Small-scale corruption remains a widespread phenomenon throughout Vietnam, as citizens affirmed in a recent survey that they always have to hand over money whenever it comes to completing an administrative procedure.
Many Vietnamese citizens have to pay bribes at the hospital and when applying for a public job or obtaining a license from a regulatory agency, according to the 2013 Vietnam Provincial Governance and Public Administration Performance Index (PAPI) report released on Tuesday.
The 2013 PAPI surveyed 13,892 people in 63 cities and provinces countrywide, aiming to assess three mutually reinforcing processes – policy making, policy implementation, and the monitoring of public service delivery, according to a statement on the www.papi.vn website.
The report this year indicates that petty corruption is common in almost all Vietnamese provinces and cities, and that citizens are sometimes treated disrespectfully by public servants.
Petty corruption refers to the everyday abuse of “entrusted power by low- and mid-level public officials in their interactions with ordinary citizens, who often are trying to access basic goods or services in places like hospitals, schools, police departments and other agencies,” according to a definition by the non-governmental organization Transparency International.
Forty-two percent of respondents say they have to pay unofficial fees for services at district-level hospitals, while 30 percent agree that corruption exists when applying for land use licenses.
Twenty-four percent say they have to pay extra money when seeking a construction license, while 42 percent face corruption when applying for a job at public organizations.
Only 38 percent of respondents think their local authorities have been serious in handling uncovered corruption cases. Three Mekong Delta localities, the provinces of Tien Giang and Long An and Can Tho City, best control corruption in the public sector.
The northern cities of Hai Phong and Hanoi are in the bottom group while Bac Giang places in the last position in respect of corruption control in the public sector.
Respondents were also asked if public officials are appropriate, respectful, and polite toward them, with most responding in the negative.
Major cities have low rankings
The northern province of Quang Binh scored highest in the 2013 PAPI, followed by Quang Tri, Long An, Thai Binh, Ha Tinh, and Da Nang.
Major cities like Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, and Hai Phong have relatively low overall rankings. The southern hub stands in 26th position, only two places above the capital city, while Hai Phong is in 48th position.
At the bottom of the tally are Bac Giang, Lai Chau, Quang Ninh, Ha Giang, Lao Cai, and Kon Tum.
Initiated in 2009, the PAPI is a joint collaboration between the Center for Community Support Development Studies, the Vietnam Fatherland Front, and the United Nations Development Program.
The PAPI is the first publically available dataset to provide an objective evaluation of governance from the perspective of citizens, under the philosophy that citizens are seen as end-users of public administrative services and are capable of assessing governance and public administration in their localities.