Stronger efforts required to tackle cumbersome procedures hinh anh 1Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (centre) speaks at the meeting (Photo: VNA)

Ministries and sectors have to make drastic moves to streamline administrative procedures and apply information technology to help Vietnam’s business climate indexes reach or surpass ASEAN national averages of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc made the request at a meeting of the Government’s Steering Committee for Administrative Reform in Hanoi on August 5.

Participants reviewed that in the first half of 2015, the Government, ministries and sectors simplified 4,431 of the 4,723 administrative procedures, accounting for 93.8 percent.

While stepping up the implementation of the ASEAN single-window mechanism, the Ministry of Finance also coordinated with the Ministry of Transport to officially carry out the national single-window mechanism at five international seaports in Hai Phong city, Quang Ninh province, Da Nang city, Ho Chi Minh City and Ba Ria – Vung Tau province.

The national mechanism was also deployed in about 50 percent of district-level localities nationwide. Information technology was widely applied in handling procedures and the Ministry of Industry and Trade piloted the online granting of certificates of origin.

The General Department of Vietnam Customs also expanded the application of the national mechanism. As a result, the time it took businesses to pay taxes in the first six months was cut by over 50 hours from 167 hours down to below 117 hours per year, surpassing the Government target of 121.5 hours.

At the meeting, the Steering Committee pointed out that some agencies lack appropriate interest levels in administrative reform. Meanwhile, many officials and civil servants are scared of being held accountable, undermining their creativity and initiative.

Deputy PM Phuc, who is also Head of the committee, ordered ministries, sectors and localities to raise the sense of responsibility of the heads of all-level State administrative agencies for administrative reform, enhance inspections and strictly deal with officials and civil servants who create obstacles for citizens and businesses while performing duties.

Administrative procedures must be standardised and popularised while procedure handling outcomes need to be published online, he added.-VNA