PM’s team: ’Race with time’ to restructure economy

The calculation is realistic following positive signs that Vietnam recently joined the world trade body and successfully organised the 14th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Hanoi. In a short period of time, several foreign investors decided to increase or pour huge amount of investment capital into Vietnam. As such the Intel Group of the US signed a contract to increase its investment capital to US$1 billion, while POSCO Group of the Republic of Korea decided to invest in US$1.4 billion in a steel production mill in Vietnam. Ayumi Konishi, Country Director of the Asian Development Bank in Vietnam attributed the high influx of foreign investment in Vietnam recently to the country’s high economic growth, great potential and political stability. Those advantages, plus its recent admission to the WTO, will turn Vietnam into a promising investment destination for foreign groups, he said. For the US – the world’s largest economic power, the prospect of its increased investment activities in Vietnam will become realistic after the US Congress approved permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) status with Vietnam last week – the final hurdle to relations between the two countries. Michael Marine, US Ambassador to Vietnam, said that US investment has now hit US$4 billion and the figure double next year as the US is putting final touches on three or four large projects in Vietnam. He said many US investors are exploring the Vietnamese market and 2007 will be a good start for increased trade between the two countries. For its part,…... [read more]

The success of the August 1945 Revolution and the establishment of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, the first people’s democratic State in Southeast Asia, symbolised Vietnam’s strength, spirit, will and wisdom. Vietnam has overcome numerous difficulties to obtain achievements in different fields and affirmed its position in the Doi Moi (Renewal) process. At the recent first meeting of the 12th National Assembly, the Government worked out strong measures to further develop the national economy for international integration. Positive changes made in national development In recent years, national economic growth has been maintained at a high level. In the first half of this year, the economic growth rate reached a five-year record high of 7.87 percent. Industrial production increased by 16.9 percent; agro-forestry and aquaculture, 2.67 percent, and services, 8.41 percent. Export activities have contributed to 50 percent of GDP and developed in both turnover and market. In the first half of this year, export turnover hit more than US$22.4 billion, with six key products surpassing the US$1 billion mark each. From a rice importer, Vietnam has met domestic consumption and become the 2nd biggest rice exporter in the region. Coffee, pepper and cashew nut exports have also achieved a rather high growth, thereby affirming Vietnam’s position in the world export market. Financial and budget activities have been stable. Budget collection and spending has been maintained at a rather high growth rate. The establishment of the securities market has helped mobilise a great deal of capital sources for the national economy,…... [read more]

In recent years, Vietnam has been on record as one of the countries with a high economic growth rate. From 2001 to 2006, the country hit an annual economic growth rate of 7.5 percent on average and by the end of August in 2007, the figure was approximately 8 percent. In particular, the country has attracted a huge volume of foreign investment capital with the 2006 level reaching nearly US$60 billion. However, experts said that the growth in recent times has neither matched the country’s economic potential nor showed sustainability. Although leaders affirmed that Vietnam would become an economic power in the next two decades, whether or not this goal is reached depends on appropriate policies. Over recent years, special attention has been paid to investment, which has obtained satisfactory results but little or no regard has been given to other areas, which can have immediate and long-term impacts on economic development. The following are the two typical areas. The first is administrative reform. It is untrue to say that the Government gives no attention to administrative reform. In fact, it has spared no effort to conduct administrative reform many times but this work is still making no headway. Despite winning the World Trade Organisation (WTO) membership, Vietnam’s administrative system remains unlike others. Most campaigns for administrative reform are still a formalistic “one stop-shop” model without actually launching a genuine revolution to change the ideology of an administrative foundation. Administrative reform is a support not management.It is understandable that in…... [read more]

According to statistics, by the end of 2006, the country had only 2,176 enterprises with 100 percent state capital totalling nearly VND260,000 billion. To fulfil the equitisation target by 2010, the government will equitise about 1,500 enterprises. By the end of 2010, the country will have 554 enterprises with 100 percent state capital. However, in 2007, only 82 enterprises were equitised, fulfilling 21 percent of the set target. Inappropriate intervention The slow progress of equitisation is attributed to barriers from administrative mechanisms. Lawyer Vu Xuan Tien from VFAM Vietnam Consulting Company has identified five major barriers including the improper legal framework for the equitisation process, policies for enterprises, rapid changes in the government’s regulations, difficulties in fulfilling many goals at the same time and the indifference of civil servants to businesses’ difficulties in the equitisation process. Mr Tien said some senior officials still use their power in enterprises even when they have been equitised. For example, a deputy chairman of central Khanh Hoa province’s people’s committee used his mobile phone to stop a shareholders’ meeting of the Phan Thiet Joint Stock Company, which had been implemented in accordance with the laws. Deputy Chairman of Ninh Binh province’s People’s Committee issued a document aimed at not recognising the results of the shareholders’ meeting of Ninh Binh Pharmacy Joint Stock Company. These are really inappropriate interventions into the equitisation process of enterprises. Being afraid of losing interest, senior officials cited many reasons for delaying the equitisation process. Currently, the fluctuation in the…... [read more]

The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs in coordination with the United National Development Programme (UNDP) held a conference in Hanoi on October 2 to review the National Targeted Programme for Poverty Reduction (NTP-PR) in the 2006-2010 term. Vietnam has already attained the twin Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of halving the number of hungry people and people living in poverty by 2015. This is a significant achievement acknowledged internationally, and the NTP-PR made an important contribution to this success. The mid-term review underscored five factors: relevance, effectiveness in meeting targets, programme economy and efficiency, targeting efficacy and quality of service delivery. The review found that the programme experiences a degree of leakage (non-poor people receiving programme benefits) and under-coverage (poor people not included in the programme). The reasons for this are various but a key problem identified by the review is the current administrative system of targeting beneficiaries, which is slow and unwieldy and may not be well-suited to changing conditions in which people frequently move in out of poverty. In terms of service quality, beneficiaries praised the programme but the review showed that there is still significant scope for improving communications and participation. Dang Kim Trung, deputy head of the Institute for Labour, Sciences and Social Affairs, proposed some short-, medium- and long-term measures to cope with anticipated problems. As Vietnam moves toward middle-income status there will have to be new yard sticks for poverty and new poverty reduction targets. Poverty mostly occurs in remote and socially excluded…... [read more]

Addressing the event, Most Venerable Thich Tri Tinh, Chairman of the VBS’s Executive Council, encouraged monks, nuns and followers to preserve their confidence, based on understanding and Dharma, in the bright future of the nation and Vietnamese Buddhism, with the VBS acting as the sole representative inside and outside the country. “The VBS should pay more attention to disadvantaged areas, rumors, disagreements and wrongful acts of a number of its members,” the Most Venerable said. In 2010, the VBS will chair a number of important Buddhist activities, including the 1,000th anniversary of Thang Long-Hanoi Buddhism and the sixth World Buddhist Summit in Hanoi. It will also focus on educating and training monks and nuns, assisting the development of Therevada Khmer, finalising the compilation of Buddhist history and honouring those who have provided great service for Buddhism. The VBS has set to concentrate on charitable and social affairs, particularly in rural, ethnic minority-inhabited areas, and developing HIV/AIDS counseling centres and programmes. Last year, the VBS Central Committee and its municipal and provincial chapters raised more than VND550 billion for charitable and social activities, and maintained the operation of 60 Buddhist medical clinics and a chain of compassionate classrooms, vocational schools in 13 cities and provinces across the country. The VBS also completed the establishment of a close and unified administrative system, helping facilitate Buddhist operations. In his review of the VBS’s performance in 2009, the Vice Chairman of the VBS’s Executive Council, Thich Thien Nhon, attributed the VBS’s achievements to the…... [read more]

Speaking at the meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Sinh Hung praised the responsibility of the working group and the advisor board over the past three years for joining hands to work towards administrative reforms which have gained some positive results. For the first time, a national database on the administrative process was established, making Vietnam one of the top ten countries in implementing the administrative reform. The Deputy Prime Minister expressed his gratitude to domestic and international experts, organisations, staff and especially the businesses and people that have paid attention to the issue and supported the Government. He said that administrative reform is a good policy, a breakthrough towards building a transparent, united, effective and efficient system to fight corruption and strengthen the capacity of the administration. It shows the country’s nature to serve the interests of the people and businesses through the course of development. Mr. Hung noted that administrative reform is one of the key issues in the entire political system. A solid administrative system with a good relationship with the people will require its staff to enhance their capacity. The daily changes in the system will create new administrative regulations which can override older ones. Staff should control the new regulations effectively and replace outdated ones. Administrative reform is a strategic reform, a revolutionary change against obstacles and mechanisms that cause a lack of transparency in the system. It is of extreme socio-economic importance, he added. After three years of implementation (2007-2010), administrative reform through Project 30…... [read more]

The annual forum, jointly organised by the Ministry of Home Affairs and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), creates a high-level dialogue mechanism between the Vietnamese Government and international development partners, to discuss information, policies, ideas and experiences in administrative reform. This year’s forum was focused on improving public service supply and quality in the medical sector and public education. UNDP Country Director in Vietnam Setsuko Yamazaki said that quality public service will help develop human capacity, and raising officials’ responsibility will improve service quality of a nation’s administrative system. UNDP Policy Advisor on Public Administration Reform and Anti-corruption Jairo Acuna-Alfaro said it is necessary to enhance self-reliance in management and finance by speeding up decentralisation in State management to increase service quality.... [read more]

Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Nguyen Manh Hien, made the assessment at a conference to sum up the three-year implementation of the Vietnam Land Administration Project (VLAP) in Hanoi on January 4. This is a “golden chance” for Vietnam’s land administration sector, said Hien, who is head of the project steering committee. However, he noted that the project should focus on finalizing a land database as an important foundation for building of modern land administration model. Heather Riddell, a representative from the New Zealand Embassy, said New Zealand is ready to further support Vietnam in completing its land management system. She shared views with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE) on the need to build a modern land administration system based on a uniform land database from the central to local levels. The VLAP has been implemented between 2008-2013 in nine localities, including Hanoi and Hung Yen, Thai Binh, Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh, Khanh Hoa, Vinh Long, Tien Giang and Ben Tre provinces. To date, the project has completed surveying and mapping on nearly 400,000ha of land.... [read more]

The result is attributable to the implementation of the World Bank-funded Vietnam Land Administration Project (VLAP) across Dan Phuong, Quoc Oai and Ung Hoa districts since 2008. To date, the project has processed the registration for 404,481 out of 454,480 local plots and granted 260,418 land use rights certificates. The VLAP aims to increase stakeholder access to land information services by developing an improved land administration system in selected provinces. The objective is to ensure that land users, including businesses and households, have access to more efficient, reliable, and transparent services from local land administrators. The municipal VLAP management board is completing a package deal to build digital data for all plots across 66 participating communes and townships. It will also install a land profile management system at the Hanoi land register office and three provincial hubs. Meanwhile, a pilot project is allowing locals to receive information and the legal status of land plots via text message. According to Nguyen Van Hung, Vice Director of the Hanoi Department of Natural Resources and Environment, this is the first time the city has run such an effective land management system. He praised its quick and smooth procedures, which have received no complaints so far. Hanoi pledges to establish a fully functional system by June 30, he said. World Bank (WB) Country Director Victoria Kwakwa lauded Hanoi’s speedy implementation and urged the city to share its experience with other provinces and mobilise resources to expand the model. The VLAP has a total investment…... [read more]