issued 25 specialized resolutions on administration procedures reduction. By now, 4,219 or 89.5% of 4,712 procedures have been simplified. Important progress has been made in the fields of land, construction, investment, taxation, customs, social insurance, electricity service, pushing up production and business and enhancing national competitiveness. One stop shop, and interrelated mechanisms have been scaled up in localities, most of which have presently provided one stop shop and interrelated services at district levels. Some localities have piloted provincial and district centers for public administration services, concentrated administration centers as one stop shop for transparently processing administration procedures thus creating favorable conditions for people and businesses.
The administrative apparatus has operated more effectively with less overlapping of functions and tasks; Government’s focal points have been streamlined; State regulatory bodies and public service units have been differentiated more clearly. State governance effectiveness and efficiency have been enhanced; administrative conformity and transparency have been improved and people’s ownership has been promoted. Public administrative offices’ role, functions and tasks have been adjusted to ensure governance and social services. Noticeable progress has been made in decentralization and assignment of tasks between the Central and local levels, particularly on management of finance, budget and cadres. Understanding and awareness on the role, and macro management of the Government in the market economy have been raised and more suitable.
Progress and renovation have been seen in public service and employee reform. Efforts have been made in reviewing, adjusting and promulgating synchronous systems of norms, job descriptions, professional standards of public employees and civil servants, a structure of public employees and civil servants by positions and renovating staff recruitment and elevation. Some ministries, branches and localities have piloted examinations for promotion.
Public finance reform has also recorded positive and remarkable results. Working offices of state organizations at all level have been improved, particularly district one stop shop offices. ISO application and information technology have helped expand and brought into play effective operation of public administration offices.
Constraints and limitations
Despite progress, Viet Nam’s administration is still behind reform objectives due to constraints and limitations. The legal system is incomplete, overlapping, lack of detailed regulations on implementation of laws; the administrative apparatus is still cumbersome and not yet high efficient; though Government focal points have decreased, focal points of ministries, and general departments stayed the same and post-decentralization supervision is not effective.
State employees and cadres’ quality, though has been improved, has fallen short of requirements. There remain constraints in responsibilities of the heads of offices and assessment of performance of cadres, public employees and civil servants; the slow reform of salary system has not yet created a driving force for cadres and public employees in their jobs.
Administrative procedures in some aspects are cumbersome and complicated; and harassment and negative phenomena are found among part of administrative cadres and public employees.
There are still weaknesses in financial reform; and revision of policies and laws is slower than practical situation. So does reform in social service activities.
Limitations in information technology application in state offices are also found. Modernization of offices is incomplete, sporadic and unfocused. Investment in commune office construction is not up to expectation.
Orientations for public administration reform in the coming time
To achieve successes in administration reform, in the coming time efforts should focus on the following:
Strengthen the leading role of party committees, heads of administrative offices towards administration reform. Clearly and profoundly aware of the role and significance of administration reform towards national development for deep and wide international integration. Consider administration reform a focal task and a breakthrough in socio-economic development and a constant and long-term endeavor. Pay due attention to leading and executing administration reform to live up to its role and importance as one of the three strategic breakthroughs. Programs, plans, concrete objectives, focus, and target must be designed and sufficient resources must be allocated. Set store by communication of guidelines of the Party, policies and laws of the State on administration reform.
Promote democracy, and people’s oversight of administrative apparatus’ operation, organize more consultations with people in developing legislation, policies, assessment of performances of public employees. Consider people’s satisfaction towards quality of public service provision a measurement of effectiveness of state offices.
Continue implementing in a synchronous and comprehensive manner tasks and solutions of the Master Program on Public Administration Reform, focusing on legislation, administrative procedures, apparatus organization, public missions, public employees, public finance and modernization of administration. Effectively carry out the Program on implementing the 2013 Constitution of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee and Government. In law making, legislation must be legal and feasible and conform to the Constitution; pay attention to feedbacks to policies and regularly review and supervise to complete mechanism, policies, legislation and revise those which are no longer suitable.
Concentrate on effectively implement Resolution 19/NQ-CP on major tasks and solutions to improve business environment, enhance national competitiveness, the Plan on streamlining key administrative procedures in 2015 and one stop shop and interrelated mechanisms in local administrative offices. Ministries, branches and localities must take concrete and practical measures to remove obstacles, and create the most favorable environment for production and business of enterprises, concentrating on administration procedure reform in the areas of taxation, customs, social insurance, land, construction, business establishment and bankruptcy, and access to electricity. Effectively implement the Program on streamlining of administrative procedures, citizen’s document and population-related data base.
Continue completing apparatus of state agencies as stipulated by the Law on State Apparatus approved by the National Assembly in line with the 2013 Constitution. Review and eliminate overlapping of functions and tasks among public administrative agencies.
Improve the quality of public employees and civil servants, considering it both objective and driving force of administration reform. Step up reform in regime for public mission and employees, complete regulations on titles and norms of each position as a basis for organizational and labor contracts of indefinite terms streamlining. Successfully implement Resolution 39-NQ/TW of the Politburo on staff cut and rearrangement of cadres public employees and civil servants. Improve transparency in public activities. Staff training must be done through appropriate and effective forms. Clearly specify and enhance responsibilities of heads of agencies. Incentives and commends must be given in recognition of staff’s good performance. Dismiss or remove those who do not fulfil their tasks or violate discipline.
Information technology application must be strengthened in administrative agencies to increase transparency, effectiveness and efficiency. Gradually build e-Government, heighten the quality of public service provision to meet people and businesses’ demands and enhance state agencies’ leadership, execution and activities. Harness information technology in service of public administrative agencies. Scale up the use of email and exchange of digital document and materials among public administrative agencies. Step up provision of public services online; develop and use unified digital forms. Encourage outsourcing IT services, establish four-level online administration webpage and network.
Administration reform is a regular and long-term task, one of the three strategic breakthroughs, a decisive factor of the success of industrialization, modernization and international integration. Given the engagement of the political system, support and supervision of people and businesses and the close leadership of the Government, the reform is certain to make breakthrough steps in the coming time, heighten effectiveness and efficiency of State governance, pool all resources for development, increase national competitiveness, speed up sustainable development, better ensure legitimate rights and interests of people and businesses.