Ministry of Home Affairs Public Administration Reform Department General Director Dinh Duy Hoa said that in addition to reforming institutions, administrative procedures, finances and the State apparatus, the focal task of service quality would add to the country’s Human Development Index.
Accordingly, the country targets satisfying 60 per cent of its citizens via public healthcare and educational services by 2015 and over 80 per cent by 2020.
At present, only around 15-20 per cent of citizens were happy with service quality, Hoa said, adding that a yearly satisfaction increase of 10 per cent, although moderate, played a crucial role in effective reform.
Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Nguyen Tien Dinh stated that the new plan consolidated Viet Nam’s commitment to reform.
A clear identification of reform goals will enable result assessment.
United Nations Development Programme Country Director Setsuko Yamazaki confirmed that the new measures would prioritise public service delivery.
A UNDP Global Human Development Report, issued last month, pointed out that Viet Nam’s impressive overall human development advance was due to economic growth, but that the country’s full human development potential remained untapped as human development, education and health indicators seem to slow while disparities in accessing services increase.
The report places Viet Nam among the group of medium human development countries, its HDI having increased by nearly 12 per cent from 2001-11.
However, while Gross National Income per capital rose by 77 per cent and life expectancy from 72 to 75.5 years, expected years of schooling saw almost no change at 10.3 to 10.4 years, significantly below that of other countries.
Jairo Acuna-Alfaro, a UNDP policy advisor, said that quality public services relied heavily on quality human resources.
The public sector needs to become more professional and focus on strengthening incentives – transition from behavioural elements (such as nepotism and patronage) to new elements of performance management based on the abilities of civil servants and the introduction of a “Performance culture”.
Incentive and salary policies are key to ensure quality human resources, he added.
According to a recent online survey conducted by the UNDP and Vietnamnet e-paper, 30 per cent out of around 11,000 respondents said that they chose to enter the low paid civil service for the stability it offers until they reach retirement age while 26 per cent said that they did not know where else to work.
As much as 77 per cent out of around 14,000 answered that monthly civil servant salaries were mostly insufficient, 31 per cent adding that they relied on informal payments from citizens while 25 per cent had to work extra hours to earn enough money.
Representative from the Education and Training Ministry Vu Van Thiep said that public university autonomy was key to improving service delivery.
To date, Viet Nam’s public universities were either self-financed or partly-financed units faced with restrictions such as the inability to make decisions related to enrolment, training programmes, certificate granting or mobilising and utilising non-State resources.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) and the UNDP jointly organised a Public Administration Reform Partnership Forum under the theme “Towards enhanced quality of public service delivery.”