Annual survey says bribery on the rise in Vietnam's public sector

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Bribery within Vietnam's public sector remained widespread and even continued to increase in 2012, according to results of a national survey released Tuesday.

The second annual Vietnam Provincial Governance and Public Administration Performance Index (PAPI) conducted by the Center for Community Support and Development Studies (CECODES), the Vietnam Fatherland Front and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) represents "the largest and most robust sociological survey of its kind in Vietnam," said CECODES director Dang Ngoc Dinh in a press release.

A total of 44 percent of 13,747 respondents to the survey nationwide agreed that it was necessary to pay bribes in order to obtain public sector jobs, up from 29 percent from 2011.

Citizens agreed that bribery were required to access medical care and secure land-use rights increased 11 percentage points, up to 42 percent and 32 percent respectively compared to 2011, results of the survey showed.

The percentage of surveyed citizens who agreed that bribes were necessary to ensure that their children received adequate attention in school rose to 25 percent in 2012, up from 17 percent in 2011.

The survey also showed that more citizens believed that state officials tend to use public funds for personal gain, with the year-on-year figure up from 13 percent in 2011 to 23 percent in 2012.  

Less than 3 percent of respondents did report having experienced improved local governance in four of six categories examined in the PAPI survey control of corruption; transparency; delivery of public services including health care and education; and vertical accountability defined as "citizen interactions with local authorities" and other issues related to local level accountability, said the report.

The survey also showed that much corruption goes unreported because citizens either do not believe in the validity of accusation procedures, or they are perceived as too costly.

Furthermore, many citizens simply accept that a certain level of bribery is required to avoid burdensome procedures or to gain better access to public services.

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