Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — The Government has lost its battle to reduce the number of public servants, with the administrative system bloating year by year.
The National Assembly (NA) on Monday morning started discussing the results of administrative reforms for a leaner Government, focusing on sub-par quality and the redundancy of Government officers.
The NA deputies are set to work for a full day on the issues, with discussions broadcast live on TV, in preparation for a resolution calling for stronger actions in downsizing.
Addressing the first report of its kind to the NA, the NA legal affairs committee head Nguyễn Khắc Định said that the Government managed to cut some 400 public servants annually from 2014 to 2016.
However, the number of public institutions shot up quickly, reaching 302,198 last year. Nearly 60 per cent of them, or 180,000 institutions totally relied on the State budget.
“The number of officers in public institutions also rose, from 1.97 million in 2011 to 2.09 million in 2016,” Định said.
NA deputy Phùng Đức Tiến from Hà Nam Province pointed out that the measures were proving to be ineffective, as the total number of Government officers had in fact rose by 4.8 per cent from 2011 to last year.
He also questioned officer assessment work when all officers were said to have completed their missions in year-end reports despite rampant complaints from citizens about their performance.
Deputy Tô Văn Tám from Kon Tum Province agreed that the quality of the public servants was key to the performance of the Government.
Yet the Government failed to sack those who could not do their jobs, he said.
“More than 90 per cent of the downsizing the Government claims to have performed was actually long-time officials choosing to retire early,” Tám said.
“The system is now like the shape of a hopper. The input of personnel is very big while the output is minimal.”
‘Ministry within ministry’
A deputy from Nghệ An Province Nguyễn Hữu Cầu called on the NA to be straightforward in asserting which is the mystical “middle level” or the “ministry within ministry” that was said in the NA report to be responsible for the increasing number of public servants.
“As far as I can see, 17 out of 22 ministries have a total of 40 sub directorates with the administrative structure similar to a ministry’s,” Cầu said.
“The NA should point out that the so-called middle level is the directorates and smaller divisions of the departments.”
The increasing number of established divisions in departments was slammed by Nam Định Province deputy Mai Thị Phương Hoa.
According to Hoa, there are currently 681 divisions under a department. In some extreme cases, a division was in existence with only division heads and no officers under command.
“The problem was rampant from ministerial to municipal level. If the central level could do it, why couldn’t the provincial level?” asked Quảng Bình Province deputy Nguyễn Ngọc Phương. — VNS