Outstanding achievers failing to be honored: conference

Deputy Minister of Interior Tran Thi Ha has called for more efforts to nurture and honor citizens who have made outstanding contributions to the country.

Chairwoman of the HCMC People’s Council Pham Phuong Thao speaks at a March 16 meeting on renovating the city’s emulation and reward system (Photo: SGGP)

Known in Vietnam as “Emulation and Reward,” individuals or organizations who achieve outstanding results in a particular field are to be honored for their efforts.

But according to Ms. Ha, most agencies focus too heavily on offering rewards for high-achievers rather than on cultivating a climate in which people are motivated to succeed based on other factors.

Moreover, due to overwhelming bureaucracy, those deserving of recognition are often passed over, she said.

Ms. Ha, who is also Chairwoman of the Central Emulation and Rewards Council, made the statement during a meeting themed “Renovating emulation and reward policies for more practical results,” held in Ho Chi Minh City March 16 by the HCMC Emulation and Rewards Board in conjunction with Sai Gon Giai Phong.

Pham Phuong Thao, chairwoman of the city People’s Council; Nguyen Thi Nhu Thuy, head of the city Emulation and Rewards Board; and Tran The Tuyen, Editor-in-Chief of SGGP, also attended the conference.

Bogged down in bureaucracy

Many delegates at the meeting voiced concern about the impractical requirements related to the emulation and rewards system.

Doan Kim Triet from the HCMC Union of Scientific and Technical Associations said: “Since 2001, I have thrice proposed that the ‘Labor Medal, Third Class’ be conferred on an outstanding city-based researcher.”

In 2008, Triet said he proposed that a 60-year-old researcher be honored for his achievements. However, he says he was told that it was “impossible” to confer such an award since the agency that employed the researcher had provided no report on his work.

“I was very upset since the researcher had retired by then, so how can we get such a report?” Triet said.  

The irresponsible and bureaucratic work style of many officials in charge of the emulation and reward system has led to a situation in which many scientists are not honored while they deserve to be, he added.

It is also difficult to complete all the paperwork required by city authorities or the Government in petitioning for awards, as many officials themselves are not clear on how the process works, Triet said.

Nguyen Duc Dien, chairman of HCMC Young Businesspeople Association, said: “Many businesses have made great contributions to the city’s development, but they have not received a single award simply because they are not a member of a particular association.”

Ms. Ha agreed, blaming the situation on the fact that many officials do not fully understand the Law on Emulation and Reward, and said they have not been flexible enough in issuing rewards.

She said that extensive dossiers are not always necessary to confer awards, adding that many private enterprises have received the “Labor Hero” title in the past several years.

Leaders reap most rewards

Another hot issue discussed by delegates at the meeting was that heads of agencies are honored more often than their subordinates.

Nguyen Thi Lan Huong, chief of Office of the HCMC Department of External Relations, said: “There exists a reality that in many agencies, leaders are preferred for rewards.”

Workers at a shoe factory in HCMC. People’s Council leader Pham Phuong Thao said that agency leaders are more often recognized for their work than their subordinates are. (Photo: SGGP)

Ms. Thao agreed. “While we have launched the ‘Emulating Fighters’ movement, we have overlooked the ‘commanders’ in terms of awards,” she said.

Nguyen Thanh Trieu, deputy chairman of the District 7 People’s Committee, agreed, saying that due to the limited number of awards handed out, top leaders are most often selected.

For example, he said, the percentage of Party members allowed to be honored is set at just 15 percent.

Ms. Ha responded, saying: “The Ministry of Justice recently proposed that the restriction of reward percentage at all agencies be abolished. However, as many as 74 out of 97 ministries and other State agencies said such restrictions should be maintained.”        

Bizarre awards and dishonesty

At the conference, Mr. Dien presented a list of awards established in the past few years in HCMC.

He cited several “strange” awards including: “National Famous and Competitive Brand Award;” “Annual Report Award;” “Well-known Brand Name Super Cup;” and Cultural Celebrity Golden Cup.”

Ms. Thao of the People’s Council said there have been more than 100 similar awards established across the country.

In addition, many delegates expressed concerned over the “buying” of rewards.

Ms. Thao said there have indeed been several instances in which awards have been unscrupulously obtained. She said the city would take measures to prevent this occurrence in the future.

By staff writers – Translated by Truc Thinh

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