Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh told journalists at the recent National Assembly meeting that the minimum wage would meet workers' needs by 2020
A report presented by the Ministry of Home Affairs at the freshly concluded National Assembly meeting said the minimum wage for the Government's payroll is 44 per cent of the private business sector's. How do you respond to such a big gap in the salary system?
Principally speaking, the basic salary should be able to cover the minimum living conditions of people on the Government's payroll. However, in Viet Nam there are too many people who are on the Government payroll. That's why if we want to raise salaries for public employees and Government officials, we can't sit and wait for money from the State budget – we have to find ways to restructure the State apparatus. More recently, the Party Central Committee agreed that to solve this problem, we must come up with a feasible road map, including the restructuring of public sectors, including agencies and offices improving efficiency and streamlining staff. It is indisputable that generating more revenue is the best way to increase wages.
Do you mean that if we continue to overstaff Government offices, the State budget won't be able to afford to raise salaries?
I think so. In 2015, only certain groups of people on the Government's payroll got raises. They included pensioners and low-income earners. The Government tried its best to increase basic salaries. But it couldn't, as our staffing mechanism was so big. That's why at a recent meeting the Party Central Committee adopted a resolution on the need to cut down on staff. That was the only way we could reform our salary system in the public sector.
Will you please explain why the Government failed to implement its pay rise road map over the past two years?
At the recent full house meeting, the National Assembly spent a lot of time discussing the State budget. Regarding revenue sources, the NA was not happy, but it had to lower tax collection from 25 per cent to 22 per cent and then to 20 per cent; even 17 per cent for enterprise revenue taxes. A key objective in lowering the enterprises' revenue tax is to encourage investment and enable enterprises to overcome hurdles in their business and production. However, if we look at it from a different angle, low tax rates would have negative impacts on our state revenue collection. The demand for pay raises is still huge and urgent. But it is impossible for the Government to raise everyone's pay.
Any way, salary increases must follow a road map charted out by the Government. That's why at their last meeting in 2014 law makers decided to give raises to only certain groups of people, as I mentioned before.
As the Chairman of the National Steering Committee on Salary Reform, I have discussed a road map for salary reform from 2016 to 2020 with my committee. In this road map we have set a goal of covering minimum living conditions for all employees by 2020.
What about the pay rise plan for 2016?
At the onset of next year, all public employees will get pay increases according to the road map for salary reform. On instructions from the National Steering Committee on Salary Reform, the Ministry of Home Affairs has worked with some Government agencies to calculate pay rise ratios for 2016, which are based on State revenue collection.
The Ministry of Home Affairs will work with concerned agencies to develop a new standard salary scale for each professional skill group in Government agencies, entities and offices.
The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs has been assigned the task of setting out a road map for minimum wage adjustment for workers in enterprises in different regions. The minimum wage must meet at least minimum living conditions in the region. - VNS