“The role of planning is different in a market economy compared to central planning. There are key functions for the State also in a market economy like the Swedish one. To combine a fruitful business environment with social welfare, the State Management needs to be efficient, transparent and accountable.”
This was stated recently by the Ambassador of Sweden Mr Staffan Herrström at a workshop in Hanoi, where Swedish and Vietnamese economic experts met to share experiences on the role of planning in a market economy. The event followed the workshop on “The role of State in a market economy and the transforming economy”, held in January 2011. These discussions are part of the project funded by Sweden to the Government of Vietnam’s Capacity Study – Preparation Phase for Supporting the Government of Vietnam’s Institutional Visioning Process. The Vietnamese partner is the Central Institute for Economic Management – CIEM, Ministry of Planning and Investment, which provides policy advice to the Government.
In his opening remarks, the Ambassador of Sweden Mr Staffan Herrström said that Vietnam’s reforms have clearly shown the advantages of opening up for free trade, of the transition to a market economy and of the abolishment of central planning in the sense that the Government manages the economy. He emphasised: “There has to be clear definitions of the roles of both the private and the public sector. The same rules should apply for all investment actors. And without checks and balances, without independent auditors and inspection functions, without a qualified and independent judiciary, without investigative journalists working in free media you will sooner or later be in trouble.”
The discussion concluded that a market economy still needs planning, however, Vietnam needs to change its ways of thinking in terms of planning and planning processes. It is necessary to re-define the role of the State in the planning process. The Government needs to provide guidelines and orientations. Detailed instructions to the planning are needed for public resources while giving opportunities for other economic sectors and civil society organisations to develop own plans to ensure the feasibility.
The President of the Central Institute for Economic Management – CIEM, Mr Le Xuan Ba wrapped up the discussion by saying that Vietnam needs an overall framework of planning reforms.
The Ambassador of Sweden, Mr Herrström re-confirmed the crucial importance of transparency and of decentralisation, using a bottom up approach like in the Chia Se project.
Also within the frame work of the project on Sweden’s support to institutional visioning process in Vietnam, the CIEM held another workshop to learn the Swedish administration model with the presentation by Dr Sören Häggroth, a Senior Advisor from the Professional Management AB of Sweden. Participants to the workshop showed their interest in the Swedish model and focused their discussion on the advantages of the Swedish administration model and on the possibilities to adapt Sweden’s experiences in the context of Vietnam.