The Central Institute of Economic Management (CIEM) is a policy research institute under the Ministry of Planning and Investment. Traditionally such institutes have had little decision-making power regarding their operations. However, the recent Government Decree No. 115 NĐ/CP provides an opportunity for the institutes to become more independent with regard to their strategy, management, personnel, and finances.
The Vietnamese Government is also introducing new procedures for management and allocation of financing to research organizations. Bidding procedures for research projects will increasingly become the order of the day.
These reforms have prompted CIEM to discuss adjustment of its strategy and its organizational structure. An expansion of its range of services to a fast-changing and increasingly diversified and demanding group of clients is also under consideration. Eventually, CIEM should become more pro-active, market-tuned and competitive.
Workshop discusses new strategy
To benefit from the changes in the external environment, CIEM has decided to update its strategy. A first version of the strategy was elaborated in 2003 in collaboration with NIAS Nordic Institute of Asian Studies. The draft of the new ‘Organizational Development Strategy (2006-2010)’ has been authored by OCD Consultants. Danida has supported the elaboration of both strategies under the ‘CIEM Project’, now financed under the Poverty Reduction Grant III.
CIEM conducted a workshop in Sa Pa 8-9 July, 2006, to discuss the draft strategy. CIEM’s President, Dr. Dinh Van An, chaired the sessions, and representatives from all CIEM departments and NIAS discussed the draft with the consultants.
The workshop was meant to provide an input to the leadership of CIEM with regard to anticipated reforms. Following the discussions at the workshop, the Organizational Development Strategy will be finalized by OCD Consultants.
The workshop discussed a number of issues central to CIEM’s future development. The focus was on whether and, if so, how CIEM could take advantage of the opportunities offered by Decree No. 115. The workshop tentatively concluded:
4The draft Organizational Development Strategy should be a long term strategy. It will be a useful guideline for future reforms and it should be finished before the end of August, 2006. CIEM will develop a concrete back-to-back Action Plan with a 5-year perspective on that basis and submit it to the Ministry of Planning and Investment for discussion towards the end of this year.
4CIEM would need to work further on its mission statement, and the SWOT analysis in the strategy would need to be reviewed.
4Organizational reforms of CIEM will necessarily be incremental and should match those expected in the government structure in 2007 and in particular in the parent ministry.
4The current department structure should be maintained, but cross departmental development centres should play a more active role. The functions of the different units may be adjusted so that each department would have a key research focus. However, as CIEM needs to cover a wide research portfolio related to economic reform and development, excessive specialization is undesirable. Furthermore, it is important that all departments are considered equally important.
4The Centre for Information and Documentation needs to be strengthened as it has taken on many new assignments. It should provide services to all CIEM’s departments and help make CIEM visible externally through the web site of the institute which is being upgraded.
4CIEM’s financial management procedures should be reviewed and CIEM will explore how overhead costs can be better covered on external projects.
4Finally, it was recognized that incentive structures may lead to some income inequalities.
The workshop was successful in soliciting opinions of the management and staff of CIEM as well as from NIAS. The institute’s Strategy Task Force will now have to come up with proposals for concrete action.