Full speed ahead is the only way for e-Gov't to drive forward

March 15, 2019 - 09:00

Recently, a top transport official said drivers who lose their licence should have to sit a driving test again. That’s lose as in misplace, not lose as in break traffic laws. Crazy, I know.

Viet Nam News

Nguyễn Khánh Chi

Recently, a top transport official said drivers who lose their licence should have to sit a driving test again.

That’s lose as in misplace, not lose as in break traffic laws. Crazy, I know.

Minister of Transport Nguyễn Văn Thể made the proposal in front of the National Assembly’s Justice Committee last week.

Though his heart was in the right place in attempting to tackle those who take advantage of generous re-issuance policies by reporting their licence stolen to get new cards after having theirs revoked, the policy is inconsistent with the ministry’s own regulations.

A 2017 circular from the minsitry dictates that one is eligible for a replacement if they lose their licence, as long as it hasn’t been revoked or seized by authorities.

In New South Wales, Australia where I lived for two years you can order a replacement online if your licence card has been lost, stolen or destroyed provided you meet certain criteria.

It’s understandable the minister came up with such an extreme measure, given the large number of traffic violations and accidents in Việt Nam every day.

But as the head of the transport sector, the minister should have thought of measures to improve, if not to say modernise, the management of driving licences rather than to create more problems for people already suffering from traffic problems.

Forcing thousands of drivers to take tests just to deal with the much smaller number of wrongdoers is not the right move.

I would hate to have to take another driving test if I lost my licence. I spent a lot of time and money to past my test the first time, and it took three attempts!

As Việt Nam modernises, there is no place for more paper and cumbersome administrative procedures, as they bring unnecessary financial and time costs for society.

Dear minister, could you please give this a second thought?

Could you please cut red tape and reduce paperwork by using technology in the transport sector, like the medical sector has with health records?

These efforts form part of the Government’s resolve to accelerate the establishment of a digital Government to best serve the people and businesses.

Illustrative photo. — https://news.otofun.net

So, please be realistic, minister!

Take actions based on reality and technological advances. Please promptly fix loopholes and put forward new practical solutions. With the use of advanced technologies, public services can quickly and easily serve people.

Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has repeatedly requested the Government, ministers, sectors and localities to change their mindset and take action to build a non-paper Government to improve management works. As a member of the Government, I’m pretty sure Minister Thể is well aware of this. The transport ministry itself reported it had cut 201 of a total 486 administrative procedures by September last year.

Việt Nam is integrated deeply regionally and internationally and as we get more connected, life should get easier for the people and the Government. State units can’t function if their heads do not keep up with modern trends.

To wit, Dr Lê Thanh Vân, a member of the National Assembly’s Committee of Finance and Budget Committee, said old-fashioned laws cannot be used to oversee new technologies.

“The parliamentary supervision of the administrative apparatus in 2011-15 revealed plenty of shortcomings such as less effective apparatus with overlapping functions, which fails to satisfy the present management, not to say the management requirements in Industry 4.0,” Vân said.

National Assembly deputy Lưu Bình Nhưỡng reiterated that Việt Nam is attempting to reduce cumbersome administrative procedures, but “we talk much about the Industry 4.0 but in reality we talk zero point  for management.”

Việt Nam is a little closer to a digital government and economy with the National e-Document Exchange Platform launched on Tuesday. With that, I have high hopes that soon things like registering for a new driver licence and paying traffic violation fees will be as easy as ordering food on my phone.

But if those in management positions do not think digital, the road towards Industry 4.0 or a practical digital government will be far out of reach.

The clock is ticking, so there’s no time to say “no” to e-government. — VNS