Friday, 14/12/2018
Upholding responsibility, focusing on study, discussion and decision of important issues *
3/7/2018 14:27' Send Print
General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong delivers the opening speech. Photo: VNA

Implementing the working agenda of the entire tenure, today the Central Committee began the 7th Plenum to discuss and give opinions on building a contingent of cadres at all levels, especially at strategic level, who possess virtues, capacities and prestige on part with tasks, salary reform for officials, public servants, the armed forces, and workers in enterprises, and social insurance policy reform, among other topics.

On behalf of the Politburo, the Secretariat, I warmly welcome members of the Party Central Committee, invited delegates to the Plenum and would like to extend to you my best wishes.

Over the past time, the Politburo, the Secretariat have directed the Government Party caucus, Party Committees, and relevant agencies to urgently prepare schemes, reports on issues mentioned above to be submitted to the Central Committee in accordance with the Working Regulations so that you can study in advance. Now, I would like to make some suggestions and issues for your consideration, discussion, and decision.

On cadre work at all levels

As we all know, cadres and cadre work are especially important in building the Party, the political system and decisive to the success of the revolution. President Ho Chi Minh once emphasized: "Cadres are the root of all work," "Success or failure depends on good or bad cadres.”

Until now, especially in recent terms, the Communist Party of Vietnam has always paid much attention to building cadres to meet requirements and challenges laid out during each stage of the revolution. The Party has made correct lines on cadres and cadre work; persistently, resolutely led, directed the implementation of policies, measures, and recorded important achievements. As a result, cadres at all levels have matured and grown in many aspects with higher quality; the proportion of age, sex, ethnicity, branch, occupation, field of work is more balanced and rational. In general, they have firm viewpoints and ideology, persistency in achieving goals and ideals of national independence and socialism, ethics, simple lifestyle and high sense of responsibility. They are also exemplary, fostering themselves, striving to fulfill assigned tasks. The majority of leading and managerial officials at all levels have qualifications, capacity, virtues and prestige; cadres at strategic level possess political acumen, persistently following Marxist-Leninism, Ho Chi Minh Thoughts, adopt renewal thinking, are capable of developing lines and leading and directing the implementation. Recently, the timely and strict handling of some organizations and individuals for their wrongdoings and violations has contributed to awakening, warning, deterring, preventing negative phenomena, purifying officials and step by step strengthening confidence of officials, party members and people towards the Party and State.

However, the contingent of cadres and cadre reveal many limitations and weaknesses. The cadres that make up the political system is large in number, but not strong, and this results in both redundancy and deficiency of cadres in many areas. The structure within sectors, areas, professions is not reasonable, and there is a lack of connectivity between different sectors and levels, as well as a lack of competent managers and leading scientists and experts. Several leading and managing officials, including those at the strategic level, have had low prestige and stayed aloof from the people. Some have got involved in corruption, wastefulness and group interests. Many officials holding leading and managerial positions took advantage of loopholes to commit wrongdoings for their own interests, causing State asset losses and other serious consequences. The phenomenon of “buying” positions is still prevalent and is slow to be addressed and curbed.

It is possible to confirm that the growth and development of the cadres and the advantages in cadre work are a key and decisive factor to great achievements of historical significance in the renovation process of the country. However, weaknesses and shortcomings of a part of officials as well as limitations and constraints in cadre work are one of the reasons why the country fails to develop on par with its potential and strength, resulting in erosion of public confidence in the Party and State.

At present, the country is facing new requirements and tasks with new opportunities, advantages and difficulties and challenges. Vietnam’s renovation, international integration, rapid and sustainable development are moving into a new higher and deeper phase with more difficulties and complexity. The national and international situation has changed and has been rapidly, complicatedly and unpredictably developed under the influence of the market economy, international integration, the fourth industrial revolution and many other political-socio-economic factors and trends. Hostile forces and reactionaries have waged increasingly sophisticated and dangerous activities capitalizing on the explosive development of information system, global communications, and cyberwar. Therefore, the Resolution of the 12th Party Congress set the tasks of focusing on building a contingent of cadres, especially at strategic level who are qualified, competent and prestigious on par with the right tasks in line with the motto "each period, each movement requires corresponding cadres.”

Implementing the Working Agenda of the Party Central Committee, from May 2016, the Party Secretariat established the Steering Committee to develop schemes to carry out the duties mapped out by the 12th Congress, review the 20 year (1997-2017) implementation of the Resolution of the 3rd Plenum of the 8th Congress on "Strategy on Cadres in the Period of National Industrialization and Modernization," and develop a scheme and a draft resolution to be submitted to Central Committee this time. The draft scheme and resolutions have been prepared, edited and revised several times, incorporating comments of committees, ministries, branches and Party committees of provinces and centrally-run cities, former leaders of the Party and the State, senior officials, scholars, intellectuals and scientists.

Members of the Central Committee members and comrades attending the plenum are asked to carefully study the draft documents and with reference to reality in your localities and units, discuss and assess objectively and scientifically results, achievements, make deep analysis of existing limitations and weaknesses and define causes, especially subjective causes. Find answers to the question as to why over the past 20 years, especially in recent years, although our Party has issued a lot of lines and policies on cadre work sympathized with supported by cadres and Party members and people, the implementation of these lines and policies have still been inadequate, and ineffective. Where do the causes come from? From which stage, which level? At the same time, analyze and forecast the national and international situation in the coming time; clearly define new requirements, new tasks, new contexts, especially influencing factors, both positive and negative to cadres and cadre work. Building on these assessment, engage in in-depth discussion, clarification, reach high unanimity of views, directing ideas, immediate as well as long-term goals and tasks, breakthrough and feasible major solutions to overcome all the above-said shortcomings, better implement cadre work, build a contingent of cadres at all levels, especially the strategic one who are qualified, competent and have high prestige on par with their tasks. Identify the breakthrough stage, whether it is cadre assessment or placement; whether it is overcoming the phenomena of "running for positions or authority,” or "acquaintances, close friends"; whether attention must be given to either virtues or capacity or both. Why is the efficiency of the implementation of resolutions still low though the resolutions are right and focused? Why is the process right but the specific human placement is wrong? Where is the problem? Is the mechanism to supervise power adequate? What are policies to motivate cadres to devote themselves to career?

On salary reform

The policy on salary is a very important component closely linked to other policies in the socio-economic policy system, directly relating to the major balances of the economy, the labor market and the life of the salary earners, contributing to building a streamlined, clean, effective and efficient political system, and combating corruption and waste.

Previous reforms in this area in Vietnam were in 1960, 1985, 1993 and 2003. Conclusions of the 8th Plenum of the 9th Tenure on the Scheme on Reform of Salary, Social Insurance and Preferential Allowances for people with meritorious services in the period of 2003-2007 have been gradually supplemented and finalized according to lines and guiding viewpoints of 5th and 7th Plenums of the 11th Tenure on these issues. Thus, salaries in the public sector have been gradually improved, notably in disadvantaged regions and sectors, which has helped to improve living standards of salary earners. Meanwhile, pay in the enterprise sector has been gradually aligned with the market mechanism under the State’s management.

However, there remain numerous shortcomings in this area as well. The salary policy in the public sector is still complicated; pay roll has not yet corresponded to job positions, titles and leading posts. The salary policy is heavily egad and has failed to encourage employees to increase their productivity, work quality and efficiency. The fact that salary is calculated by multiplying the basic salary by coefficient does not reflect the real value of salary. There are too many types of allowances, many non-salary earnings decided by many agencies in many different regulating documents, giving rise to many irrationalities and unclear administrative hierarchies in public service activities and failing to encourage people with high professionalism, specialty and high productivity. Meanwhile, the basic wage in the public sector is still lower than in the business sector. It’s yet to meet the cost of basic needs, and sometimes isn’t even the main income of employees. Funds for salary reform for the public sector have still largely come from the state budget and mainly from the central budget. The socialization and adjustment of public service fees in line with the market mechanism in many areas are slow. Many localities cannot pay higher salary though funds allocated for salary reform remain.

Salaries in different types of enterprises have not properly reflected the relation of distribution by labor in the market economy, and have failed to create a driving force for improved labor productivity and business development. The State stipulations on a number of principles to formulate wage scales and payrolls have deeply interfered with the enterprises' wage autonomy; the role and effect of wage negotiating and determining mechanism between employers and laborers in labor relations have not been promoted. The wage management mechanism for state-owned enterprises has not really linked laborers’ wages to productivity and business efficiency.

Therefore, it is time for us to fundamentally reform salary policy to overcome these shortcomings and constraints. May I request members of the Central Committee to thoroughly study and discuss deeply and comprehensively contents and issues stated in reports, the scheme and the draft resolution of the Central Committee. Pay attention to objective, scientific evaluation of the situation and causes, lessons learned; analyze and forecast the context of salary policy reform; define difficulties, challenges as well as new opportunities and advantages. Possible opportunities and advantages include major achievements of historical significance of the 30 year renovation, economic potential and state budget, people’s notable improved income and life, positive and relatively comprehensive results of the implementation of the conclusions of the 5th and 7th Plenums of the 11th Tenure on continuing to renew and improve policy on salary, social insurance and preferential allowances to people with meritorious services; the implementation of the Resolution of the 12th Party Congress, promulgation and affirmatively implementation of the Resolution of the 6th Plenum of the 12th Congress on "A number of issues on continuing the renovation and rearrangement of the streamlined, effective, efficient political system" and "Continue to renovate the organizational and management system, improve the quality and performance of public non-business agencies." Aren’t they fundamental premise for salary reform?

Then, reach consensus on the necessity, urgency and feasibility of salary policy reform this time; clearly define guiding viewpoints, ideas, overall and specific objectives for each stage, policies and measures, especially breakthrough and highly feasible policies and measures to overcome existing shortcomings and constraints, ensure that this reform create a breakthrough in distribution, and motivation for laborers and higher productivity, quality, efficiency and competitiveness of the economy. Concentrate on considering and making decisions on new and reforming issues, especially those the Political Bureau has requested for opinions from the Central Committee.

Reform of social insurance policy

Social insurance, including regimes of retirement, allowances for funeral, sickness, maternity, labor accident, occupational disease and unemployment, among others is a large, complex and politically, economically and socially sensitive area having a long history of development in the world, especially in industrialized countries, contributing significantly to the development of each nation and country, reflecting the level of development, social progress and equity in each country. Social insurance was introduced in Vietnam in1961, but was reserved for the public sector in the centrally planned economy, and mainly provided pensions and funeral allowance. Only after reforms to the system introduced in 1995 can it develop fully and align with the model of a socialist-oriented market economy, and international practices.

During the 11th Tenure, at the 5th and 7th Plenums, the Party Central Committee considered and issued conclusions on this problem together with the issue of salary and preferential allowances for people with meritorious services. Implementing the Central Committee's conclusions, the Politburo has instructed the Government Party caucus to coordinate with Party committees and concerned agencies to actively summarize theories and practices on social insurance in Vietnam, study and develop a scheme to submit to the Central Committee at this plenum with a view to push forward a specialized resolution of the Central Committee to lead and direct the social insurance sector’s development so that it truly becomes a driving force for national sustainable development and demonstrates human and fine nature of the socialist regime in Vietnam.

The Central Committee is asked to build on the scheme and the report of the Politburo, and at the same time, based on the practical implementation to make objective and comprehensive analysis and assessment on the development of social insurance in Vietnam, pointing out achievements, limitations, weaknesses and especially causes, lessons learned, and unsuccessful experience in this area. Can main causes of limitations and weaknesses be slow renovation and completion of perception, theoretical thinking and institutionalization of social insurance; the failure to meet requirements and tasks of the legal system, policies, organizational apparatus, and personnel in the process of development and completion; the high number of laborers working in the non labor relation areas, relying mainly on personal savings and traditional family safety network, while income is low, and unstable; high pressure of immediate spending; low starting point, and difficulties in the development of the economy and the state budget revenue and expenditure?

By summarizing practice and analysis, scientific forecast with a long-term view of the socio-economic development, state budget and people's income in the medium and long term future, the Central Committee should discuss and agree on lines, policies and measures to further accelerate the renewal and improvement of social insurance policy in the coming time. Focus on identifying and clarifying viewpoints and objectives and contents of innovation, especially issues, such as expanding social insurance coverage for all people, ensuring the financial balance of social insurance in the long run, adjusting retirement age in line with new context, enhancing connectivity and support between social insurance policies, inheriting and developing principles of adjusting the relatively independent pension for working people, and reducing the eligible time for joining the social insurance program to get a pension. Attention must be given to both the public and private sectors, working people and retired ones; where there are labor relations and where there is not, especially for farmers, the poor and the disadvantaged in society.

At the same time, basing on the scope, nature and level of renewal set out by the scheme, similarities with the Scheme on reform of salary policy, in order to create social consensus between the working persons and the pensioners to decide whether to issue the Central Committee Resolution on reform or just continue to renovate and improve social insurance policy.

The Central Committee Plenum is taking place in the middle of the 12th Tenure, after two and half years the entire Party, people, and country have made many positive changes and are facing many opportunities and advantages for innovation. It is recommended that the Central Committee and comrades attending the plenum bring into full play sense of responsibility, study, discuss thoroughly, give comments to complete the reports, scheme and consider and make decisions at the end of the plenum.

In that spirit, I declare the 7th Plenum of the Party Central Committee, 12th Tenure open and wish the Plenum a success.

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* Headline chosen by the Communist Review

This article was published in the Communist Review, No. 907 (May2018)

Nguyen Phu TrongGeneral Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam