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Monday, 26 October 2020 08:48
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Better awareness of and more decisive actions in waste prevention and combat

(LLCT) - Waste, along with bureaucracy and corruption, has been generating a lot of pressure in society, seriously affecting the reputation of the Party, and threatening the survival of the regime. Over the past years, the Party and State have drastically led and directed the prevention and fight against corruption and waste and have achieved important initial results. However, compared to corruption, waste prevention and combat has not been taken seriously. The article contributes to clarifying the concept of waste, the causes of waste and the prevention and combat against waste of the Party and the State at present. 

Keyword:  waste prevention and combat.

1. Concepts and signs of waste

According to the Law on Thrift Practice and Waste Combat in 2013, “Waste means the inefficient management and use of capital, property, labor, working time and resources. For fields where the norms, criteria and regimes issued by competent state agencies are available, waste means the management and use of state budget, state capital, state property, labor and working time in the state sector and resources in excess of the norms, criteria and regimes or the set targets are not achieved”(1). Accordingly, waste in some areas can be named as: firstly, waste in promulgating, implementing norms, standards and regimes; secondly, waste in making, appraising, and approving cost estimates, settlement, management and use of state budget funds; thirdly, waste in purchasing and using vehicles and working facilities, equipment of agencies and organizations in the public sector; fourthly, waste in construction investment, management and use of working offices, official residences and public welfare works; fifthly, waste in management, exploitation and use of resources; sixthly, waste in organizational structure, management, employment and labor time in the state sector; seventhly, waste in managing and using state capital and assets at enterprises; and eighthly, waste in production, business and consumption activities of the people.

From the perspective of political science, waste is understood in a broader sense at a narrower scope in identifying the subject and emphasizing its harms and consequences. Accordingly, it can be understood that waste can be in the organization and agency when individuals, who have issuing rights in the political system, issue wrong decisions and organize implementations not in accordance with or contrary to the provisions of law, causing inefficient use of public assets or even loss of public assets, abetting corruption and negative actions.

Along with bureaucracy and corruption, high levels of uncontrollable waste will weaken the State, affect the Party’s prestige and threaten the survival of the regime.

With the responsibility of a single ruling Party, the leader of the State and society, the Communist Party of Vietnam determines that waste is one of the manifestations of moral degradation and lifestyle. According to the Resolution of the 4th Plenum of the Party Central Committee (12th tenure) on strengthening the building and regulating of the Party, preventing and reversing the decline in political ideology, morality and lifestyle and the manifestations of “self-evolution” and “self-transformation” internally, waste is “the decision or organization of the implementation that causes  financial loss, property loss, state budget loss, land, and resources, etc.; widespread public investment, inefficient or ineffective investment; procuring and using public properties in excess of regulations; discretionary and unscrupulous public spending, waste of human resources, and waste of working time”(2). For each agency or organization, the waste is reflected in spending funds on unnecessary contents or expenses in excess of the limits prescribed in meetings for things like inauguration events, celebrations, gifts, and festivals; building monumental agency offices out of excessive necessity; using their assets indiscriminately, irresponsibly or for personal purposes; buying and selling public assets not at market value; and civil servants, officials, workers’ leaving work early or working without efficiency.

At national level, waste is reflected in the indiscriminate, unreasonable use of the state budget exceeding the prescribed level; projects that are slow in progress; losses in works, projects, and public investment; and erroneous policies and guidelines not suitable to reality. It is also the misuse and mismanagement of money, property and resources (land, water, mineral resources, marine resources, continental shelf, airspace, and other natural resources)(3), exceeding the level of regulations, causing waste at a high level and long-lasting and especially serious consequences, causing annoyance in society.

Material waste is extremely diverse, manifesting in many forms, by many subjects and with different degrees. These kinds of wastes are easily identified and easily calculated in quantity and consequences such as stagnant capital investment, unprofitable investment or loss; buildings, offices, and facilities that are expensive but of ineffective, little or no use; using public vehicles and public property used indiscriminately, for personal purposes; and the organization of expensive festivals, weddings, and funerals while economic conditions are limited.

Waste of time is the unreasonable use and management of time. President Ho Chi Minh once pointed out: “There are meetings, which should last 1 day with preparations, that actually last 3 or 5 days just because the organizer has not prepared the agenda and the participants have not prepared questions as well as solutions”(4). Directives, decisions and regulations that are not carefully considered, resulting in not being implemented and being revoked, is also a waste of time for officials and people. Cadres, civil servants and employees in agencies and organizations who go to work late and leave work early or work ineffectively on the company’s time is also a form of waste.

Waste of labor is reflected in the unreasonable and ineffective use of human resources. This is a fairly common situation in many agencies and organizations, resulting in a bulky organizational structure, which not only causes congestion and stagnation in the performance of public duties but also wastes a large amount of state budget.

2. Causes and solutions to prevent and combat waste

The first reason is poor awareness and limited management skills. This is the objective cause of waste. Many competent organizations and individuals, due to their limited thinking and vision - which are not scientific, do not derive from objectivity, are subjective, willful, impatient, and lack democracy and bureaucracy – have issued inaccurate decisions which cannot be done or enforced, causing great loss of resources, both financial and human. For such wastes, it is difficult to identify the cause and to lay the blame at the leader’s door because in some cases, the management mechanism or collective leadership mechanism leads to the fact that rarely do organizations and individuals take responsibility for that consequence.

The second cause is the bureaucracy and wasteful habits of the subject causing waste. This is a subjective reason but not necessarily due to the motive of corruption and self-interest. Waste of this type is intentionally caused, bringing about damage to agencies and organizations, and it is difficult to recover wasted assets. Waste in this case usually appears in the following cases: organizing extraordinarily extravagant conferences, ceremonies, and events; guest expenses that are too high compared to the existing budget; and constructing large works such as cultural houses, monuments, headquarters and offices that are majestic, spacious, and comfortable but not in use, or not fully used, leading to abandonment, closure or misused purposes. The situation of “racing” the new rural criteria causes “public debt” for the commune, repairing and replacing assets and equipment even though the old ones are in good use, or organizing weddings and funerals far beyond the organizations’ financial capacity are also examples of bureaucratic waste.

 The third reason is group interests, individualism, and corruption. This is a subjective cause responsible for the most serious waste, which comes from the use of positions, powers, and corruption in the form of facilitating the waste and loss of public resources to get benefits. In this case, waste has a close relationship with corruption and it is a direct cause of the state budget deficit, the weakening of development resources, and the threatening of socio-political stability.

That corruption develops inevitably leads to waste and great losses. Wastes and losses that are not prevented in a timely manner are fertile grounds for corruption development.

Many corruption cases have been found to be “waste in disguise”, such as an undoubtedly inefficient investment decision, causing great waste because such decisions bring material benefits to the organization or decision maker; overbudget expenditures for travel, receptions and conferences which are later divided; and instruction for the replacement of old properties with new ones, destroying good works to be rebuilt. Waste of this type is intentionally caused, organized, planned and actually caused by corruption.

In order to prevent and combat waste, the Party and the State have issued many guidelines and measures on the subject of waste prevention and combat as a whole political system. The Communist Party of Vietnam determines: “The Party leads closely in the prevention and fight against corruption and waste; promotes the synergy of both the political system and the entire population; and synchronously implements political, ideological, administrative, economic and criminal measures”(5).

The goal of waste prevention and combat is to prevent and combat waste in order to maximize resources for the stable and sustainable development of the country.

The content of waste prevention and combat is all activities of preventing, controlling and handling waste acts, divided into the categories “prevention” and “combat”.

Firstly, waste prevention

There are 3 levels of waste prevention:  Firstly, waste behaviors are prevented  from happening; secondly, waste manifestations are identified and discovered from the time when no waste acts appear and immediately upon discovery such manifestations are handled by being delayed or prevented from appearing; thirdly, the consequences of waste are prevented when new waste emerges, avoiding possible negative consequences.

The waste prevention has a lot of contents: formulating the rules, regulations, mechanisms and sanctions on closely operating fields; propagandizing and mobilizing organizations, officials, Party members and the public, raising awareness and orienting acts of thrift practice and waste combat, etc. Waste prevention includes the practice of thrift. The key solution to waste prevention is to regularly practice industry, thrift, honesty, righteousness, public spirit and selflessness.

Secondly, waste combat

Waste combat is the act of detecting, restraining and handling wasteful acts. Waste detection is hard work, but waste handling is more difficult because it involves many people, many agencies and units and many fields.

Between waste “prevention” and “combat,” it is necessary to identify that “prevention is better than cure,” so waste prevention is necessary and more important than letting waste happen and dealing with and overcoming consequences. “Prevention” is also the preparation to respond in advance so as not to be passive in the bad situations that may occur and to avoid the arising negativity which could affect the resources of the country.

The problem of prevention and combat of waste has long become an inevitable trend, a matter of normality of every nation. Waste prevention and combat is a necessary and urgent task, especially in the current period. According to President Ho Chi Minh, prevention and combat of waste, along with corruption and bureaucracy, is as important and necessary as fighting against an enemy in the front – it is “the enemy is inside our hearts,” “the internal invaders,” “the enemy of the people, the army and the Government; this type of enemy is” quite dangerous, because it does not carry swords and guns, but it is in our organizations, there to ruin our work(6).

He also made it clear that committing waste is guilty, it is even more dangerous than corruption: “Some people say that committing corruption is guilty, while committing waste is not guilty. In fact, it is different, but the result is still the waste of the public, the government and the people. Corruption is harmful, but waste is sometimes more harmful. It is so common – waste of wealth, time, and forces of the people and the Government”(7).

Waste prevention and combat has been drastically implemented by the Party and State with some initial positive changes made. However, the waste situation is still serious. Our Party determines that “Waste in state budget spending and social consumption is still serious”(8) and “the prevention of corruption and waste have not met the requirements set out. Bureaucracy, corruption, and waste are still serious, with sophisticated and complicated manifestations, which have not been prevented, repelled, causing social annoyance”(9).

Waste prevention and combat measures of the Party and State are shown in Conclusion (No. 21-KL/TW) of the 5th Plenum (11th tenure) on the continuation of the implementation of the Resolution of the 4th Plenum of the Party Central Committee (10th tenure) on strengthening the Party’s leadership in the fight against corruption and waste: (1) Enhance the role and responsibilities of the Party Committees, party organizations, authorities, heads of agencies, and organizations and units in preventing and combating corruption and waste; (2) Continue to improve institutions of socio-economic management to prevent and combat corruption and waste; (3) Continue to improve and strictly implement mechanisms and policies on organization and personnel to prevent and combat corruption and waste; (4) Continue to improve institutions and strengthen inspection, audits, investigation, prosecution, and trial to improve the effectiveness of corruption and waste combat; (5) Strengthen the supervisory role of elected bodies and people in corruption and waste prevention and combat; and (6) Renovate and improve the capacity of leading, directing and standing agencies and advisory organizations on the prevention of corruption.

In order to effectively prevent and combat waste, it is necessary to formulate and implement strong enough sanctions, publicize regulations and strictly handle them. The detection of waste must be concurrent with the determination of the cause of the waste, as well as the responsibility of individuals or collectives to issue and enforce decisions. With right awareness of the harm and consequences of the current waste situation and the determination to prevent and combat waste of the entire political system, the waste prevention and combat will achieve many positive results in the coming time.



(1) National Assembly of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (2013), Law No: 44/2013 / QH13 on thrift practice and waste combat.

(2) CPV: Documents of the 4th Plenum of the 12th Central Committee, Central Office of the Party, Hanoi, 2016.

(3) National Assembly of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (2013), Law No: 44/2013 / QH13 on thrift practice and waste combat.

(4), (6), (7) Ho Chi Minh: Complete works, vol.7, Truth-National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2011, pp.356-357, 357, 345.

(5) Central Executive Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam, term X (2006), Resolution No.04-NQ/TW, August 21, 2006 on strengthening the Party’s leadership in the prevention and combat against corruption and waste.

(8) CPV: Documents of the 10th National Congress, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2006, p.62.

(9) CPV: Documents of the 11th National Congress, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2011, p.172

MA. Nguyen Thi Thuy Linh

Institute of Politics Region I

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