Building a contingent of transparent and righteous cadres, civil servants and public employees in management and use of public property in association with the fight against “rent-seeking groups” in Viet Nam today
Communist Review - Public assets are collectively owned by the entire people and managed by the State on their behalf. They play a particularly important role in the development of every country. However, these assets are easily embezzled by corrupt officials. Therefore, it is of great importance to build a contingent of cadres, civil servants and public employees of transparency and integrity in the management and use of public assets, making a significant contribution to the fight against “rent-seeking groups” in Viet Nam these days.
Ho Chi Minh’s thought and the Party’s viewpoints and guidelines on building a contingent of cadres, civil servants and public employees of transparency and integrity, saying no to “rent-seeking groups” in management and use of public property
During his lifetime, President Ho Chi Minh always paid special attention to building a contingent of cadres, civil servants and public employees. He regarded it as the most crucial task in building the Party and the State administration. The system of views in Uncle Ho’s thought on personnel work and building a contingent of cadres is a seamless blend of Marxist-Leninist theory and the reality of the Vietnamese revolution, becoming the theoretical and practical foundation for the Party to lead and direct personnel work, meeting the requirements set out in each previous revolutionary period and the current national reform and development.
Ho Chi Minh’s thought on building a contingent of cadres, civil servants and public employees is reflected in the following facets:
Firstly, according to Ho Chi Minh’s thought, revolutionary cadres must have qualities, ethics, political steadfastness and qualifications, managerial and professional competence. Accordingly, he particularly underscored quality and morality as “without morality, no matter how talented you are, you can’t lead the people”(1). He pointed out: “In the past, morality meant loyalty to the King and filial duty to parents. In modern society, it must also be renewed, which means being loyal to the country and dedicated to the whole people, to the compatriots”(2).
Secondly, President Ho Chi Minh’s thought on personnel work has become a guiding principle for the Communist Party of Viet Nam (CPV) in party building work in each revolutionary stage and period. He stressed: “Cadres are the root of all work”(3). Hence, they must be correctly evaluated, comprehensively trained and nurtured, assigned to appropriate positions; negativity in personnel work must be resolutely repelled.
Having imbibed Ho Chi Minh’s thought and his instructions, the CPV has always upheld the task of building a contingent of cadres, civil servants and public employees on revolutionary morality, attaching immense significance to educating and training cadres and party members to practice thrift and prevent wastefulness. Over the past 35 years of innovating the nation, the Party has issued a number of resolutions on personnel work(4). The Resolution of the 13th Party Congress has set out a number of primary tasks and measures to implement the content of Party building on cadres.
Public assets are substantial material resources, which is absolutely vital to national growth. President Ho Chi Minh affirmed: “Public property is the foundation and the capital to revitalize and build the economy, to enrich the people, strengthen the country, to improve the people’s living standards”(5). Therefore, cadres, civil servants and public employees need to promote their responsibilities in the management and use of public property. Ho Chi Minh’s thought, the Party’s viewpoints on building a contingent of cadres and regulations on cadres’ and civil servants’ morality in public service activities; public employees’ professional ethics satisfying the requirements of “transparency”, “integrity”, saying no to “rent-seeking groups” in the management of public assets are interpreted in several aspects:
Firstly, transparency, integrity, and saying no to “rent-seeking groups” are standard qualities and ethics in public affairs and occupational activities of cadres, civil servants and public employees. These are the top requirements and standards for cadres, civil servants and public employees who have authority and responsibility in the management and use of public property.
Secondly, transparency, integrity, saying no to “rent-seeking groups” demonstrate the standard consistency between the awareness and behavior of cadres, civil servants, public employees in general and of the ones with authority and responsibility in the management and use of public assets in particular.
Thirdly, being transparent and saying no to “rent-seeking groups” are the concretization of integrity and rectitude according to Ho Chi Minh’s thought. In the work named New Life, President Ho Chi Minh mentioned the four virtues of revolutionary cadres, in which he emphasized: “Integrity - People in public offices, from villages to the central government, are easy to make a fortune, by either misappropriating government money or exploiting the people. When their wrongdoing is exposed, they lose their honor, and are not entitled to the illicit property. Thus, white-collar workers must take the word integrity as the leading character. Rectitude – as a public worker, we must be impartial and kind-hearted, must not confiscate public property for personal use, must not task relatives to do public work, must be fair and righteous, avoiding being influenced by personal favors, or personal animosity. If we have the right to use people, we must select talented individuals who can work well, must not appoint people to positions just because of their relation to us, must not victimize those who are more talented than us, must be loyal to the government, to the countrymen, must not be conceited as we are a revolutionary official” (6).
Continuing to build, train and foster a contingent of cadres, civil servants and public employees in the management and use of public assets, matching the requirements of the fight against “rent-seeking groups” in Viet Nam nowadays
Firstly, reviewing, amending and supplementing legal provisions on management and use of public assets in order to gradually realize the goal of “no opportunities for corruption”, prevent and tackle “rent-seeking groups” effectively. In that sense, the legal regulations concerning the management, exploitation and use of certain types of infrastructure assets, such as infrastructure for clean water supply, urban areas, commerce, information, health care, sports, tourism, culture... should be scrutinized by line ministries.
Ministries, ministerial-level agencies and other central agencies need to review current legal documents related to the specialized management on exploitation and use of public assets under their management scope. Establishing a comprehensive, synchronous and uniform legal framework in the management, exploitation and use of public property in order to achieve the goal of “no opportunities for corruption”, to fight against and prevent the signs of “rent-seeking groups” efficiently. Meanwhile, in the coming time, studying and proposing additional regulations on standards for cadres, civil servants and public employees who are authorized to manage and use public assets in the spirit of considering “transparence”, “integrity”, saying no to “rent-seeking groups” the leading qualities and ethical standards.
Secondly, renewing and diversifying forms and methods of dissemination to further raise the awareness of cadres, civil servants and public employees in general in practicing thrift, combating wastefulness and negativity. Thereby, triggering radical shifts in the awareness and behavior of cadres, civil servants and public employees in the management and use of public property. Ensuring that there is no violation of regulations on prohibited acts in the management and use of public property. Diversifying forms of dissemination, like word of mouth; spreading regulations on practicing thrift, combating extravagance, managing and using public assets through radio, television and printed newspaper systems; through the compilation and distribution of documents and books; through the organization of contests to learn about the law on practicing thrift, fighting against wastefulness, managing, using public property; through legal consultation and aid; through cultural and artistic activities; through the settlement and handling of violations; through building law bookcases in agencies, organizations and non-business units; through the activities of law clubs. As a result, bringing about a substantive change in the awareness and actions of cadres, civil servants, public employees in general and of the ones in charge of the management and use of public property in particular.
Thirdly, innovating and heightening the quality of assessment, taking the actual management results, the efficiency of using public assets as a measure and criterion for evaluating cadres, civil servants and employees that have authority and responsibilities to manage and use public property. The evaluation of cadres in general plays an important role, which is a decisive opening stage in personnel work. Accurate assessment will act as a decent basis for planning, training, fostering, rotating, promoting, and appointing cadres. The successful implementation of cadre policy helps boost the strengths of cadres, civil servants and public employees and minimize their weaknesses.
Enhancing the capability of agencies and organizations providing consultation about personnel work, improving the quality of cadres in charge of personnel work, especially devising a method for measuring and evaluating cadres in a transparent continuous and multi-faceted way, utilizing actual management results and the efficiency of using public assets as a measure and standard for evaluation. Thereby, creating a qualitative transformation in the contingent of cadres, civil servants and public employees in the management of public assets.
Fourthly, strictly adhering to the principles of management and use of public assets in association with inspection, examination and auditing, and strictly handling violations of cadres, civil servants and public employees who are responsible for managing and using public assets. The 2017 Law on Management and Use of Public Property stipulates the principles of management and use of public property; However, in recent times, violations reveal that various agencies, organizations, units and individuals do not conform to the principles in the management and use of public property with different manifestations, such as not keeping detailed accounts in kind and value; providing information inconsistent with the properties and characteristics of public assets; using property for the wrong purpose, prodigally, inefficiently; falling short of publicity, transparency, lawfulness; relaxing supervision, inspection, examination and auditing. Therefore, in the upcoming time, in order to ensure the effective management and use of public assets, and to fight against “rent-seeking groups” effectively, on the one hand, cadres, civil servants and public employees in authority need to strictly observe the principles in the management and use of public property; on the other hand, strengthen inspection, examination, audit, and resolutely, promptly, strictly handle acts of corruption with signs such as “rent-seeking groups”, “special-interest groups”.
Fifthly, strengthening the leadership role of the Party in stepping up the fight against corruption. The 13th Party Congress has issued numerous policies and drastic solutions to countering corruption and negativity: “Synchronously and effectively launching the legal provisions on anti-corruption. Improving the efficiency of the recovery of assets lost in corruption in compliance with the law. Drastically, strictly and effectively combating corruption” (7).
The Party’s viewpoints and policies in the 13th National Congress have made new progress in anti-corruption, with plenty of measures, such as perfecting laws and policies, declaring assets and income, persistently and resolutely improving the effectiveness of corruption combat, especially emphasizing the issue of corruption prevention: “Urgently formulating a mechanism to prevent and control corruption. Strictly abiding by the legal provisions on thrift practice and anti-waste. Continuing to closely and effectively implement the declaration of assets and income of cadres, civil servants and public employees, especially leaders at all levels” (8). Promoting the synergy of socio-political organizations, social organizations, press agencies, businesses and the people to participate in the fight against corruption. The Party has stressed that anti-corruption is the cause of the entire people: “strengthening the role, promoting the proactivity and initiative and coordination of the Fatherland Front, socio-political organizations, the people, businesses, and press agencies in detecting, preventing and combating corruption, practicing thrift, and restraining wastefulness”(9). In addition to enhancing the leadership role of the Party in intensifying anti-corruption, it is necessary to complete the law on anti-corruption. Continuously perfecting the mechanism for controlling state power in order to tackle corruption, “special-interest groups” in the management and use of public assets; establishing specialized anti-corruption agencies at all levels to investigate and handle cases of corruption with different manifestations, including “rent-seeking groups” and “special-interest groups”.
Sixthly, bringing into play the leadership and direction of party committees at the grassroots, especially the heads, and the synergy of socio-political organizations of agencies, organizations and units in the management and use of public property. The party committee at the grassroots is the core of political leadership, which is key to determining the successful implementation of all guidelines of the Party, policies and laws of the State. Hence, in order to increase the leadership role of party committees at the grassroots, there is a need to drastically, regularly and effectively organize learning activities and discussions, make action plans; direct the administrations and socio-political organizations to actualize and concretize action programs for cadres, civil servants and public employees towards transparency and integrity, saying no to “rent-seeking profit groups”, turning these programs into a patriotic emulation movement in agencies, organizations and units. Together with leading and directing party secretaries and party members, leaders need to perform well the responsibilities of setting an example, being exemplary, practicing “words jibing with actions”, learning and following Ho Chi Minh’s thought, morality, and style.
Seventhly, conducting a number of research activities, supplementing arguments for legislative work, fighting against and preventing corruption with the manifestations of “special-interest groups”, “rent-seeking groups”. In fact, the current legal regulations show that, along with the aforementioned notions, there are many other concepts and terms commonly used in documents of the Party, State and social life. Nevertheless, in terms of law, there haven’t been any official rules clarifying these terms, consequently, a common interpretation has not been reached, leading to a lack of unified perception of the content of these concepts to translate into legal regulations governing the behavior of cadres, civil servants and public employees in the management and use of public property. This results in the ineffective establishment of a legal framework to handle cadres, civil servants and public employees when they commit violation.
The efficacious management and use of public property in association with the prevention of and the fight against “rent-seeking groups” not only offer benefits to the nation and people, but also contributes to bolstering the confidence of the society and the people in the Party and State, generating synergy to successfully achieve the following goals: 2045 will be the 100th founding anniversary of the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam, currently known as the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam: Our country will become a developed, high-income country(10) as determined by the Resolution of the 13th Party Congress.
(1) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works, Publishing House. National Politics Truth, Hanoi, 2011, Tomb 5, p. 292
(2) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works, Ibid, Tomb 4, p. 170
(3) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works, Ibid, Tomb 5, p. 390
(4) Resolution of the 3rd Plenum of the 8th Central Committee, dated June 18, 1997, “On the cadre strategy in the period of accelerating national industrialization and modernization”. Resolution of the 4th Plenum of the 12th Central Committee, dated October 30, 2016, “On strengthening Party building and rectification; preventing and repelling the deterioration of political ideology, morality, lifestyle, internal “self-evolution” and “self-transformation” manifestations; Resolution of the 7th Plenum of the 12th Central Committee, dated May 19, 2018, “On focusing on building a contingent of cadres at all levels, especially at the strategic level, who are qualified, capable and charismatic, on par with their tasks.”
(5) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works, Ibid, Tomb 9, p. 297
(6) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works, Ibid, Tomb 5, p. 123
(7), (8) Documents of the 13th National Congress, Ibid, Tomb II, p. 145, 146
(9), (10) Documents of the 13th National Congress, Ibid, Tomb II, p. 146, 327
This article was published in the Communist Review No. 995 (August 2022)