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VN must up efforts to tackle smuggling

Update: October, 17/2016 - 06:00
Deputy PM Trương Hòa Bình.
Viet Nam News

The fight against goods smuggling along the border has been described as a long and arduous one in Việt Nam. In your opinion, to come out a winner in this fight, what are the key measures we should adopt?

This is a very interesting question. I have often asked myself what were the main factors leading to our triumphant victories in the long and arduous border wars in the course of defending our homeland? Among those factors was the support of our people living along the border.

Regrettably, in the current fight against crossborder smuggling, many people living along the border have become smugglers.

I have to confess that smuggling across borders has become very sophisticated nowadays, despite the great efforts exerted by various forces in the fight, including the border guards, police men, customs officers and even market watchers. However, in my opinion, a very important force is absent in the fight – i.e. the participation of local administrations and mass organisations.

In my opinion, a very important factor leading to such a situation is that people living along the border are poor and have a low level of education. In addition, most of them are underemployed. These are the driving forces turning them into illegal transporters of smuggled goods.

To deter crossborder smuggling, in my opinion, local governments should work out measures to help local people with their livelihoods, particularly to find stable jobs.

In your opinion, what are the incumbent Government’s weaknesses in the fight against crossborder smuggling?

I must say there are many weaknesses among the personnel involved in the fight against crossborder smuggling. These weaknesses include low working morale, poor co-ordination among staff and accepting bribes.

Meanwhile, many local government officials have adopted a low key approach to their responsibilities in their jobs. This is a key reason leading to rampant fraudulent trade, particularly in fertilisers and pesticides.

Last but not least, mass communication work has not been properly done to help deter border smuggling activities and fraudulent trade while encouraging anti-smuggling forces to do their jobs better.

How can we boost the morale and work ethics of Government officers involved in anti-smuggling activities?

In my opinion, the first thing that must be done is that government officers should know what their strengths and weaknesses are, and consolidate their resolve to perform their duties to their best ability.

In the meantime, we must be tough on those who have colluded with smugglers and fraudulent traders.

Mass communication should be considered a very important activity, as it will help government officials and people in general understand the importance of fighting against crossborder smuggling and trade fraud. Of course, the work must be done in a proper way to attract more people to participate, and to help them understand their rights and responsibilities in this fight.

What’s more important, everything must be done in a transparent and accountable manner.

Do you think that good measures only are enough, or do we need more “enthusiasm” in implementing them?

I can’t agree more. We have plenty of good and effective measures, as well as policies and legal documents. But, without proper implementation of those measures and laws, I don’t think we’ll win this fight. It needs strong determination and responsibility from the National Steering Committee to all rank and file officers, as well as good co-ordination from all parties involved in the fight.

The fight against fraudulent trade and smuggling is an important political task of all Vietnamese citizens. And of course, in this fight, we can’t forget the campaign calling on Vietnamese people to continue using Vietnamese-made products. — VNS

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