UNDP helps Ho Chi Minh further upgrade its administration

15 Jan 2003

Ho Chi Minh City - In signing a new project phase, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) today pledged $1.3 million to help Ho Chi Minh City further progress in its public administration reform (PAR).

The project's main objective is to support HCM City, in line with the National PAR Master Programme, to successfully implement the City's five-year PAR Programme (2001-2005). The first phase of this project, which took place in HCM City from 1999 to 2002, was hailed as "the most successful among the PAR projects in Viet Nam".

"We are very pleased to see that HCM City has made such clear progress on reforming and upgrading the city's oversight and administration capacities and public service delivery which has had a direct positive impact on the lives of local residents" said Ms. Kanni Wignaraja, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative. "The success of the city's economic and social reform agendas will depend very much on progress made in PAR."

Contributing more than 30% of Viet Namÿs GDP, the nation's economic powerhouse has been formally pursuing administrative reform for several years and has won international recognition for this. Last year, HCMC District 1 became the first administrative agency in the country ever awarded the ISO 9002 quality management rating.

To further enhance transparency, HCMC is making more accessible and efficient key administrative procedures of government, including fee structure and license handling time. More than half of the 7,300 normative documents promulgated by the City Government have been cut. The number of specialised agencies has been reduced from 25 in 1994 to 19. And the number of people working at district level has dropped from an average of 140 to 93 per district. One-stamp offices now operate and surveys suggest that staff are better trained with higher morale and provide better service to their clients.

The projectÿs results in its first phase have demonstrated that streamlined decision-making and standardised explicit rules and regulations about the way procedures are applied also help eliminate time lags and unnecessary red tape, and decreases the possibility of corruption. Ms. Wignaraja noted that the implementation of PAR should be further decentralised, so that the local level can also take ownership of important aspects of the process. The next phase aims at making HCM City a laboratory for local PAR initiatives, which would be replicated in other districts of the City as well as other localities. "The biggest challenges lie ahead" said Ms Wignaraja, "public administration reform can only be successful if it fully takes on board the emerging economic and social challenges and trends facing Viet Nam today, such as the rapidly emerging private sector and its relationship to both government services and state enterprise reform. UNDP looks forward to working closely with the City government to address these issues."

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