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Wednesday, 13 April 2016 10:21
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Significant improvements in provincial governance performance - Result from 2015 PAPI nationwide survey

(LLCT) - The latest results from the nationwide survey on Vietnam Provincial Governance and Public Administration Performance Index (PAPI)* 2015 have indicated declines at the national level in five out of the six fields measured, as was reported at the launching ceremony of PAPI 2015 in Hanoi on April 12.

The PAPI survey has been conducted annually in all provinces and cities across the country since 2011. In 2015, almost 14,000 randomly selected citizens nationwide were interviewed.

Out of the six dimensions, the most substantial drop was in the transparency index, which fell by more than 7%. This decline in partly because of less public awareness of local lists of poor household and less confidence in the accuracy of the information provided. For example, almost half (46%) of those surveyed believe that truly poor household are not included in the lists. In 2015, these was also less publicity about local land-use plans and land price frames, and fewer opportunities for citizens for comment on these plans.

Speaking at the launching ceremony, Pratibha Mehta, UN Resident Coordinator, said: “With  the National Assembly and People’s Council election taking place next month, the report provides an effective tool for the new administration to assess governance and public administration reforms over the last five years and benchmark future performance.”

The corruption dimension also witnessed a drop, decreasing by 3% in 2015. Respondents express more concern about corruption in the public sector and in public service delivery and are more worried about corruption and nepotism in public sector employment. In addition, citizens are less confident about the government’s willingness to control corruption, with only 37% saying that their local government is serious about fighting corruption.

Furthermore, compared to 2014 there has been a noticeable spike in bribes paid for land use rights certificates. The 2015 PAPI Report finds that the estimated number of respondents who paid bribes to get a land use certificate increased to more than 44% in 2015, up from 24% in 2014.

There were also significant decline in the participation at local level and vertical accountability dimensions. In terms of village elections, for example, overall these do not seem to be competitive. In many village there are not two or more candidates to choose between and local authorities often suggest candidates. As part of vertical accountability, the interaction between citizens and local authorities is measured. Over the past five years, this interaction has been irregular. While slightly more citizens in 2015 contacted their village head (20%) or commune official (14%), the effectiveness of this interaction is lower than in previous years.

The public administrative procedures dimension also saw a slight decrease. Of the four public administrative services measured, the quality of services related to land use rights certificates has scored the lowest every year since 2011. More than 22% of those surveyed, for instance, said they had to wait for more than 100 days to get the land use rights paperwork the requested, rather than the 30 days mandated by law.

Only the public service delivery dimension showed an increase, albeit modestly. Yet respondents are still concerned about the quality of district hospitals and are also unhappy with the quality of public primary education.

The 2015 PAPI survey featured a new question on what respondents believes are the three most important issues facing the country. Poverty and hunger was identified as the most important issue, with 18% saying this is the most pressing concern. Jobs and employment, roads, corruption and law and order were also identified as important issues.

The survey also looked at citizens’ opportunities for political participation. In terms of participation in elections, the survey show that gender, ethnicity, mass organization membership and education all influence voter participation. Women, ethnic minorities, those who are less educated and those who are not members of mass organization are in general less likely to vote.

In terms of participation in consultation on proposed legislation, individual factors determine who participate in these. Party membership is the most important factor, while mass organization membership and education levels also matter to some extent. Party members with a high school degree or more have a 35% chance of being asked to contribute to a law, while party member without a degree have only an 18% chance. On the other hand, respondents not affiliated with the party or a mass organization and with no degree have a less than 1% probability of taking part in legislative consultations.

Finally, the 2015 PAPI Report looks at provincial performance from 2011-2015 across the six dimensions. Seven provinces have substantially improved their performance scores over the last five years, while 13 provinces have witnessed significant drops. Five provinces (Nam Dinh, Ha Tinh, Quang Tri, Da Nang and Long An) have been in the top performing group in overall provincial performance every year since 2011.

In general, better performing provinces are found in the north-eastern, central and south-eastern regions. The poorest performing ones are along the northern border area and in the south-central and Central Highland regions. This pattern has been consistent since 2011.

“We hope the nation-wide survey result help the 2016-2021 administration benchmark future performance”, said Dr. Dang Ngoc Dinh, Director of the Centre for Community Support and Development Studies (CECODES).


*The Provincial Governance and Public Administration Performance Index (PAPI) is a policy monitoring tool that reflect citizen experience with central to local governments in performing their governance, public administration and public service delivery functions. PAPI measures six dimensions: Participation at local levels, transparency, vertical accountability, control of corruption, public administrative procedures and public service delivery.

PAPI is the collaboration between the Centre for Community Support and Development Studies (CECODES), the Centre for Research and Training of the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF-CRT) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The PAPI initiative has been co-financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Co-operation (SDC) and UNDP since 2011.


Le Bao Ngoc

Political theory Journal

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