Provincial Governance and Public Administration Performance Index finds most citizens feel public services are in decline.
Five out of six dimensions in the 2015 Provincial Governance and Public Administration Performance Index (PAPI) released on April 12 in Hanoi headed downwards compared to the 2014 report.
Of the six dimensions, the transparency index saw the most substantial decline, of over 7 per cent. Corruption was also down, by 3 per cent, with respondents to the Index expressing greater concern about corruption in the public sector and in public service delivery as well as corruption and nepotism in public sector employment.
Respondents are also less confident about the government’s willingness to control corruption, with just 37 per cent saying that their local government is serious about fighting the vice.
Moreover, there was a spike in bribes paid for land use rights certificates. The 2015 PAPI report found that 44 per cent of respondents paid bribes to obtain a land use rights certificates, compared to 24 per cent in 2014.
The third and fourth dimensions - participation at local levels and vertical accountability - also fell. Village elections, for example, were said to not be competitive as there is often only one candidate who was suggested by local authorities.
As part of vertical accountability, interaction between citizens and local authorities has been irregular over the past five years despite there being more citizens contacting their village head, according to the PAPI report.
Public administrative procedures also followed the downwards trend. Of the four measures in public administrative services, the quality of services relating to land use rights certificates has scored the lowest result every year since 2011.
Some 22 per cent of respondents said they have to wait for over 100 days to receive land use rights paperwork, or 30 days more than stipulated by law.
Only public service delivery received a higher score in 2015, though modest. Respondents noted, however, that they still have concerns about the quality of services in public hospitals and public schools.
Issues of concern
The report showed that not only is poverty considered an important issue nationally but also important relatively evenly in all provinces.
Only in the Red River Delta was it not the top issue. Furthermore, and perhaps not surprisingly, it was extremely important in the rural, mountainous regions of the northwest and the central highlands.
In rural areas, poverty and roads are much more important, while education and public services are more important in urban areas, the report found.
“After five years of nationwide surveys, PAPI annual reports have become useful tools to reflect objective citizen feedback and perspectives on the performance of the public sector and local governments across all of Vietnam’s 63 cities and provinces. In particular, PAPI has provided a reliable source of information and data for policy discussions on institutional and public administration reforms at our Academy’s high-level leadership and executive training programs.”
Professor Ta Ngoc Tan, President of the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics