The Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) will focus its efforts on reforms, striving towards a “contingency of officials with competence, virtue, and reputation befitting their duties.”
This commitment manifested clearly in the Resolution of the 7th plenary meeting of the 12th Central Committee that concluded on May 12, and was signed into effect by the Party’s leader Nguyen Phu Trọng on Saturday.
The Party aims to integrate the Resolution’s contents into the Party’s code and Government’s regulations by 2020, with Party representatives in the Government and the National Assembly being tasked with directing concerned agencies to study and “urgently institutionalise the Resolution’s terms” and “make amendments to the Law on cadres and civil servants, Law on public employees, and other relevant legal codes.”
The meeting’s resolution states the Party would “build an exhaustive mechanism” towards checks-and-balances of power, exercise utmost efforts in “total eradication” of obtaining positions in the Government and Party by illicit means such as nepotism and bribery.
Efforts would also be expended to prevent the ‘self-transformation’ and ‘self-evolution’ phenomena – terms used to refer a member’s corrupt ethics and straying from the Communist Party’s ideology.
To this end, the Party’s efforts will be crystallised into components it called “two main priorities, and five breakthroughs.”
The two priority areas are (1) to continue implementing robust and synchronous reforms, tightening disciplines and regulations while creating an environment “conducive to innovation, creativity and commitments towards public service” as well as developing mechanisms to protect officials who dare to think and act outside-of-the-box and dare to take responsibility for the common goods and (2) to focus on developing the contingency of officials holding key leadership positions, especially Party secretaries, with an eye set on ‘decentralisation of power’ in order to engender autonomy and innovation while preventing abuse of power.
The ‘five breakthroughs’ are (1) to reform official contingency assessment towards ‘multi-dimensional, continuous, criteria-based and output-based’ assessment via ‘surveying, making public the results and comparing the results to other officials in similar positions, towards abolishing lifetime State payroll; (2) to maintain a firm balance of power, filtering out and replacing the unsuitable officials in a timely manner; put an end to illicit bribery for positions; (3) to enforce serious implementation of the Party’s order that local government-level Party secretaries must not be locals; (4) to implement public servants’ salary and housing reforms to “create strong motivations for officials to be fully committed to their duties,” and to craft policies and mechanism to enable a fair and competitive environment to draw in and make use of talents; (5) to complete mechanisms to make sure that officials must ‘maintain close ties with people’ and to promote the role of the people in building a capable contingency of officials.
The Party aims to have at least 11 scientists cum officials for every 10,000 people, with a contingency of scientists and experts in key sectors comparable to their international and regional colleagues.
More stringent requirements would also be required of “contingency of officials in strategic level positions,” most notably the requirement where at least 40-50 per cent of the total “must be capable of working in international environment,” besides conditions such as 15 per cent of the contingency being under 45 years old, or all must be “truly exemplary in political ideology, virtuosity, qualifications, and reputation.” Similarly, for the contingency of officials holding leader positions of general departments, departments at the central level, 20-25 per cent must be under 40 years and 50-60 per cent capable of working in an international environment. For local government’s leaders and officials, 15-20 per cent of provincial leaders must be under 40 years old, 25-35 per cent capable of working in international environment. The contingency of commune-level officials must be 100 per cent university/college graduates and has received standardised training on political thoughts, ideology, as well as their job’s skills and knowledge.
For the contingency of officials holding executive positions in State-owned enterprises, 70-80 per cent of them must be capable of working internationally while upholding “Party’s ideology and the law-abiding spirit.”
The Party’s resolution also makes representation a priority objective. It aims to have at least 35 per cent of delegates in the National Assembly and people’s councils of all levels, and 20-25 per cent in the local Party secretary positions, respectively, being women, while specifically states that “In areas with considerable presence of ethnic minority population, the ratio of the officials who are from local ethnic minority backgrounds must reflect respective demographic ratio.”
Rampant personnel issues
The radical changes to the Party’s policies cadre and contingency of officials came from a variety of shortcomings that have beleaguered the Party for some time, which the General Secretary Trọng has bemoaned as “undermining the public trust in the Party” and sworn to correct it.
In the resolution, after listing achievements made in the personnel works, the Party said there remains limitations in its workforce, such as the fact “the contingency is large in number, but lacking in capacity,” the shortage of capable and leading experts and scientist, officials’ weak foreign language proficiency and people’s skills, nepotism and bribery to obtain positions in the Government and the Party organisations, or the lack of co-ordination between officials at different levels and in different sectors.
The resolution also didn’t mince words in calling out senior officials who fail to lead by example, “lack competence and virtue demanded of their positions,” be “individualistic, out-of-touch with the people” and get themselves tainted by corruption, wastefulness, and special interest groups.
The Party’s resolution also made notice of several executive officials in State companies who have taken advantage of legal loopholes to illegally make private profits at the expense of the State assets, as evidenced by a string of major economic mismanagement cases brought to light in recent years under the intense, ‘no-forbidden-zone’ anti-corruption campaign spearheaded by the Party Secretary General.
The low ratio of young, female, or ethnic minority officials compared to the Party’s targets was also listed as a serious disappointment.
The personnel work also portrayed many limitations. Cadre planning lacks the ‘big-picture’ perspective, while stumbles in “selecting the right person for the job and vice versa,” making for “rampant incompetent officials, causing public discontent.” Institutionalisation of Party’s direction to attract talents was also considered ‘lacklustre’ with the failed goals of having enough young intellectuals and highly qualified officials.
The resolution wrote “the growth and development of the contingency of officials in the last 20 years have played a key role in the outstanding achievements” that the country has made, however, the weaknesses and faults in a considerable number of officials are also the main reason why Việt Nam has not “achieved a level of growth and development commensurate to its potentials, strengths and people’s expectations.” — VNS