New Notions of Government
15:25 | 10/11/2016

VGP - Minister and Chairman of the Government Office Mai Tien Dung had an interview with the Viet Nam Economic Times about how a constructive government will be put in place.

Minister, Chairman of the Government Office Mai Tien Dung

Why was the reform of mechanisms the first priority set by the government in carrying out its plans to create a constructive government?

At the first meeting after the new government was formed, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc affirmed that it would focus on institution-building activities and decisions. Since May, the first part of the government’s regular meetings has been devoted to building and completing institutions and laws. The Prime Minister also set out a policy of building a constructive government marked by integrity and aggressive action to serve the development of the country and the people. The government will focus on overhauling, making reforms, and completing institutions, mechanisms, policies and laws, reinforcing decentralization in ministries, authorities and provinces, easing constraints on enterprises, and creating favorable conditions for enterprises to develop. Notably, the government is strongly determined to change itself from an inflexible administrative management body to a constructive body to serve citizens and the business community.

What difficulties and challenges does the government anticipate in adopting policies for a constructive government?

Integration is increasingly complex and there are difficulties stemming from the global economy. There are also many challenges specific to Vietnam, such as high levels of public debt, slow resolution of bad debts, and limited resources compared to development needs, which require major efforts and new solutions.

The reform of institutions and the improvement of the business environment are long-term processes in which many challenges may arise and require strong political commitment and implementation by the government, ministries, localities, enterprises, and the people, with support from development partners.

We must immediately identify obstacles to the country’s development and clearly define objectives to adopt solutions to mobilize resources, free productive forces, and enhance the competitiveness of the economy.

The government has other issues to address in improving the business and investment environment regarding transparency, equal treatment, and international competitiveness.

It is making every effort to overcome the difficulties and challenges with the support of society and enterprises.

What is the roadmap for building a constructive government by reforming procedures and institutions?

The Prime Minister has affirmed that the consistent policy of the government is to build a “constructive government of integrity and action to serve citizens”, focusing on institutional reform and serve citizens and businesses. The government has renewed its methods of direction to be dynamic, flexible, practical, aggressive, and creative and to quickly introduce resolutions to remove obstacles from legal provisions, creating a legal basis for the implementation of policies that are favorable to the people and to businesses.

The government has set six courses of action. Firstly, in the methods of direction and administration of the government, the Prime Minister has emphasized major orientations on the basis of the Constitution and the Law on Government Organization. The most important matter is to create a transparent and effective government and tackle corruption and waste.

Secondly, the government will strengthen national discipline and rectify lax legal enforcement, especially in public administration. It will promote and ensure the democratic rights of the people. Democracy and discipline are two important issues that have are  closely tied to each other.

Thirdly, the Prime Minister has set a target for the government to change from inflexible administrative management to a model that properly serves enterprises and citizens, to bolster satisfaction levels among citizens and enterprises.

Fourthly, the Prime Minister has asked for clear definitions of the functions of State management and the market, which must operate by itself. The government will only focus on introducing mechanisms, institutions, and policies based on contributions from the people and eliminating the “ask-give” mentality.

Fifthly, the government has directed that greater attention be paid to decentralization. Matters that ministries, provinces and authorities have done well the government will continue to decentralize and will not allow them to return such tasks to the central government.

Sixthly, enhancing the roles and responsibilities of the members of the government, ministers, and heads of ministerial-level agencies, especially in resolving problems and barriers and improving mechanisms, policies, planning, and coordination between ministries and localities.

The Prime Minister has directed new policies to remove the difficulties facing enterprises and to motivate startups. Many new important policies have been issued to cut administrative procedures and the time spent on completing tax and fee obligations to ease the burden on enterprises, create the conditions for resources to become available and accelerate sustainable development, such as boosting the equitization of State-owned enterprises and reining in public spending and public investment. Administrative reform will be conducted in a more transparent manner, with better attitudes and behavior adopted by State agencies to serve the people and enterprises.

What measures can be taken to make full use of the capacity of the government apparatus and address overlaps or contradictions that arise between ministries? What are the positive changes both in the short term and the long term that the domestic and international business community can expect from the process of building a constructive government?

The government has recently given ministries and agencies the mission of State management, ensuring all sectors are included and to overcome any overlaps between State branches in carrying out the functions of State management. However, there remains some areas of convergence that need to be assigned more clearly. To remedy this situation, the government recently issued a regulation and will issue decrees that more clearly stipulate the functions and tasks of authorities, ministries and agencies. Regarding inter-ministerial issues, there is a consistent principle that only one ministry or agency will take responsibility for coordinating other ministries or agencies.

In order to create a breakthrough in the building of a constructive government to serve the people and businesses, the government issued Resolution No. 19 on improving the business and investment environment to increase the country’s competitiveness, and Resolution No. 35 on supporting and developing enterprises. As soon as the new government was established, the Office of the Government, the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the Ministry of Justice and other related ministries quickly introduced decrees on investment and business that are in compliance with the provisions of the Law on Investment and the Law on Enterprises, in order to improve the business and investment climate and encourage the mobilization of resources for development investment.

Immediately after the meeting between the Prime Minister and business representatives in April, the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Ministers, and the Office of the Government received more than 100 petitions from enterprises and business associations. Under the Prime Minister’s direction, these petitions have been passed on to relevant agencies for consideration and handling, the results of which have been reported to the Prime Minister and placed on the government’s portal and the website of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI).   

The Prime Minister, as the head of the government, has listened to the opinions of the people, enterprises and the media to make specific and appropriate directions to promptly resolve pressing social issues, including the processing of VAT refunds, cutting transportation costs, reducing borrowing costs for small and medium-sized enterprises, and curbing the illegal deforestation seen in some central highlands provinces.

These actions reflect the determination of the government and the Prime Minister to build a constructive, truthful government to serve the people.

In the process of building a constructive government, how will the domestic and foreign business communities be supported in contributing ideas and advice to the government?

Enterprises are always consulted when State agencies prepare new policies or legislation for the business sector. From the outset of this new government’s term its leaders have attended many conferences and seminars held by business associations so they can better understand the difficulties facing enterprises from existing mechanisms and policies. In the process of building laws that have a direct impact to businesses, such as the Law on Supporting SMEs and amendments and supplements to certain articles of the Law on Investment, businesses and business associations directly commented and consulted via participation on drafting committees and evaluation boards and also cooperated with State agencies to organize conferences to consult experts and the business community, with opinions sought and sent to related agencies.

In particular, for the first time the Prime Minister directly heard from the President of the VCCI on more than 300 comments collected from the business community and from the Director of the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM) on petitions regarding 50 draft decrees on business conditions.

Also for the first time, a system that allows for feedback and recommendations from businesses to go directly to the Minister and Chairman of the Office of the Government was officially put into operation on October 1, at on the government’s portal. So far the Office of the Government has received and forwarded many petitions to relevant authorities for consideration and handling. This is a channel that directly connects the government with businesses.

(Viet Nam Economic Times)



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