Improving Administrative Reform, Business Climate

4:09:05 PM | 20/9/2022

Administrative reform has been a special concern of Phu Yen province in the past years. Thanks to drastic actions of the Party and all-tier authorities, this work has produced positive results and helped upgrade the investment and business environment and enhance local competitiveness. Our reporter has an interview on this issue with Mr. Truong Ngoc Tuan, Director of the Phu Yen Department of Home Affairs.

Could you tell us some remarkable outcomes of the public administration reform of Phu Yen province?

Over the past time, public administration reform has been a great concern of the Party, authorities at all levels, organizations, individuals and enterprises. The administrative apparatus at all levels has been increasingly consolidated and streamlined to improve administrative discipline, effectiveness and performance of administration, create a favorable environment to draw investors and boost local socioeconomic development.

First of all, regarding institutional reform, the formulation and application of legal documents has been increasingly completed. The organizational apparatus of administrative bodies has been gradually renovated and consolidated to streamline and reduce intermediate levels. State agencies from provincial to commune levels have strongly applied information technology in management and administration (100% of provincial, district and communal administrative agencies are connected to the administrative document management system; 100% of documents are delivered electronically, certified by digital signatures and digital certificates except for confidential documents).

Regarding administrative procedure reform, based on the working principle of the provincial government “Placing people and businesses at the center of service”, the Provincial People's Committee has directed all competent agencies and localities to actively review all regulations on administrative procedures within their jurisdiction, with particular attention paid to revising essential areas to report and propose amendments or simplification of administrative procedures to the Government and central agencies and create favorable conditions for people and organizations. The committee promulgates and properly implements internal processes of settling administrative procedures for all published administrative procedures to ensure publicity, transparency and control of responsibility of relevant bodies and individuals. Thereby, it has minimized intermediary and unnecessary steps in solving administrative procedures to improve the business investment environment, support business development and enhance service quality for people and organizations.

The above efforts have produced remarkable changes. As of July 15, 2022, the province had a total of 4,031 active enterprises (up 5% over the same period of 2021) with a combined registered capital of VND74,249 billion. The local socioeconomic performance picked up.

Digitizing records and documents at the Phu Yen Department of Home Affairs 

What do you think about the performance of provincial indicators such as the Public Administration Reform Index (PAR Index), the Satisfaction Index of Public Administrative Services (SIPAS) and the Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI)? What are current PAR limitations that need to be improved to help Phu Yen upgrade?

In 2021, all above indexes increased in their rankings from previous years, with PCI Index climbing seven places and the Vietnam Provincial Governance and Public Administration Performance Index (PAPI) by 14 places. These results partly showed efforts of all-level authorities to reform public administration and improve the business investment climate.

Although its indicators have picked up year after year, their progress is generally slow and is yet to reach targets set by the province. Beside objective reasons such as small economic size, low starting point of PCI, PAPI and PAR Index, there are also subjective reasons of PAR limitations like weak spirit and working attitude of public employees, especially in handling administrative procedures relating to land and construction (failing to meet the government-given target of 95% of administrative procedures records are handled in time); a low ratio of online public services of Level 3 and Level 4 of integrated and provided on the National Public Service Portal; and slower-than-planned e-government construction.

The improvement of PAR Index, PAPI and PCI play an important role. These indicators reflect assessment and perception of people and businesses in administrative agencies. This is a "race" for localities. If we do not fix it in time and are slow to reform, we will face the risk of falling behind.

Phu Yen province will have to be more drastic in carrying out measures to address PAR limitations and weaknesses by analyzing index results. At the same time, it is necessary to drastically reform administrative procedures, improve the quality of handling documents for people and organizations, and focus on building e-government and digital transformation to meet current requirements of administrative reform.

As a standing advisory agency for public administration reform, what key solutions will the Department of Home Affairs implement to further concretize PAR goals in the 2020-2025 period of Phu Yen province?

PAR is defined as a regular, continuous task towards building a clean administration aimed to improve service for people, businesses and social community. The Department of Home Affairs will be more active in advising the Provincial People's Committee to assign and direct relevant agencies and localities to carry out PAR tasks with specific annual targets and plans set for 2021-2025 and 2021-2030 periods; regularly inspect and urge agencies and localities to implement regulations on electronic working environment, create a basis for fostering information technology application in State administrative agencies. The department will consult the Provincial People’s Committee to assign leaders of agencies and localities to keep a close watch on PAR to enhance their personal responsibility of carrying out tasks and addressing PAR shortcomings and limitations.

Besides, the department will continue to consolidate the organizational structure, build a contingent of professional and capable public employees, focus on training and fostering public employees at all levels, improve their professional qualifications, communication and behavior skills to better receive and settle administrative procedures. The department will provide additional training for communal civil servants to ensure professional qualifications for handling administrative procedures, particularly those relating to land management and construction. It will set up working groups to guide and support public employees working at single-window divisions at district and commune levels to receive, process and return results of administrative documents on the Provincial Public Service Portal.

In the coming time, the Department of Home Affairs will continue to advise the Provincial People's Committee to soon issue a pilot project to transfer public administrative tasks and services to public postal service providers; a project on reforming and improving the working performance of single-window divisions at all levels in Phu Yen province in order to speed up digitization of receiving administrative records and delivering settlement results. The department will expand reception of administrative procedures regardless of administrative boundaries, to enhance the working performance of single-window divisions and speed up administrative procedure reform to ensure convenience and practical benefits to people and organizations.

At the same time, the agency will strengthen inspection, examination and supervision of administrative reform at departments, branches and localities, especially at single-window divisions in districts and communes, to have timely solutions to emerging matters that may delay work progress.

Only when there is a modern, effective and efficient administration, can it well support people and businesses, improve the investment environment, attract large projects and strategic investors, and facilitate local socioeconomic development.

Thank you very much!

Minh Thu - Nguyen Bach(Vietnam Business Forum)