|A deserted office on a Saturday in District 10. There has been low public awareness of working Saturdays and government employees have been reluctant to work because of low remuneration.|
Ho Chi Minh City authorities will evaluate the effectiveness of working Saturdays at government offices this month following public complaints the move made no discernible difference in services rendered.
To curb overcrowding at government agencies during weekdays, government offices in the city opened for four extra hours on Saturdays beginning February last year.
However, the policy has been criticized as a waste of time and money as many offices open on Saturdays remained idle most of the time.
Chau Minh Ty, director of the cityâs Department of Internal Affairs, said district authorities will evaluate the one-year service in areas under their jurisdiction.
The department will gather proposals from the districts and consult with the city Peopleâs
Committee before suggesting policy changes to the central government, Ty said.
Until then, the city will try to simplify the Saturday work policy as much as practically possible.
Priority will be given to work in high demands such as issuing construction licenses and granting titles to property. Vietnam does not allow formal land ownership but grants land-use rights, which confer the same rights as freehold property.
Le Van Thanh from the cityâs Institute for Development Studies said, âThe residents need the service but few of them look for it because they donât know which offices are open and if an office is open, the residents are not sure if itâs really working.â
Many residents have gone to an office on Saturday only to be asked to leave their documents there and wait for it to be collected on a weekday.
Thanh had said earlier that the meager pay offered for Saturdays also discouraged the officials.
According to the âSaturday hoursâ policy, each office has to handle the payment themselves.
Ty said city officials had suggested government offices extend their weekday working time instead of opening on Saturdays.
But the central government has made the decision and the policy has been applied nationwide, so HCMC cannot be an exception, he said.
Administrative reform expert Diep Van Son had also said that government offices should extend their weekday hours, ending an hour later at 6:30 p.m. instead of 5:30 p.m., for example.
âThen there would be no need for extra hours on Saturdays.â
Officials will have more time to finish the work within the day and thatâs better than leaving it for another day, Son said.
He added this would also ease rush hour congestion as government office staff would leave later than workers at other offices.
Nguyen Minh Man, director of the Government Officeâs Administrative Reform Department, said local authorities âshould be flexible about the extra working time.
âThey should choose the time thatâs most suitable for them to finish the workload.
âIf an office has managed to finish everything on the five weekdays, there would be no point in its staff showing up on Saturday.â
Reported by Thanh Nien staff