Increased transparency and accountability could prevent promotion of incompetent personnel, Tran Anh Tuan, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, tells Thoi bao Kinh te Viet Nam (Vietnam Economic Times).

* "Lobbying for positions" in government agencies has been a chronic disease in our country for many years. Has your ministry come up with measures to halt this bad practice?

Various measures have been put in place to solve the problem, including the issuance of a set of criteria for government executives, mid-level managers and front-line supervisors working in administrative agencies.

This is a step in the right direction for the Party and Government. We hope the policy will increase transparency and accountability in administrative work and help avoid the promotion of unqualified personnel to high ranking positions.

In my opinion, stronger criteria for government officials are imperative. We hope this will help us elevate talented and conscientious people to the right positions, serving the nation and taking our country to a higher plane. This is also a way to prevent abuse of power.

* Do you think these criteria will help achieve those objectives?

The criteria will serve as a foundation for government agencies to recruit new staff and promote new government executives, mid-level managers and front-line supervisors. Of course, these criteria must be quantitative. Once they are promoted, these leaders must regularly improve their professional expertise and be reliable colleagues.

In addition, there must be rights and obligations attached to each position. And another point which is also very important is that there must be more than one candidate for every vacant position. Such a practice will provide equal opportunities for competent people who want to devote their service to the homeland.

As we all know, senior officials and managers in government agencies and offices are role models for their staff. They are the flag carriers in their agencies and offices.

* People are still worried about the fact that the practice of removing leaders from positions due to their incompetence barely exists in Vietnam. How do you respond to that?

The Prime Minister's draft decision on promoting, removing or transferring government officials, including senior leaders, states very clearly what should happen given certain circumstances, particularly when an incompetent official wants to resign or something bad happened in the office under their direct management or leadership. That decision will be issued soon.

* How can we objectively and fairly assess cadres and civil servants?

In the past, we used to assess senior officials by asking their subordinates and colleagues to vote on their leaders. Such a practice is not fair to officials who are frank and straightforward, as they always receive the least votes.

The 2008 Law on Cadres and Civil Servants stated clearly that "senior officials assess their juniors and the one who assigns the job to other people is the one to assess the implementer's performance".

However, due to various reasons, the law has not been strictly implemented. That's why on December 2, the Ministry of Home Affairs sent an official letter to ministries, sectors and localities guiding them on how to evaluate the performance of officials and civil servants in 2013.

A big change this year is that the assessment must follow the principle "the big boss evaluates his subordinates" while the big boss is subject to evaluation by his or her direct boss on the accomplishment of the duties assigned to their office or agency as well as the working environment.-VNA