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Quality human resources the key to success in public sector reform

Update: December, 24/2014 - 08:27

Downsizing staff is one step toward making a more market-based economy, Le Nam, deputy head of Thanh Hoa delegation to the National Assembly, told Dai Doan ket (Great National Unity) Newspaper.

Do you think the Ministry of Home Affairs' proposal to downsize the number of Government employees is realistic?

I think that if we don't change our policies regarding public servants and public employees, it's unlikely the Ministry of Home Affairs' proposal will become a reality.

Our existing state apparatus and personnel management system makes it hard to let employees go. How can we downsize when most employees score high on annual self-assessment reports and complete the tasks they are assigned? In reality, though, many of these people are below-average employees or fail to meet job requirements, such as holding a Ph.D. or Master of Arts degree.

By downsizing the public workforce, the Government aims to improve efficiency. It is about reallocating workers where they might be more productive, and could help move us toward a more market-based economy.

Under the ministry's proposal, 4,659 employees will be laid off in 2015. Do you think this figure is realistic?

I think the goal is achievable if all government agencies strictly follow Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung's instructions on downsizing staff and recruitment. Staff to be laid off have been divided into three categories: layoffs, enforcement of rules and removal of ghost workers as well asvoluntary.

However, in my opinion, government agencies should have quotas. In addition, it is time for us to streamline our state apparatus in the midst of ongoing structural reform.

Do you mean that our present State apparatus must be restructured?

In my opinion, what we should do immediately is conduct an institutional restructuring. Existing organisational structures, both central and local, look very cumbersome. In addition, we must have a clear and workable criteria to evaluate our staff's work performance. Annual evaluation sheets will become a foundation for giving raises and promotions.

The ministry has recently voiced its resolve to more strictly manage the appointment of deputy heads and other titles not currently stipulated in the law. Do you think that plan is workable?

In my opinion, we can do it if we're resolved. However, in some ministries there is one minister and four deputies, yet the minister still wants to have more deputies to go to meetings. It sounds irrational, but it is a reality. We should not appoint someone to a position just to go to meetings.

Do you think we have to embrace the idea that the head of a government agency has to take responsibility for what goes on at his or her office?

I couldn't agree more. I think that idea has been reflected in the Party and Government's policies, particularly the Government's reform proposal.

At a National Assembly session, Nguyen Thi Quyet Tam, chairwoman of the Ho Chi Minh City People's Council, raised the idea of streamlining staff working at administrative agencies and people's councils at the city, ward and district levels. Do Thi Hoang, undersecretary of the Quang Ninh Provincial Party Committee, proposed merging several provincial offices into one.

In my opinion, the suggestions raised by Tam and Hoang are good food for thought. If we take their advice it will help cut down on staff. — VNS

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