Conflicts of interest could threaten Vietnam's economic progress: report

By VnExpress   November 11, 2016 | 09:53 am GMT+7
Conflicts of interest could threaten Vietnam's economic progress: report
Motorcyclists ride on a bridge on a road linking Hanoi with northern Vietnamese provinces in the suburbs of Hanoi. Vietnam needs to improve the efficiency of the public sector and better prevent corruption by strengthening regulations to deal with various forms of conflicts of interest, a World Bank report has said. Photo by AFP/Hoang Dinh Nam

Citizens and firms believe that connections to the state are important to succeed.

Vietnam needs to improve the efficiency of the public sector and better prevent corruption by strengthening regulations to deal with various forms of conflicts of interest, a new report has said.

The report, released on Wednesday by the World Bank and Vietnam's Government Inspectorate, said the country's economic progress could be hindered by conflicts of interest, which "are becoming rules of the game" amid increased interactions between the public and private sectors.

For instance, as one of the most popular forms, gift giving and taking has become a "trend" in Vietnam, with enterprises giving gifts in order to avoid "discrimination."

The report pointed out that the current gift-reporting regulations as well as implementation have not been as effective as expected.

Nepotism and using insider information for personal gain are also believed to be prevalent.

"Citizens and firms consistently report that connections to the state are important to succeed in business and that vested-interest groups are becoming more influential," the report said.

"This study is a first attempt to put conflict-of-interest issues into perspective in Vietnam," Deputy Inspector General Nguyen Van Thanh said in a statement.

The World Bank urges the country to strengthen laws and policies to improve the integrity, accountability and efficiency of the public sector.

Ousmane Dione, the World Bank Country Director, said that Vietnam aims to be a prosperous country with modern institutions by 2035 and managing conflicts of interest is essential to this aspiration.

A total of 570 citizens, 596 businesses and 1,400 government workers in 10 provinces and cities and five ministerial agencies participated in the survey.

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