Nguyễn Tiến Dĩnh, former Vice Minister of Home Affairs, speaks to Kinh tế & Đô thị (Economic & Urban Affairs) newspaper on the need to uphold the law.
Many people have expressed their anxiety about overstaffing in many Government offices while work efficiency is low. How do you respond to these complaints?
The issue of overstaffing has been a hot topic which was included in the agenda of the 6th National Party Congress in 1986. Delegates attending the Congress then all agreed on the need to streamline State organisations, particularly downsizing public staff.
Then in 2001-2010 and 2011-2020, the Government also adopted various resolutions and Comprehensive Administrative Reform Programmes. Those programmes have achieved certain successes. For example, the number of Government ministries and sectors was reduced from 40 to 30 and so were their staff numbers. But in reality, the number of general departments or departments of some new ministries has increased, so have their staffs.
Meanwhile the apparatus in the political system remains cumbersome and even overlaps. A case in point is the field of food safety which is managed by three ministries; the Ministry of Trade and Commerce, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Ministry of Construction. Mineral resources management is another example, which is managed by the Ministry of Construction and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Such cumbersome administrative management has resulted in disarrayed management and poor performance. In my opinion, this is a big hurdle for the national economy to develop.
Don’t you think that we need an efficient and streamlined State apparatus?
The recent Resolutions 18 and 19 of the Party Central Committee reiterated the nation’s determination to downsize public servant numbers and to restructure the public offices and agencies.
In my opinion, to do this we should focus on reviewing the functions and tasks of Government agencies in the context of a market economy and a State governed by law.
In other words, the tasks of central offices/agencies are to develop national institutions, strategies and policies as well as conducting supervision activities. And then local governments will become executing agencies to turn the central Government’s strategies and policies into reality.
How do you respond to the suggestion of merging some titles of the Party and administration at the district and commune levels?
I can’t agree more. For example, a Secretary of the District Party Committee should also be the Chairman of that District People’s Committee. So are these positions at the communal level.
However, to do that we need tight and effective supervision to ensure that these people perform their duties properly.
Do you have any suggestions to ensure that the Party and Government’s policies and guidelines are strictly implemented?
It is indisputable, the Party and Government’s policies and guidelines must be strictly implemented to the letter. But, in reality, sometimes they are only partially implemented. We’re now living in a society ruled by law so it is the duty of all Vietnamese citizens to uphold and abide by it regardless of who you are – a senior Party/Government official or a rank and file citizen._VNS