In 2013, the capital tackled unnecessary bureaucracy and ‘sluggishness', Pham Quang Nghi, Party General Secretary of the Ha Noi Party Committee, tells Thoi bao Kinh te Viet Nam (Viet Nam Economic Times).
Ha Noi selected 2013 as the year of administrative discipline. In your opinion, what was achieved in the campaign?
The decision to select the target of fighting sluggishness and bureaucracy was an indication of a serious weakness that the city had to overcome. This weakness was identified five years ago at the 14th Ha Noi Party Congress. In fact, for the last 10 years, Ha Noi has tried hard to overcome this problem.
When people talked about the city's weakness, the first thing they mentioned was sluggishness. There was a lack of innovation and initiative as well as determination to take on challenges.
There was also slowness to solve problems. It might seem very simple to reform administrative procedures and apply the one door policy, yet in reality, this was rather cumbersome, as paperwork in our country is spread out in various government offices. This has been a major stumbling bloc in the administrative reform process.
Looking back at the last five years, I can say the practice of the one door policy was very successful at the commune/ward level and the problem of sluggishness and slowness was basically resolved.
What about the city's goal of improving public services? Was it accomplished?
Last year, city authorities exerted great efforts to improve public services. Initial successes were recorded, yet they were not up to expectations. The weakest point was the referral system. In other words, the performance of some public servants was ineffective. As we all know, time is money, so their sluggishness delayed the implementation of projects and caused the loss of investment opportunities.
So in my opinion, to improve public services, senior officials need to change just like other employees. They have to uphold their high sense of responsibility and be pioneers in implementing the city's policies. They must be useful and loyal servants to the people.
Will the administrative discipline focus be continued in 2014?
Yes! But we will try harder to gain successes and create breakthroughs. I think this year the city will focus on improving leadership. To achieve this objective, we'll ask top leaders to set bright examples for others to follow.
What made the city select "Urban Order and Civilisation" as the focus for 2014?
The reason is very simple: it reflects our will to continue with administrative reforms.
Civilisation is a very important component of this topic. We hope that in 2014, all public servants and citizens of Ha Noi will be proud of being citizens of an orderly and civilised capital city. Of course, to make the programme a success, we must come up with specific measures—and even daring measures—to turn Ha Noi into a polite and civilised city.
What are the highlights of the programme?
First, city authorities will review State management work in general as well as urban management, particularly in Ha Noi, to draw lessons from experience.
The mandate of administrative reform requires both public servants and ordinary citizens to uphold their responsibilities during the programme implementation.
While performing their duties, top leaders of city offices and organisations must practice democracy, transparency and accountability. This is a big battle for them. If they win, they will remain in the game. Otherwise, they will be eliminated. — VNS