Reform of Government apparatus
The Ministry of Home Affairs has proposed reducing the number of ministries and ministerial-level agencies from 22 at present to 16-18 by 2030; and to promote digital transformation and the digital government.
It is common in Vietnam that one product, one matter is managed by several ministries and government agencies.
The manager of a food processing business has said: “One of our sausages is managed by seven ministries and agencies. They are the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the Ministry of Finance (together with the General Department of Taxation and the General Department of Customs), the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Public Security”.
Problems in state management were exposed clearly after the incident last July in which dozens of people were poisoned after eating vegetarian pate products labelled Minh Chay, produced by Hanoi-based Loi Song Moi (New Lifestyle) Two-Member Co., Ltd.
This vegetarian pate product was certified by the Sub-department of Quality Management of Agro-Forestry-Fisheries under the Hanoi Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and inspected by the Market Management Administration under the Ministry of Industry and Trade. The Department of Food Safety of the Ministry of Health is in charge of food safety management.
Thus, at least three ministries and agencies were involved in the management of the product. Many inspection teams were established to inspect the operation of the producer, and the company was suspended.
In a petition sent to the Government at a session of the XIV National Assembly in 2019, voters representing the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises reported that the petroleum sector is under the management of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, but in fact, many ministries and agencies are involved in the management such as the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the Ministry of Finance...
The fact that one liter of petrol is managed by more than five ministries and agencies with different regulations has caused many difficulties for businesses.
During the National Assembly’s discussion on the amended Law on Public Investment in late 2018, deputy Tran Quang Chieu mentioned that the two ministries jointly manage the state budget.
Specifically, the Ministry of Planning and Investment manages the allocation and expenditure of investment while the Ministry of Finance manages the allocation of recurrent expenditures.
This leads to a situation where resources are scattered, overlapping, and inconsistent in management, thereby reducing the efficiency of budget expenditures, and creating lack of cohesion between recurring expenditure and investment expenditure.
“Of 170 countries and territories, only Vietnam has two ministries that manage state budget capital, while the scale of our economy as well as the size of our budget is not large. So, there's no reason to give this task to only one agency," said National Assembly deputy Tran Quang Chieu.
Just cutting the top
At the beginning of the 14th Government term, the Prime Minister established a working group to help the cabinet head to review the overlaps and contradictions in the management and administration of ministries and government agencies.
In 2017, the head of the Prime Minister's working group led by the Chairman of the Government Office at that time - Mr. Mai Tien Dung – released a shocking number: on average, enterprises spent nearly 30 million working days and nearly VND15 trillion a year inspecting import and export goods.
There were nearly 100,000 items that had to be inspected at customs clearance, but the rate of violations detected through inspections was only about 0.06%.
“A car manufacturing line was checked when it was imported, but when it was assembled at the factory, inspectors from another ministry came to check it again,” said Mr. Mai Tien Dung.
The Prime Minister at that time ordered that only one product should be managed by one management agency.
The efforts of the Prime Minister, the Government and the Working Group during the past term helped to cut and simplify 63% of required business conditions and 68% of the list of specialized goods.
However, businesses still complained that they had to "go through many doors" to perform administrative procedures and had to "receive" many inspection teams.
No matter how much effort is made in the reform of administrative procedures, it still exists. If one procedure is cut, another procedure appears. The root of the problem lies in overlapping management, and duplication of functions and tasks between ministries and agencies.
The root in the apparatus