Development Policy Review

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    Vietnam Development Report 2010 : Modern Institutions
    (World Bank, 2009-12-04) World Bank
    Institutions are not buildings or organizations, they are the rules by which citizens, firms, and the state interact. The photographs that grace the cover of this Vietnam Development Report (VDR) 2010 epitomize modern institutions. The settings may not appear modern, but the activities they represent are cutting edge, and are transforming Vietnam. Local level planning with the active engagement of citizens. Monitoring of public works by citizens groups. Efficient administrative services with the citizen as the client. Legal advice being provided to citizens. Professional media coverage of important events. These are the roots which feed the growth of a modern, open, and high-performing society. This VDR focuses on devolution and accountability, two aspects of modern institutions that are the essence of Vietnam's experience in the past two decades. At the risk of over-simplifying, this VDR distinguishes between two types of accountability, upward accountability focusing on compliance with rules, dictates, and instructions coming from within the hierarchy, and downward accountability focusing on the results that the person or body is entrusted to deliver. A person or body concerned with upward accountability emphasizes adherence to rules. Those concerned with downward accountability serve their clients. Both forms of accountability are needed. Vietnam's devolution has shown many positive results. Competition among the provinces is driving them to improve their business environments. Eased entry for non-state providers of services and greater autonomy for the management of state facilities are supporting innovation and increasing the variety of services.
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    Vietnam Development Report 2005 : Governance
    (Washington, DC, 2004-11-22) World Bank
    Fundamental changes are taking place in the way the Government of Vietnam operates: the 2001 Constitution empowered the National Assembly to hold votes of no-confidence in the leaders it elects, including ministers. The State Budget Law, effective in January 2004, further expanded those powers, by making the National Assembly responsible for the approval of the budget, including allocations to lower levels of government. In parallel, there is a steady increase in the extent of decentralization. And some successes can be reported in the public administration reform agenda too, in particular, the adoption of the One-Stop Shop (OSS) model at the national level should improve the delivery of administrative services to households and enterprises, and reduce the opportunities for petty corruption. Notwithstanding, it should be recognized that important challenges remain. The goal of this report is to review the progress accomplished so far in building modern governance, and to identify areas where more needs to be done. To attain this goal, the report combines a range of perspectives, and relies on a variety of analytical tools. It carefully reviews patterns in government spending, and revenue at aggregate levels, but also in specific sectors and programs. It evaluates the decision-making processes behind employment and pay policies, investment projects, resettlement programs and budget allocations. It more broadly assesses the justification for government interventions in different aspects of the economy, and the impact of such interventions on key development outcomes, including poverty reduction. Vietnam's continued commitment to inclusive development provides the vision responsive to running an efficient government. Securing rapid economic growth, sustaining continued poverty reduction, and attaining the Vietnam Development Goals, are part of such vision. With this vision in mind, the report flags several areas of concern: planning versus budgeting, and modernizing that planning; better service delivery; redistributing to the poorest; setting budget allocation norms; delegation to spending units; and, management of state assets.
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    Vietnam - Delivering on Its Promise : Development Report 2003
    (Washington, DC, 2002-11-21) World Bank
    The focus of the report, combined with Vietnam's remarkable long-term growth potential, presents a favorable outlook, suggesting the effects of the East Asian crisis are over. The country is committed to socially inclusive development, and, translates a vision of transition towards a market economy, with socialist orientation into concrete public actions, emphasizing the transition should be pro-poor, noting this will require investments in the rural, and lagging regions, and a more gradual reform implementation, than often recommended. However, challenges identified include, first, further progress in economic reform - fast progress in liberalizing foreign trade, and integrating with world economy is increasingly at odds with the slowdown of state-owned enterprise reform. Second, poverty alleviation may be endangered - for in the absence of vigorous action, inequality is likely to increase. And, third, improving the quality of governance faces an economic inefficient mismatch, reflected by its legal framework, budgetary system, and administrative structures, resulting from the inherited centrally-planned economy. The report reviews the increasing inequalities, and the need to redress imbalances, indicating that - although needed - economic reforms, trade liberalization, and the transformation of state-owned enterprises, may create losers, while many of the gains of the last decade remain fragile. The Comprehensive Poverty Reduction and Growth Strategy (CPRGS) identified key decisions that need to be made, supported by strong inter-ministerial coordination for its implementation, namely rolling out to provincial, district, and commune levels in order to better align priorities, and expenditures to the national development goals, supported by external assistance.