VietNamNet Bridge – The plan on turning Vietnam into an information technology (IT) power was kicked off last year. However, nothing important has been done so far.
The National Steering Committee on Information Technology joined forces with the Ministry of Information and Communication, organizing a workshop reviewing the one year implementation of the plan on turning Vietnam into an IT power on January 7, which gathered 400 participants.
All the ministries and branches have said that they are still in the “preparation period,” while they have not made any concrete achievements.
According to Deputy Minister of Information and Communication Nguyen Minh Hong, the plan on turning Vietnam into an IT power, by the nature, is the national IT strategy by 2020. It took two years to build up the strategy, while a lot of meetings and workshops were held for view exchange, which have been drawing the special attention from the public.
The plan was only officially approved by the Prime Minister on September 22, 2010, which shows the determination of the government and the Vietnamese IT circle to upgrade the competitiveness and the sustainable development of the country in the digital decade.
Reviewing the one year implementation, Nguyen Trong Duong, Director of the Information Technology Department of the Ministry of Information and Communication, said that ministries, branches, local authorities, associations, training establishments and enterprises have “jumped on the bandwagon.”
Duong said that the plan has created a lot of positive impacts. It has made the IT circle more excited and create a new driving force for enterprises to develop. It has helped gathered relating programs and plans, generate an “echo” on the world’s IT community, create confidence in foreign investors, which can help improve Vietnam’s position on the world’s IT map.
However, Duong has admitted that Vietnam has been facing big difficulties in implementing the plan and that the project has been going slowly. Since the plan was only approved in late 2010, agencies could not draw up the action plans for the 2011’s state budget.
Meanwhile, in an effort to curb inflation, the government has been cutting down public investment projects. As a result, a lot of IT projects have been cut. Duong also said that Vietnam is still lacking a mechanism which allows to coordinate and carry out the items of the plan on turning Vietnam into an IT power. Besides, Vietnam also lacks a financial and investment mechanism to implement the projects.
A lot of problems have arisen which are really the hindrances to the ministries and local authorities to implement the plan.
A lot of programs have been set up as the component projects of the plan. However, no one can say for sure where the programs should start, since there has been no suitable mechanism. The program on applying IT at state agencies, for example, only can run with a legal document that guides the management and the use of the state’s budget. However, the three relevant ministries have been very slow in issuing the legal document.
Many things area still lacking in ensuring the smooth implementation of the plan-- from the policy salaries to IT specialist, to the policy on the disbursement for projects.
Meanwhile, Hong admitted that the plan is really ambitious which sets up a lot of goals which may be unattainable.
“After 16 months, or 10 percent of the total time fund we have, not many things have been done,” Hong said, adding that Vietnam only has 8 years more to implement the tasks stipulated by the plan.
Dr Nguyen Ba An, a senior official of the Ministry of Planning and Investment, said in Vietnam, IT is considered as an industry, not a fundamental infrastructure sector of the national economy to be able to enjoy preferences for development.