Transparent Town project in Vietnam
Transparent Town project in Vietnam has been implemented through collaboration between Towards Transparency (TT) and Ninh Thuan Provincial People’s Committee (PPC) since 2014.
How did the project begin?
In the TI Vietnam Programme (2013 – 2015), Towards Transparency (TT) aims to promote concrete anti-corruption practice at the local level.
During the 2012 Anti-Corruption Dialogue round-table, TT introduced the Transparent Town initiative in Martin, Slovakia to development partners, central and local government officials.
On this occasion, TT had opportunity to have high-level interaction with representatives of Ninh Thuan province who showed high interest and willingness to implement the initiative in Ninh Thuan.
Later on, being determined to strengthen transparency, Ninh Thuan PPC has agreed to establish a partnership with TT for the implementation of a pilot transparent town project in the province.
|The Transparent Town Initiative of Martin, Slovakia|
Awarded the UN Public Service Award in 2011, the Transparent Town initiative of Martin, Slovakia is an inspiring example of improving transparency and accountability at the local level. This includes:
· Implementation of concrete measures to increase transparency and minimise corruption risks throughout the town administration.
· Significant savings of public finances through the use of electronic auctions, resulting in increasing administrative effectiveness.
· Active public monitoring of the effectiveness of local governance through web-portals and direct engagement with town representatives.
· Greater transparency and increased investor interest in Martin.
How is the initiative relevant to Vietnam?
In the context of Vietnam’s decentralisation process and its anti-corruption strategy, this example may serve as inspiration for local solutions to increase transparency and accountability.
Such efforts can make a significant contribution to building transparent, accountable and efficient local government structures.
Partnership between Towards Transparency (TT) and Ninh Thuan Provincial People’s Committee
A series of discussions have taken place to prepare the pilot of the Transparent Town project in Ninh Thuan on the basis of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between TT and Ninh Thuan Provincial People’s Committee (PPC).
As part of this MoU, the Ninh Thuan Economic Development Office (EDO) has also been assigned to assist PPC and support TT during project implementation. EDO was established in 2012 by Ninh Thuan PPC to be the provincial focal point for:
- Mobilizing and attracting investment.
- Receiving and supporting new and existing businesses with the submission of dossiers of investment projects through the “one-stop shop” mechanism.
The Transparent Town project in Ninh Thuan
The project will consist of the two following phases:
- Phase 1: Transparency assessment in five policy areas; identification of specific recommendations and solutions to enhance transparency in the assessed policy areas.
- Phase 2: Selection and implementation of a number of recommendations and solutions from Phase 1.
Phase 1: Transparency assessment in five policy areas
In July 2014, the Ninh Thuan PPC decided to assess transparency in five policy areas, including:
- Management and use of public assets, including lease, sale and management of state-owned premises, working equipment and means.
- Recruitment of civil servants (cong chuc).
- Policies to manage and support enterprises, esp. those related to the indicators in the Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI), including policies on access to land, access to credit and procurement of public assets.
- Reform of administrative procedures related to enterprises, including: investment, construction and land.
- Land use:
- Formulation of master plans and specific plans, construction planning.
- Resolution of land-related complaints and denunciations.
Assessment approach which was developed and proposed by TT and approved by Ninh Thuan PCC has the following focus:
Transparency: The project evaluated transparency in selected policy areas through the policy, legal and regulatory framework; as well as the adoption, implementation in practice. The assessment will not cover the overall management or other policy areas.
Documented information: The assessment will focus on information documented in print or electronic format or presented/stored online. It will also be based on information collected through in-depth interviews, group discussions and meetings with relevant stakeholders.
The provincial level: The assessment will focus on the provincial level. It will not assess the regulations and the assurance of transparency at district and commune levels.
Key stakeholder engagement: The assessment will pay significant attention to
- Connecting and balancing the interests of key stakeholders.
- Engaging representatives of different provincial departments / agencies.
Assessment output and outcome
The Assessment Team comprised of eight members who specialise in governance, public administration, land and business conducted the assessment in October, 2014.
The report has revealed key findings on strengths and gaps for improvement in:
- Regulations and policies related to transparency issued by the PPC and its departments.
- Implementation, insurance and enhancement of transparency in the assessed policy areas in reality.
The assessment team also provides practical recommendations and solutions to promote the strengths and narrow the gaps.
During the assessment process, a number of core staff from different department of the province have been actively involved and supported the team. They themselves therefore have been better equipped with knowledge on transparency and the importance of transparency in governance.
Based on the recommendations and solutions proposed in the assessment, TT in cooperation with Ninh Thuan PPC, Department of Planning and Investment of Ninh Thuan and EDO has determined six practical solutions to implement in the period 2016-2017, as follows:
- Strengthening transparency in state management.
- Increasing information transparency in compliance with the current legal framework.
- Strengthening the role of EDO as inter-agency one-stop shop on administrative procedures related to investment, construction and land.
- Improving management and support policies for businesses.
- Reforming the administrative procedures related to business.
- Enhancing transparency and publicity in the management (master and specific plannings) of land use; construction planning and settlement of complaints and denunciations on land.
Phase 2: The project “Increasing transparency for a more effective business and investment environment in Ninh Thuan province.”
This project include a number of specific activities, as follows:
- Develop administrative procedures on investment and business.
- Review and improve Ninh Thuan’s regulatory framework to strengthen EDO’s function and role as the information hub on administrative procedures and support policies.
- Develop a plan to strengthen the capacity of human resources who are directly involved in the administrative procedures and support policies for investors and businesses.
- Implement capacity buidling for provincial staff.
- Develop a guidance booklet on Ninh Thuan’s investment procedures and support policies for investors and businesses.
- Standardize processes and channels for requesting and providing information via EDO.
- Conduct a feasibility study on developing an online information database on investment, construction and land.
- Develop an online information database on investment, construction and land (subject to results of the feasibility study).