Rampant corruption in Vietnam: most common in traffic, land management, customs, and construction

Nov 21, 2012, Traffic police, land management, customs and construction top the list of areas where corruption takes place most commonly, according to a survey done by the Government Inspectorate and the World Bank (WB).

The survey was carried out in ten cities and provinces, interviewing over 2,600 citizens, 1,000 businesses and 1,800 public officials from five ministries, including the ministries said to have high chance of corruption, such as the Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of Construction and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. The scale of the survey, therefore, could be seen as fairly representative.

When asked to name the top three displeasing issues in Vietnam at present, over one-third of the surveyed citizens chose corruption as their biggest displeasure, followed by prices and traffic accidents. Meanwhile, corruption is the second biggest displeasure to enterprises after prices, says a report on the survey results.

The answer of enterprises is not surprising as they have been badly hit by inflation while having to deal with corruption. State officials even described corruption as a national vice, said the Government Inspectorate.

Over 82% of the citizens interviewed said corruption was widespread in the country. More than 75% of the respondents considered corruption a serious problem.

Around 45% of State employees said they had witnessed corrupt practices, while 44% of enterprises and 28% of citizens said they had to pay unofficial fees.

Although fewer cases of corruption have been detected, it does not mean the evil has been reduced. Rather, “it means this practice has become more complicated and sophisticated, and better hidden, not that it has lessened,” according to the report.

The main causes of corruption, according to the respondents, are light-handed sanctions against corruption, moral degradation among State officials, ask-give mechanism and cumbersome administrative procedures.

The survey indicates traffic police, land management, customs and construction are the areas with the most corruption. On the contrary, corruption rarely occurs in the fields of post offices, media organizations, treasury offices and grassroots police.

Enterprises considered the difficulties caused by State agencies while they underwent administrative procedures as a form of corruption. Some 70% of the businesses surveyed said they had offered to pay informal fees, while the remainder was asked to do so.

Some 63% of the corporate respondents said State officials had prolonged the process on purpose.

The role of the media is highly appreciated as 80% of the businesses and public officials surveyed said the media had detected corrupt practices before the authorities did. Media pressure had prevented corruption cases from sinking into oblivion.

Saigon Times, Nov 21, 2012

Read more from the World Bank Press Release and Reports

“Corruption from the perspective of citizens, firms, and public officials : results of sociological survey”

Corruption in Vietnam is now one of the most serious problems that draws the attention of nearly everyone. It is difficult to assess corruption in daily life properly, because people only know of corruption cases once they are found out and addressed. The fight against corruption in Vietnam has progressed since the law on anti-corruption was enacted in 2005, after then Prime Minister Phan Van Khai said at a Dialogue with Entrepreneurs on October 14, 2004,

Prime Minister Phan Van Khai 2006 (PM 1997-2006)“At the moment, leaders of many provinces, cities have recognized the need to support businesses, but officers, civil servants do not properly implement the regulations red tape and corruption is a serious … issue. The representative of the American Chamber of Commerce says that corruption is our country is widespread, neutralizing the State Apparatus, even there is rule of law but it turns out be no rule of law at all. Hearing this may make us uncomfortable, but it is an actual fact and we should take it as a pain. I do not know how other cadres think but I think that is a fact … For many years as Prime Minister, an issue that has been burdening my mind, and certainly even until retirement, is our corrupt apparatus, how can we push back … From now to early 2005, I am going to establish task force teams to check, review all procedures, anything that can create obstacles on businesses in order to see how … If everything is made transparent, then there are no reasons why the economy cannot be healthy. See the mistakes but do not correct is a real risk to the country.”

However, actions have not been bold and there are few visible successes from anti-corruption. The goal of preventing corruption gradually has not been achieved. The Government Inspectorate (GI) and the Office of the Steering Committee on Anti-corruption (OSCAC) commissioned the present study. The report is organized as follows:

Part One will present the main findings about the level of corruption and the types of corruption reported by respondents to the surveys, exploring the understanding of the term “corruption,” perceptions of corruption at various levels of government and in various sectors, and actual experiences encountering corruption with various state agencies.

Part Two will also explore which anti-corruption measures seem to be having the most impact, and how the approach to anti-corruption can be improved. Comparisons to other surveys such as Vietnam Provincial Governance and Public Administration Performance Index (PAPI) and Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) and comparisons between the 2005 survey results and those for 2012 are also included in part two.

Part Three offers the key conclusions and recommendations.

Part Four includes annexes with some additional details on methodology and certain analyses

CORRUPTION from the Perspective of Citizens, Firms, and Public Officials, World Bank and Government Inspection Office, revised edition, Jan 2013

Read more …

Read the Complete Report in English and/or Vietnamese

CORRUPTION from the Perspective of Citizens, Firms, and Public Officials, World Bank and Government Inspection Office, Oct 2012

Tham Nhũng từ góc nhìn của người dân,doanh hghiệp, và cán bộ, công chức, viên chức. Kết quả khảo sát xã hội học, Ngân hàng Thế giới và Thanh tra Chính phủ, tháng 10 Năm 2012

Posted: Nov 25, 2012; Updated: Jun 10, 2014