The change in state management mindset must be conveyed to civil servants at all levels, which is the quickest way to turn commitment into action.
A measure of government facilitation
At the time of taking the oath of office, Prime Minister Phuc used the image of a hand to describe the determination of all members of the new government.
Ministers may be different from one another like the different fingers, however, they all share the same hand, and all are resolute in implementing Party resolutions and fulfilling the commitment to build a government of facilitation and integrity.
The prime minister has stated that the commitment will be realised if there is supervision of the National Assembly and the people.
Once the government has identified its role as a facilitator of growth and government workers as servants of the people and enterprises, growth and development will be imminent.
It is not long since the new cabinet was approved by the National Assembly but the resolve to change can be clearly seen in continuous efforts made by the government leader and its members.
Ministries and provincial governments have also taken action to meet the criteria of a facilitative administration for the sake of the people.
Nevertheless, citizens nationwide are yet to be satisfied with the actual performance of the economy.
Despite improvements, Vietnam’s business climate still has yet to find suitable breakthrough solutions in order to rise above its current position as one of the weakest members in ASEAN.
The goal of imposing market discipline on State-owned enterprises is still facing challenges, raising concerns over how to determine those who are responsible for huge loss-making projects.
In addition, the economic sector still fails to comply with the principle of celebrating the profits they gain and suffering the losses they incur.
If the situation fails to change, the goal of creating an equal business environment is still far from being realised.
Entering into a new year, the measure of the government’s degree of facilitation will be determined by whether the economy grows in a sustainable manner and how the government’s commitments are put into action.
There remains much concern that the lower the level, the more reluctant government workers are to undertake difficult tasks.
In the final days of 2016, the prime minister provided a source of encouragement for investors when mentioning a VND50 trillion (US$2.2 billion) credit package at a workshop held to discuss investment in high-tech agriculture.
But in order for the money to be channelled into the right places, it is necessary for ministries and local authorities to turn words into concrete actions.
How to encourage civil servants to undertake difficult tasks?
When this question is answered satisfactorily, it means the core of building a government of integrity and facilitation has been touched upon.
Many scandals related to personnel have been uncovered over the last year, undermining the confidence of the people.
The Party has issued many resolutions and directives to correct and improve the ethics of Party members and government workers.
The government has also pledged to take action to build the people’s confidence, remove decadent ones from the State apparatus, control power more closely and introduce mechanisms to deter government workers from corruption and harassment.
However, to fulfil this pledge is no easy task, especially when there are still many loopholes in the personnel appointment process.
It must be pointed out frankly that if the discipline of civil workers is not imposed strictly and the quality of the administration is not improved, measures to restructure the economy and build a facilitative government will fail to be taken in the right path.
During many dialogues between enterprises and relevant government agencies, the statement “we are following the correct process” is often used by civil servants as an excuse. After which, enterprises must often take their complaints to higher authorities.
It remains an unaddressed issue that responsible State agencies tend to promulgate policies designed in a way to facilitate their management without paying attention to who will be affected by their decisions and what the impacts are on society.
The mindset of taking the easy approach for themselves and causing further difficulties for the people remains rife among civil servants.
It is rare for civil servants to ask themselves what changes they should propose, if there are any ways to help enterprises and if the current regulations are compatible with a market economy.
Dau Anh Tuan, head of the legal affairs department at the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that during the process to review business conditions, he was told by many enterprises that they are not afraid of business conditions but are fearful that such conditions are not transparent.
Only when civil servants stop their tendency of taking the easy road, the prime minister’s commitment to being a servant government of integrity in which government agencies are the “midwives” for enterprises can be realised.
In 2017, the people and the enterprises of Vietnam are looking forward to the spirit of reform, which is to be duplicated throughout the entire system and instilled into every civil servant, so that the voices for the sake of the people do not fall on deaf ears but are put into practice.