Law to boost civil service quality
How to entice talented people to become civil servants while addressing the urgent problem of people leaving public service was the centre of debate at the National Assembly's meeting yesterday.
The Law on Civil Servants, which will help define the responsibilities of State employees and civil servants, as well as provide more transparent management of public and private relationships, is being considered at the NA's 8th session for approval next month.
Most of the deputies yesterday voiced their agreement on the necessity of having more detailed and transparent regulations concerning favours and rewards to attract more talented people to work in State offices. That would also help arrest the brain-drain of skilled people preferring to work for the private sector, said the deputies.
The draft bill on Civil Servants was considered for the first time at the National Assembly Standing Committee meeting last July. The draft, together with the those on Administrative Litigation, and Environment Protection Tax, was submitted to the NA at its seventh plenary session earlier July. The law is expected to come into force next year.
The most discussion on the draft bill yesterday centred around whether to include overseas Vietnamese as being eligible to work for the State or not. A number of deputies suggested Vietnamese currently working or living overseas should not be considered for civil service jobs, while others disagreed.
The NA Standing Committee said that civil servants' activities would be attached to the workings of their State offices and it was impossible for a State employee who lived abroad to work often in Viet Nam. The draft should put overseas Vietnamese on contracts for research co-operation, experience and professional skills exchanges, technology transfer, or hired for a fixed term in accordance with current policies, said Nguyen Van Thuan of the NA Standing Committee.
Tran Xuan Thao of southern Kien Giang Province said from his experience after meeting with overseas Vietnamese people, most had said they had no intention whatsoever of being considered for State employment. The Kien Giang deputy suggested the draft should concentrate on State employment affecting Vietnamese living in Viet Nam alone.
Many other deputies, however, voiced their viewpoints on supporting the inclusion of overseas Vietnamese in State employment.
"Viet Nam has a serious shortage of State employees, especially in the areas of science, technology and the arts," said Nguyen Ngoc Dao of Ha Noi at the session yesterday morning. "Any Vietnamese citizen should have the right to become a State employee, and therefore the Vietnamese people living abroad should be included."
Dao said the geographical distance should not be made a factor to exclude overseas Vietnamese from being employed by the State as in the context of integration and globalisation, overseas Vietnamese should be encouraged to work for their home country and be employed by their Government. The draft bill's regulation opposing that would be an obstacle to the efforts to draw talents from outside the country, said Dao who echoed Ngo Duc Manh from southern Binh Phuoc Province.
The Law on Citizenship has been amended, in which overseas Vietnamese are allowed to hold dual citizenship, with the aim of drawing talented Vietnamese people from all over the world to contribute to the country's development, said the Binh Phuoc deputy. Manh took Vietnamese-French Ngo Bao Chau who recently won the Fields award, the Nobel Prize for mathematics, as an example to support his viewpoint. Chau received welcome ceremony attended by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung last month, and had made a commitment to often return to help with teaching and research in Viet Nam.
Manh suggested regulations on providing favourable conditions to encourage talented people to work in the State sector.
Deputies also voiced concerns over the change in salaries, which would worsen the problem of the public sector's brain-drain.
"The shift from payment based on work category and seniority to one based solely on position would gravely discourage State officials," said Nguyen Minh Thuyet from northern Lang Son Province.
The State sector has already seen large numbers of people leaving State employment for the private sector due to higher pay and better rewards.
Thuyet's viewpoint was supported by southern An Giang Province deputy Mai Thi Anh Tuyet who suggested the draft should benefit State employees after they had been sent on secondment. "Otherwise, no State employee would want to be sent for a temporary assignment as they may lose their position and suffer a loss of earnings on their return," said Thuyet.
It was suggested yesterday that State employees who had accumulated academic qualifications should be made to delay their retirement and work for a longer number of years.
In the yesterday morning session, deputies also talked about the role of the leaders in the civil service. They voiced their concerns over the concentration of power given to managers, as many of them lacked training and were incapable of exercising the authority given to them. The concerns are especially true in terms of those running State companies and offices funded by the national budget, as bad management would exacerbate recruitment and retention policies.
In discussing the establishment of management councils for State-run companies, a majority of deputies agreed on the council's set-up, believing it would help improve inspection and control, while minimising the arbitrary abuse of power by managers.
Later yesterday, the NA discussed the amendment for the Law on Commercial Insurance, which was introduced in 2001.
The need for regulations related to the workings of Commercial Insurance Corporations was top of the discussions yesterday. They also considered the set-up of a fund to protect insured people's rights, regulations concerning insurance companies and insurance services across borders.
The amendments are being made based on the appraisal results of the decade since the introduction of the law which was approved at the NA's 10th Congress in 2000, and practical realities. The amendments are mostly to meet the increasing demands of the insurance market, especially following Viet Nam's joining of the World Trade Organisation in January 2007.
Deputies agreed with the amendment, which would adjust the law to bring Viet Nam into conformity with its WTO commitments relating to insurance, and help improve the Government's management in insurance activities, while helping the sustainable development of the insurance market. They hoped the law would encourage the domestic insurance market's development and allow the introduction of more types of insurance.
The amended law is expected to take effect in January next year. - VNS