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Proposal recommends cutting two ministries, one deputy PM

The Vietnamese Government is recommended to cut two ministries and one deputy prime minister, according to a proposal to comprehensively restructure the Government for the first time in 15 years.

The Institute for State Organisational Sciences of the Ministry of Home Affairs announced the proposal on February 19 at a conference on recommendations for the Government restructuring in the next five-year term of 2021-26.

The institute’s president, Dr Le Anh Tuan, who announced the proposal, said the Government should cut the number of ministries from the current 22 to 20 by merging the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Planning and Investment into the Ministry of Finance-Planning and Investment, and the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Construction into the Ministry of Transport and Construction.

A number of drastic changes will also be made to other ministries, according to the official.

The Ministry of Education and Training will become the Ministry of Education after the training task is transferred to the Ministry of Science and Technology. The latter will change its name to the Ministry of Science, Technology and Training.

The new science ministry will also take over the management of vocational training from the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs.

The proposal also suggests forming the new Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism which is a combination of the current Ministry of Industry and Trade and the tourism function of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

The culture ministry will instead have a new task – taking care the country’s young generations – and will have its name changed to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth.

The streamlining proposal was made after considering the Government structure of many developed countries with economies much larger than Vietnam’s, Tuan said, citing the United States with 15 departments, Germany with 14 ministries, Singapore with 16 and France with 18.

Vietnam, meanwhile, has had 22 ministries and counterpart agencies, as well as eight Governmental organisations for the last three office terms since 2007, he said.

“It’s easy to see that in developed countries, the Government structure tends to be leaner. Less ministries means less focal points for management,” Tuan said.

The proposal also wants to remove one deputy prime minister from the current five.

“A deputy prime minister is in fact a middle role, which somehow invades the rights and duties of a minister who acts as the one responsible for a sector,” he said.

A deputy prime minister in Vietnam is usually tasked with overseeing a couple of ministries.

Assigning several deputy prime ministers is also inappropriate to the principle of assuring the rights and responsibilities of the Prime Minister, he added.

Home affairs minister Le Vinh Tan in an interview late last year said that the ministry was developing a master plan to streamline the central Government by trimming down ministries in 2020. Such a plan is also expected to be voted on this year, he said.