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State cracks down on bloated civil service

Update: March, 10/2017 - 09:00
Lê Vĩnh Tân.
Viet Nam News

Lê Vĩnh Tân, Minister of Home Affairs, speaks to Thời báo Kinh tế Việt Nam (Việt Nam Economic Times) newspaper about restructuring the country’s civil service.

The Government has already launched several campaigns to reduce the number of civil servants and public employees, but none of them have hit their targets. Why will this year’s campaign be different?

Resolution 39 of the Politburo said the main reason for the failure in achieving the targets was subjective. Heads of offices or organisations, in both the central and local levels, did not fully exercise their rights and responsibilities in the task of streamlining their staff and restructuring the workforce in their offices/organisations.

One of the problems was that they treated their staff with indulgence or didn’t want to confront them.

Since 2015, some 22,135 people have been sacked. This means that about 1.5 per cent of civil servants and State employees are laid off per year. Such a figure is too small to hit the target set by the Government. That’s why, in early 2017, the Ministry of Home Affairs advised the Prime Minister to issue Instruction No 02/CT-TTg on January 6, 2017 to streamline the civil service.

The instruction directed all government offices, at both central and local levels, to cut the number of people on the State payroll while restructuring their job descriptions. The instruction has also asked all government offices and sectors to develop personnel proposals from 2017 to 2021.

The instruction states clearly that by 2021, all Government offices or agencies nation-wide have to lay-off from 1.5-2 per cent of their staff. However, for the political system, the minimum rate must be 10 per cent. In addition, the document warns if any heads of ministries, sectors and localities fail to implement the instruction, he/she will be disciplined in accordance with Party and State rules.

Recently, many National Assembly deputies have pressured the Government to reduce the number of people on the State payroll. How do you respond to their request?

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA) will advise the Government to make decisions on the number of staff that each ministry, sector or locality needs in the following year before September. That timing means this work is carried out before the National Assembly convenes. Based on the Government’s decisions, the Ministry of Finance will calculate the budget for each ministry, sector or locality.

In addition, we’ll step up our inspections of ministries, sectors and localities on their implementation of the PM’s instruction. Meanwhile, we’ll encourage them to use public-private partnerships or even give control of their budget to a non-income generating administrative agency. This is a very important issue.

How will public agencies that control their own budget implement the instruction properly?

We don’t pressure them to cut down the staff on their payrolls. The MOHA has already revised Decree 41/2012/NĐ-CP on capping jobs in public agencies that control their own budget. It is already on the PM’s table for consideration.

Do you mean that these public agencies will be able to make their own staff decisions?

That’s right! This has been reflected in the revised content of the Decree 41/2012/NĐ-CP.

However, if any public agencies cannot practice their full autonomous right, we’ll ask the Government to delegate the power to the Provincial People’s Committee and the concerned ministers to make decisions on vacant places and the number of staff required. — VNS

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