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PM tells HCMC to remove irresponsible officials

The Saigon Times

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HCMC – Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, speaking at a meeting in HCMC today (April 16) between the central Government and HCMC leadership, requested the city to remove or change officials who show low or no responsibility.

Many investment projects, especially those in the real estate sector, have ground to a halt due partly to the inaction of multiple city officials who often ping-pong responsibility and pass on tough issues to ministries and other central agencies to seek guidance, instead of solving them themselves.

The meeting between the Government’s Standing Board and the Standing Board of the HCMC Party Committee, who was also attended by HCMC Party Secretary Nguyen Van Nen, Deputy PMs Le Minh Khai and Tran Hong Ha, and multiple ministers, spend a lot of time delving into the low morale of HCMC officials and government employees.

Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung said at the meeting that the two biggest issues HCMC needs to solve right now are market confidence and officials’ fear of responsibility. “If these issues remain unsolved, no breakthroughs could be made in the coming quarters (this year).”

In fact, last year alone, a staggering 584 documents were sent to the Ministry of Planning and Investment, asking for instructions, and the ministry returned 604 documents in response, said the minister. But worryingly, most of the 584 documents were about issues which HCMC departments and agencies have full authority to handle.

This is a clear indication that they pass on responsibilities to one another or to higher authorities and show a lack of coordination. “If they do as currently, we would have to tackle two written requests from the city each day while the ministry has tons of other work to do. This is really a huge challenge,” said Dung.

PM Pham Minh Chinh told HCMC to improve the morale of officials, form a legal framework that make officials feel safe and encourage officials who have the courage to speak up their mind and take responsibility for what they do.

HCMC Party Secretary Nguyen Van Nen said the city had transferred, dismissed or even disciplined weak officials. “HCMC has taken rigorous and stringent action but silently. However, we have seen our hands tied.”

However, the city will take tough measures against officials, even senior ones, who are late at work, irresponsible, fearful of difficult work and too prudent to do things, he said, adding the HCMC Party Committee would be sending out inspection teams to deal with the situation.

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