VietNamNet Bridge – After hearing the complaints of National Assembly deputies in the National Assembly meeting on November 9, the Government Office’s Chair Nguyen Xuan Phuc (photo) said that the government is trying its best in administrative reform.
Phuc presented a government report on administrative reform, which says that for the first time Vietnam has a national database for administrative procedures for the central government; provinces, districts and communes.
According to the report, most ministries, sectors and localities have met the requirement to simplify 30 percent of administrative procedures. Among 5,421 procedures reviewed, 480 were reduced to 192 with 4,416 revised and amended.
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung required that the simplification process reduce administrative costs for individuals and enterprises by a 30 percent per year.
Phuc said the government is reviewing over 5000 administrative procedures in both ministries and provinces. The government has been changing the process to issue legal documents.
“I’ve asked ministries, provinces and agencies to arrange officials capable of directly dealing with paperwork and to immediately replace bureaucratic officials,” Phuc said.
He asked the National Assembly to strengthen its supervision over administrative reform.
Commenting about Project 30, introduced in 2007 to simplify administrative procedures, deputy Tran Du Lich of HCM City said that this project has been a breakthrough. It has been a major step toward the target of publicizing administrative procedures and has given the public the tools to supervise State administrative agencies, he said.
Deputy Huynh Nghia of Da Nang, said the database and the introduction of online services was the most noticeable success. More than 5,700 administrative procedures are now available to the public online.
"It's calculated that the simplification of administrative procedures saves us about VND7,900 billion (US$395 million) each year," Nghia said. "The figure is very impressive and is the result of the State's attempts to simplify administrative procedures."
Deputy Nguyen Van Quynh, from Quang Ninh Province, Pham Manh Hung, from Thai Nguyen Province, and deputy Huynh Van Tiep from Can Tho city said the achievements in administrative-procedure reform were reflected in socio-economic development and an improved investment environment.
Deputy Hung reported that almost 10,000 foreign-invested projects with a total investment capital of US$155 billion have been launched since 2001.The number of foreign companies operating in Vietnam has increased from 14,440 before 2001 to almost 62,800 in 2010.
Improved administrative procedures have also made transactions between people, enterprises and State agencies easier.
Some deputies hailed the World Bank and International Finance Corporation's report Doing Business 2011 as a vivid example of how administrative reform had progressed. The report, published last week, lists Vietnam among the world's 10 most improved economies.
"The report is the most specific and subjective proof of the success of the Government's administrative reform of the past ten years," said Deputy Pham Thi Hai from Dong Nai Province.
However, despite the success, many deputies complained that numerous administrative procedures were duplicated, took too long and lacked transparency.
Deputy Nguyen Ngoc Minh from Ninh Thuan Province and deputy Cao Si Kiem from Thai Binh Province said the bureaucratic practices of administrative staff remained a barrier to business.
Deputy Pham Thi Hai said many individuals and enterprises were afraid to ask for land-use certificates; or to borrow money or seek business licenses. "Administrative procedures remain time-consuming," she said.
This was reason many individuals and enterprises were willing to pay to get the paper work done quickly. "It's like a procedure within the administrative procedures," Hai added.
Deputies Tran Thi Loc from Bac Kan Province and Huynh Nghia from Da Nang said people were the most important factor contributing to the success of the administrative reform and should be given more attention.
Both complained the administrative staff could not live from their salaries and this was among the reasons for them seeking ways to make money illegally.
Deputy Mai Thi Anh Tuyet from An Giang Province said salaries and training for administrative staff should be included in administrative reform.
As many National Assembly deputies complained about land-related procedures, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Pham Khoi Nguyen said that the Ministry has set up five working groups to inspect the promulgation of the land law in many provinces and cities. The Ministry has also worked out a plan to amend the law, which will include a chapter on administrative reforms.
Nguyen said while waiting for the new law, the Ministry had checked the land-related procedures. There are 85 procedures, including 41 at provincial level, 33 at district level, 5 at commune level and the remaining at hi-tech parks. These procedures have been temporarily replaced by 54 procedures, which help reduce 52 percent of the fees for people.
"The granting of land for an investment project used to require 11 steps and take between 4-6 years," the minister said.
"The process was now reduced by one-third and in some places, like Hanoi, HMC City and Da Nang, it took only one year. The granting of a land-use certificate takes only 30 days instead of 55 days as regulated,” he told the National Assembly.
Minister of Information and Communications Ngo Doan Hop said they must apply information technology in administrative reform.
The application of technology will guarantee three things in dealing with administrative procedures: a shorter processing time, processing a larger volume of work, and reducing inefficiences. “It seems that corruption will not happen if officials and citizens don’t directly meet each other,” Hop said.
He also said at present, 90 percent of bureaucrats at central agencies, 78 percent at provincial agencies, 40 percent at district agencies and 20 percent at commune agencies use computers to deal with paperwork. Twenty out of 22 ministries have had websites that provide information on administrative procedures and administrative services.
However, he admitted that the use of information technology in dealing with administrative procedures at government agencies is still on a small scale.
The National Assembly will issue a resolution on the supervision of administrative reform.