The debate, which focused streamlining administrative organizations from the communal to the central level came several days after Party leader Nguyen Phu Trong signed a resolution on restructuring the state apparatus to improve its performance.
Vietnam has 4 million state employees excluding the armed forces. State agencies are tasked to eliminate at least 400,000 state jobs in the next four years.
Communal organizations, provincial departments restructured
Under current regulations, each communal administration is set up to be responsible for an area of 30 square kilometers and more than 5,000 people. But more than 700 communes don’t meet these criteria. Each commune has on average 20 state employees .
The merging of hundreds of communes will save hundreds of millions of dollars of the state budget annually.
Pham Van Hoa, a deputy for Dong Thap province said “We should have a roadmap for communes and districts until 2021. Vietnam now has 63 cities and provinces, which is too many.
The government should ask the National Assembly to revise the Constitution to eliminate district and communal People’s Councils and increase the number of deputies in the provincial People’s Councils who will also be in charge of the districts. The Communal Party Secretary should also be the Chairman of the Communal People’s Committee.”
The deputies agreed on the need to delegate more power to the local administration. This means, local administrations will have the authority to decide the merging and dissolution of local administrative agencies. The number of state officials at the deputy level will be decided by the central government.
Ms Phuong Thi Thanh, a deputy for Bac Kan province said “The government needs to issue guidance on criteria and size of organizations at provincial, and ministerial level. Local administrations should have the power to decide the establishment of local organizations based on local conditions. Ministries should have regulations on the number of state employees to make it easier for local departments.”
Number of organizations within ministries to be cut
The deputies suggested downsizing agencies. In the past few years, the number of departments has doubled to 42 with approximately 200 Deputy General Directors. Deputies stressed the importance of surveying ministries and organizations that have similar functions in certain sectors to avoid overlapping.
Phan Viet Luong, a deputy for Binh Phuoc province said "We should have specific criteria for establishing and setting the number of state employees and deputy officials. Another mission is to strengthen administrative reforms and increase transparency.”