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Rampant waste can be more damaging than corruption

Update: September, 11/2013 - 09:51

The National Assembly will ponder a Government report on efforts to prevent waste. Nguyen Sy Cuong, a permanent member of the NA Legal Committee, spoke with Thoi bao Kinh te Viet Nam (Vietnam Economic Times) about successes and failures in waste prevention.

Waste should be considered an "intangible crime" that weakens the national economy and the whole administration. Do you think it's as serious an offence as corruption?

I do. Waste is seen everywhere in our country. I'm sorry to say that the problem is becoming more and more serious. I don't want to exaggerate the problem, yet in a certain respect, it is more serious than corruption.

With a serious corruption case, we can conduct an investigation and bring the individual in question to court. But it is not easy to quantify the seriousness of waste and there is no way to recover the damages.

But when it comes to dealing with these issues, corruption has received more attention than waste, don't you think?

Yes! This is reflected in both the lack of political will to tackle the problem of waste and the shortage of legal corridors to hold senior officials and public employees responsible and make them to understand the vital need to step up the fight against waste.

I can safely say the fight against waste is not on the same level as the battle against corruption. In the past few years, neither the party's resolutions nor the Government's legal documents have seriously considered the issue. As a result, waste is still rampant everywhere.

However, some government offices and localities have impressively implemented the party and Government documents on practising thrift. They are excellent role models for others to follow. Yet there are too few such areas to have a real impact.

How do you evaluate the seriousness of the problem?

In the present context of our economy, waste should be dealt with seriously. However, I haven't seen any signs of improvement.

For example, extravagant groundbreaking and inauguration ceremonies are held in many places, and many ceremonies and festivals occur nationwide throughout the year.

A huge amount of money has been spent on such events, even though the country is still poor.

Economically speaking, we should carefully calculate the cost and effectiveness of every practice.

It would be a crime if we forgot to mention the waste of time. In many offices, public employees are overloaded with assignments, while in other offices, their colleagues are relaxing and chatting!

This is a major waste that can't easily be converted into monetary terms.

So what can we do to solve this problem?

One thing we can all agree on is that time waste is often related to the organisational structure of an office or organisation, as well as the issue of personnel management.

Whatever the reason, in my opinion, the head of the office should take responsibility for the situation in his or her office. Sometimes I hear public servants or employees complain that they go to the office every day but don't have much work to do.

This is the point I want to emphasise: that we should completely overhaul our organisational structure and revise the duties of each individual who is part of the system. This is the only way we can improve the work efficiency of everyone and effectively fight time waste.

In your opinion, what are some basic ways to solve the problem?

We should compile a code to replace the existing Law on Practising Thrift and Combating Waste. The code would encompass all regulations on preventing and combating waste in all aspects of society.

However, the code alone can't do the job. It needs active support from other legislation. And what's even more important is for leaders, managers and employees to practice thrift themselves. — VNS


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