Administrative reform must be transparent: Government Office

March 10, 2018 - 09:00

Administrative reform must be transparent and concrete, and “ambiguous language” that bureaucrats can ‘exploit’ must be absolutely avoided.

A residence registration and administration office in the urban district Đống Đa in Hà Nội City. — VNA/VNS Photo Doãn Tuấn
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — Administrative reform must be transparent and concrete, and “ambiguous language” that bureaucrats can ‘exploit’ must be absolutely avoided.

The order was made by the Minister, Chairman of the Government Office Mai Tiến Dũng during a meeting yesterday for the advisory council for administrative reform to outline tasks for 2018, with the participation of representatives of State agencies and the business community.

As the President of the council, citing the Government’s Resolution No 1 on major socio-economic goals for the year 2018, Chairman Dũng asked the council members “to join hands” to achieve reform tasks, including cutting 50 per cent of commodities subject to special inspections.

Chairman Dũng stressed that State agencies must not be duplicitous, “[You] cannot just combine three administrative procedures into one and then report [to the Government] that two procedures have been streamlined. Not to mention the obscure language that might just create more problems.”

He also suggested that the council members be watchful and ready to respond to issues related to macroeconomic policies and sector-specific policies, especially when there are possible regional and international impacts; and to build specific indices that can be easily quantified.

Reiterating the health ministry’s report showing that with a new decree in 2018 on inspection regulations imposed on food manufacturers and traders, 7.7 million working days and VNĐ3.1 trillion (US$135.47 million) could be saved, Minister Dũng said that many ministries and agencies “do not even know how many administrative procedures exist under their management. Therefore, administrative reform would mean increasing the potential for further development in several sectors.”

Business feedback

Responding to the Chairman of Small- and Medium-sized Business Association, Nguyễn Văn Thân, over the proposal to abolish the traditional ‘red book’ (land use rights certificates), Chairman Dũng said the when the e-Government project is completed and national databases are available online, there would no longer be the need for a physical red book.

Most agree that in 2017, the council has done completed significant work to improve the administrative procedure experience. Vũ Tiến Lộc, Chairman of Việt Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, called 2017 a “bumper season for administrative cutbacks,” referring to the trimming of 5,000 administrative procedures.

“In administrative reforms, enterprises and business associations should have an ‘authoritative voice.’ Increasing dialogue between the business community and the reform council is the best way to come up with beneficial optimisation,” Lộc said.

Concerns were raised over the low entrepreneurship index of Việt Nam, an important indicator of how conducive the business environment is, and the council was asked to pay extra attention to this issue in order to realise the Government’s goal of having 1 million operational enterprises by 2020.

In 2017, in order to realise the Prime Minister’s commitment to slash redundant procedures and improve the business environment, the council has held five dialogues with the participation of thousands of Vietnamese enterprises, nearly 1,000 European enterprises and 300 Japanese ones that are operating and investing in the country. A total of 100 points of feedback, divided into 23 groups of issues, have been submitted to the council and the council has collected and sent official requests to relevant agencies and ministries to handle.

The Government-established private sector development committee, comprising top executives from the country’s leading firms, has submitted 21 proposals focusing on issues such as agriculture, tourism, finance investment, and the difficulties encountered by young entrepreneurs. So far, the Government office has received official responses from 7 out of 10 relevant ministries and agencies, who have promised to study the proposals.

The 21 points raised by the Japan Business Association in Việt Nam (JBAV) reflected the enterprises’ top concerns, including obligatory social insurance for overseas workers, draft of the environment law, the decree on importing old machinery and equipment, and regulations on manufacturing, assembling and importing of cars. All 8 relevant ministries and agencies have delivered their official responses, and 9 proposals from the JBAC will be addressed soon.

The European Chamber of Commerce in Việt Nam (Eurocham) complained about four main issues – handling of trade, tax and customs disputes; healthcare; consumer’s choices; and smart and sustainable development. The Government Office, however, has only received 8 responses from 16 relevant ministries or agencies. — VNS