As economy grows, Vietnam gripes

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Legislators have called for a systematic overhaul of the civil service system following a spike in the number of public complaints registered in the last year.

"Spending on government oversight and civil service salaries has increased; why didn't this translate to effective work, especially in resolving complaints?" asked Phung Quoc Hien, chairman of the National Assembly (NA)'s Finance and Budget Committee, during a legislative session held on September 26.

"I think because of incompetent management, the civil servants have failed to meet these demands."

Effective October 11, the Office of the Government Inspectorate will no longer consider complaints and allegations signed by more than one petitioner or submitted to more than one office, the Tien Phong newspaper reported.

Evidently, government inspectors are being overrun with complaints.

According to a report presented by the central government at the NA meeting, government offices logged a total of 157,779 complaints and allegations of official wrongdoing from August 15, 2009 to August 15, 2010. The figure represents a 29.8 percent rise over the total grievances heard during the previous year.

Most of the complaints pertained to land disputes and most of the grievances targeted government officials. According to the report, the rate of justified complaints remains high.

Deputy Le Quang Binh, chairman of the NA's National Defense and Security Committee, appealed to common sense in the face of the disquieting figure.

"The fact that 70 percent of the complaints are about land means that there are problems with our land policy," he said. "The fact that 94 percent of the charges of official misconduct have been made against administrative officials means we have to reinforce this sector."

Ksor Phuoc, chairman of the NA's Ethnic Minorities Committee, also pressed on the necessity of improving the quality of the civil servant taskforce and slammed the body's irresponsibility, bureaucracy and corruption.

Early this month, John Hendra, the United Nations' Resident Coordinator in Vietnam, lauded Vietnam's impressive achievements in building up a comprehensive and legal framework and reforming its justice sector.

However, at the same time, Hendra released findings which found that poor and disenfranchised members of Vietnamese society have remained unaware of their legal rights.

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