The administrative reform process has significantly improved the business climate and the competitiveness of the nation's economy. Viet Nam News reporter spoke to Administrative Procedures Control Agency (APCA) director Ngo Hai Phan about the role of impact assessments in the regulatory reform process.
|Ngo Hai Phan, APCA director.
What role have impact assessments played in administrative reform?
Drafting teams that issue regulations must now conduct administrative procedures impact assessment and consult with control agencies during the drafting phase. Comments and feedback from the APCA, along with self-assessments by drafting teams, ensure better quality regulations by detecting and tackle shortcomings in a timely manner, ensuring that rules are truly necessary, reasonable, and result in low compliance costs as the Prime Minister has required.
This is not a new requirement, is it?
Yes, it is! This is a new requirement introduced in the regulatory process by ministries, agencies and local governments. Though it is new, it hasn't always been carried out in earnest. Some even complain about the burden shouldered by drafting agencies because they lack understanding of the nature and objectives of an impact assessment. However, with thousands, even millions of people being affected, one additional hour dedicated to an impact assessment before a regulation is issued can save hundreds, even thousands of hours for citizens and businesses.
Impact assessment can be understood simply as a process of subjecting a draft regulation to over 50 specific questions in a standard form, grouped in four criteria groups: necessity, reasonableness, legality and effectiveness. This assessment needs to take place before the draft is circulated for comment. In other words, a regulation must prove its necessity, reasonableness, legality and effectiveness rather than be based only on subjective factors and experiences of officials. This is a scientific approach and will prove effective if civil servants perform their duties with a sense of fairness and responsibility. Heads of administrative agencies must care about the quality of the regulation rather than the issuance process.
Impact assessments are intended to eliminate unnecessary, unreasonable, and ineffective regulations. The drafting team has to conduct the impact assessment during the process of drafting the regulation and not wait until the drafting is completed, as has typically been done by some drafting teams. A draft that has passed an assessment can then be submitted to the Ministry of Justice or local Department of Justice for appraisal. Many drafting teams, however, have not complied with this process, seeking the advice of administrative procedure control agencies only after the have alredy consultated with and gathered public comment from individuals and organisations.
Will this process prevent further issuance of unnecessary regulations?
It can effectively prevent unnecessary regulations but it can't terminate them entirely. This work demands a great sense of responsibility by regulators.
As I said, administrative reform is not purely a matter of simplifying existing regulations. Rather, it deals with improving the quality of newly-issued regulations, cutting those that ire not really necessary, and ensuring they actually serve the people. This, once done, will help promote national socio-economic development, improve economic competitiveness, strengthen administrative discipline, and meet the expectations of the public and the business community for a more professional, service-oriented administrative system. This is the central task of administrative reform that requires continued concentration and the efforts of ministries, agencies and localities this year and beyond. — VNS