THE PRIME MINISTER OF GOVERNMENT
SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF VIET NAM
Independence - Freedom – Happiness
Hanoi, April 07, 1995
APPROVING THE NATIONAL PROGRAM FOR INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
THE PRIME MINISTER
Considering Official Dispatch No.405-CNTT on the 28th of February 1995 asking for the approval of the master plan for the National Program for Information Technology;
At the proposals of the State Planning Committee embodied in Official Dispatch No.3690-UB-KHGDMT on the 8th of December 1994, and of the Ministry of Finance in Official Dispatch No.2843-TC-HCVX on the 31st of October 1994,
Article 1.- To approve the National Program for Information Technology - the Master Plan through to the year 2000.
Article 2.- The Minister of Science, Technology and Environment, the Minister of Finance, the Chairman of the State Planning Committee, the Governor of the State Bank, and the Heads of the related branches are responsible for the implementation of this Decision.
THE PRIME MINISTER
Vo Van Kiet
THE NATIONAL PROGRAM
FOR INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY THE MASTER PLAN THROUGH TO YEAR 2000
(Issued together with Decision No.211-TTg on the 7th of April 1995)
The Government's Resolution No.49-CP on the 4th of August 1993 on developing Information Technology (IT) in our country in the 1990's outlined the situation of IT in our country, laid down the approaches, objectives and contents of our IT development through to the year 2000, and the major measures to materialize those important lines. This master plan outlines systematically the works to be carried out from now to the year 2000 in implementation of the said Resolution No.49-CP.
The overall objective of the development of IT in our country through to the year 2000, as defined by Resolution No.49-CP, is :
To lay the initial and firm foundation for an information infrastructure in society, which is able of meeting the essential needs for information in State management and socio-economic activities; at the same time, actively to build the IT industry into one of the spearheads of the country so as to prepare our country to assume a worthy role in the region at the onset of the 21st century.
This overall objective is translated into the following concrete goals:
a) To build systems of computers and transmission facilities which are to be linked into networks and which have adequately strong software and databases, and are able of serving State management and other vital activities of the national economy. A number of domestic information networks are to be linked with international networks;
b) To develop on a broad basis IT application so as to help boost productivity, quality and efficiency of production and business, and gradually modernize important production and service branches and national security and defense. To promote IT application in basic surveys, exploration of natural resources and environment, scientific research and other activities;
c) To popularize "information culture" in society so as to create a favorable environment in preparation for the coming of an "information society".
d) To lay the groundwork for the formation of an IT industry able of producing valuable information products and services, with priority given to the development of "software" and, at the same time, to make full use of the abilities in technology transfer, so as to develop appropriately units in the production of component parts and equipment of modern information technology.
To implement the above goals, the overall plan for the development of information technology in our country will be focused on the following contents :
1. To develop all resources and build the IT infrastructure so as to enable the IT industry to implement projects of computerization to be applied widely and deeply in all socio-economic fields; and at the same time to take firm steps to build up the IT industry of the country.
2. To carry out key projects on computerization in State management and all fields of socio-economic development, and apply IT to the industrialization and modernization of the national production and economy.
I. DEVELOPING INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY SOURCES AND BUILDING INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY INFRASTRUCTURE
1. Education and training in IT :
a) The necessary personnel structure for IT development :
The contingent of professionals needed for IT development in our country in the coming years shall be composed mainly of specialists on analysis and design of systems and programs, IT instructors and researchers, textbook compilers, experts on installation, maintenance and repair of computer equipment, system experts to install and maintain software systems, experts on computer nets and communications, economic analysts for information systems, and administrators to manage informatics projects.
This contingent should have at least 20,000 personnel to meet the needs through to the year 2000. Of this number, more than a half are to be programmers, about one fourth system analysts, and another one fourth specialists in other fields.
Along with this contingent of IT professionals, there should be plans for education and training to supply leading and managerial personnel and specialists to all socio-economic fields with the necessary knowledge and skills to utilize IT equipment as a modern labor tool in their specialities.
A measure of utmost importance is to promote the popularization of informatics in secondary schools so as to familiarize the young generations with IT knowledge and modern facilities, and create a broad basis for the rapid selection and training of the future IT professionals.
b) Measures to strengthen IT education and training :
In order to have the above-mentioned IT resources, from now to the year 2000, the following key measures will be taken :
- To build new or perfect IT faculties at universities and polytechnic colleges throughout the country. These faculties should be adequately equipped with modern computers and communications facilities, have formal training programs, and be able to attract (full-time and part-time) trainers and skillful specialists in information technology throughout the country.
In the 1995-96 period, work should start immediately to strengthen (or reorganize) the IT faculties at the National Universities in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, and the Polytechnic Colleges in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Danang City, so as to enable each of them to enroll annually from 100 to 200 students for 4-year courses.
To start vocational training with a two-year program to train program developers and informatics technicians. This training program will be implemented at the IT faculties of universities, or in IT vocational schools. From now to the year 2000, this training system must be able to enroll annually about 2,000 new students.
- Along with the vocational training given at the said IT faculties, training in IT application should be promoted for students of scientific, technological and economic disciplines outside informatics. Retraining courses should be opened to train a good number of cadres, engineers and graduate students of other disciplines (mathematics, economics, technologies, etc.) into informatics specialists.
- To build a number of advanced IT training centers. These centers will organize short or medium-term training courses so as to elevate the standard, and provide upgraded IT knowledge and methods for our specialists and trainers and researchers. These advanced training centers will be organized at the Ministry of Education and Training, at the universities, research centers, or as independent centers set up by businesses and non-governmental organizations. They will be financed partly by the State budget and partly by other financial resources, including various forms of cooperation with foreign partners, from multinational corporations to domestic informatics enterprises.
- To overcome the critical shortage of key instructors and specialists for training programs and application projects, there will be an annual plan to send our specialists to overseas re-training or advanced training, along with sending advanced students to formal training courses in developed countries.
- To actively continue the implementation of the project for informatics education at secondary schools, along the line of better and more synchronized preparations in all fields: designing training programs, compiling teaching documents and textbooks, new training and re-training instructors, supply of computers, etc.
- To encourage the opening of schools and classes to train computer users in programs which require short practice and are applicable to different levels of pre-training knowledge, so as to make computer literacy a tool for the labor force which is becoming larger each day in society. the State will support the Informatics Association and other organizations in informatics in their efforts to develop programs for disseminating IT knowledge through the press, radio, television, etc.
- To promote IT application in education and training, first of all to study and develop high-quality training programs. In the coming years, efforts will be made to develop informatics educational software to better serve the popularization of IT education and disseminate IT knowledge in society. This will be followed by a gradual expansion of the scope of the software in foreign language teaching and other school disciplines, as well as the education software for specialized trainees.
2. IT research and development :
a) Defining the goals for IT research and development :
The fundamental objective of IT research and development in our country, as identified in Resolution No.49-CP, is to absorb modern knowledge, and closely monitor IT development trends in the world in order to:
- Make appropriate policy options for technology transfer for the building of the infrastructure for information technology in our country;
- Acquire the abilities for study, analysis and designing of informatics systems, along with developing software application programs for projects of IT application in the fields of State management and socio-economic development;
- Study, design and manufacture IT products, especially software and specialized products in service of the modernization of industrial production, with a view to helping orient and take part in the building of the information technology in our country.
In line with this fundamental objective, in the coming years, IT research and development shall focus on research in applications and create a firm potential for a good transfer of knowledge and technology, thus contributing to the improvement of the quality and efficiency of the IT application within the country. Basic research is encouraged along a number of orientations in which we have the abilities and conditions.
b) Organizing IT research and development :
To organize the implementation of the above-said goals, it is necessary to review and re-evaluate the efficiency, orientation and contents of the operation of the existing research institutions; on that basis, active measures shall be taken to re-orient and strengthen the existing contingent of researchers and the material-technical basis for R&D activities, namely:
- To build the Institute of Information Technology under the National Center for Natural Sciences and Technology, along with a number of other key research institutes (under the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment, the Ministry of Heavy Industry, etc.), into the mainstay for IT research and development.
- To strengthen the IT faculties at universities so that, along with their functions in education and training, they shall become important R&D units in information technology, able of promoting the potentials of the instructor contingent, and attracting young people into R&D activities.
- To apply policies for support and incentive measures, and to encourage the opening of IT research and development sections in branches, localities and companies of all economic sectors, with investment coming from domestic sources or from joint ventures with foreign partners.
- To speedily build the network for data transmission in service of education, research and development inside the country in compliance with the Internet protocols and standards, and through a common port to connect it with the Internet so as to create conditions for our educators, researchers and developers to exchange information among themselves and with their foreign colleagues.
3. Developing IT industry:
a) Contents of development of IT industry in our country :
IT industry is a spearhead industry. However, it is still new to our country. The building of an IT industry should therefore be conducted actively and, at the same time, be analyzed and calculated carefully to avoid the likely risks and waste.
Priority should be given to developing software industry and improving servicing technology. The market for the software products and services of this industry shall, in the initial period, be mostly domestic and, through the accumulation of experience and at a certain level of maturity, shall expand to outside markets.
In the coming period, it is necessary to rapidly develop the contingent of software developers to meet the needs in software application programs and acquire shares in the domestic software market, and to develop specialized software programs (such as for processing documents and data in the Vietnamese language) and import substitutes (for software programs that cannot be imported or has to be imported at high prices), etc.
At the same time, it is necessary to rapidly develop professional services in information technology, which are to include services in system planning, designing, accumulation, maintenance and repair and services in office automation, etc., to meet the ever-increasing needs of the domestic market in software application programs.
The hardware industry requires large capital investment and must be built on the basis of an industrialized economy. In the coming years, we need to make full use of all the possibilities in joint venture and technology transfer to develop a number of production and assembly units of informatics equipment according to plans which have been calculated as profitable and, at the same time, establish units for designing and manufacturing specialized telecommunication and informatics equipment to meet domestic needs, especially those for data transmission, automation and modernization of manufacturing industries. It is necessary to invest in personnel training to "develop the hardware industry on the basis of the software industry," which has been proved an appropriate and promising trend at present.
Multinational corporations in information technology which set up computer manufacturing factories in Vietnam and employ Vietnamese workers shall be entitled to preferential treatment under the Vietnamese investment law.
b) Incentive measures for development of IT industry:
- The R&D institutes, informatics faculties at universities and the domestic informatics companies are encouraged to develop software application programs by being given favorable and preferential conditions in bidding for development of software products for IT application projects for the State management system as well as for the other socio-economic sectors. The institutes, which have the necessary conditions, are also encouraged, and given investment, to engage in research, designing and manufacturing of specialized informatics equipment.
- To promote and support the establishment of a number of software-developing centers (some of which may have the starting capital provided by the State budget) which may operate independently, or within institutes, schools or informatics companies.
- To assist the formation and support the operation of an association of software developers to facilitate the exchange of ideas and experience, and organize such collective activities as seminars, training, participation in commercial delegations and getting acquainted with contracts and laws on trading of software programs.
- To build an IT industrial sector within the hi-tech industrial park, along with the start of an export-oriented software-developing project, considering it an experimental step and an active preparation for the possible future industry of software programs for export. This project shall be implemented through technology transfer, with the cooperation of foreign experts and overseas Vietnamese.
With a view to actively assisting the rapid development of the IT industry, especially the software industry, it is necessary to stipulate essential policies, such as tax exemption or reduction for software products, protection of intellectual property of software products, export assistance, providing financial support for training, sending personnel for overseas training, taking part in international technical exchanges, encouraging and creating favorable conditions for overseas Vietnamese experts to return home for cooperation, assisting the start of software centers by providing them with State stocks, subsidies and preferential credits, and helping them find joint venture partners.
4. Data transmission:
a) Demands for data transmission:
Data transmission is now in its formative stage in Vietnam. In recent years, the need for data transmission has seen strong development, along with the deployment of informatics systems in banking, financial and commercial services. The post service has started the formation of the VIETPAC X.25 network with fiber optic cable, and the provision of services in data transmission through public packet switching network. This network, once completed and connected with the digitized telephone network, shall provide an important instrument to put into operation data transmission networks for IT application projects in socio-economic branches.
The rapid application of information technology to State management systems and the modernization of the information infrastructure of the country requires the construction and deployment of projects of national scale with a potentially large demand for data transmission. In the initial stage, priority should be given to meeting demands in data transmission in the field of State management, development of the market economy, education, and research and development.
The demand for data transmission shall increase rapidly as our economy and country integrates itself more broadly and profoundly into the international community.
b) Project for national data transmission network :
On the basis of the transmission network built by the Post and Telecommunication Service, the project for a national data transmission network is tasked to develop a network of basic services for data transmission, in order to provide the infrastructure and services for all needs in data transmission in society. The network shall be able of providing data transmission services in different modes, such as:
- Public switching telephone network (PSTN),
- Public packet switching network (PPSN),
- Integrated services digital network (ISDN),
- Requested wave-band services,in order to meet the needs of users in transmitting files from point to point or among multiple points, in real-time data exchange, forming independent data- bases, connecting local-area networks (LAN) into a wide-area network (WAN), organizing the electronicmail network, etc.
The national data transmission network will by the end of 1995 be able of providing X25-channel packet switching service to all provincial towns and a number of districts and, by the end of 1996, to more than 400 districts throughout the country. By the year 2000, it is expected that the basic needs for multi-speed data transmission to all territories of the country will have been met. The project National Network for Data Transmission shall therefore be actively implemented to provide the necessary services for the development of IT application projects in the coming years.
On the basis of the public transmission network of the Post and Telecommunication Service and the basic service networks made available by the National Network for Data Transmission, it is necessary to do research to build application networks in an appropriate and economically efficient manner.
It is necessary to research and develop a Uniform Application Network for State Management System. The need for data transmission is growing among State agencies, between the Government and its Ministries and branches at the central, provincial and local levels. Because of this, and of the other needs in maintaining information security and reliability, it is necessary to establish a uniform application network for data transmission for the State management system. This network shall be designed to transmit all forms of information (voice, fax, data, graphic and text); in the initial stage, efforts shall be concentrated on data transmission and electronic mail, so as to facilitate such important services as express reporting on socio-economic situation, approving and ratifying decisions, planning meetings, activities and other works, distributing internal bulletins to designated recipients and entering into information systems and databases.
II. APPLICATION OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
1. Establishing the national system of databases and computerizing State management:
a) Requirements and overall structure of the system:
State management must be the area of first priority in IT application. The information basis for the improvement of the State management is the national system of databases, which must be able of storing and providing in a fast and timely manner all necessary information on the economic, cultural and social situation of the country as well as the related information to provide State agencies with the groundwork for making decisions.
This system is composed of the relatively independent databases of the Ministries, branches, provinces and cities; however, there are horizontal links for information exchange and sharing among these components themselves, and vertical links along the responsibility line of the State management system. Since these components are relatively independent both in the nature of their information and in their own management functions, it is natural that computerization shall be conducted in a relatively independent manner right from the start in different Ministries, branches and localities. At the same time, it is necessary to study, analyze and work out overall design for the whole system to clearly define the requirements and the methods to realize the common links through informatics instruments, especially the links in responsibility line of the whole system.
Therefore, the plan for IT application in the establishment of the national system of databases and computerization of State management in the coming years will be, on the one hand, to study and work out overall design for the whole system and initially establish a general database at the Office of the Government to serve its general management work; on the other, on the basis of the requirements of the overall design and their own, the Ministries, branches and localities shall gradually put into practice their computerization projects, first of all with regard to the tasks and branches which have direct impact on the overall management functions of the State.
Apart from their functions to serve State management activities, the national system of databases must be utilized to provide information services (in accordance with the necessary regulations and in a convenient manner) for all activities in production, business, scientific research and cultural and social development as required by all economic sectors and individuals at home and abroad.
b) Projects for establishing the national system of databases and computerizing State management:
In line with the above-mentioned general structure, computerization shall be researched and developed at all Ministries and localities. However, in the coming years, they shall be concentrated on the following key projects:
1. The project of research for overall design and establishment of the information system of management at the Office of the Government.
This project shall be conducted by the Office of the Government, in close coordination with the Steering Committee of the National Program for Information Technology, with a view to realizing the following two fundamental objectives:
a) To study, analyze and work out an overall design of the national system of databases, define the general structure of the whole information system and the links in it, especially the responsibility relations in the whole system, and recommend computerization plans to materialize those links.
b) To establish the general database at the Office of the Government, and connect it with the databases at Ministries, branches and localities (first of all with 11 key Ministries and 10 key provinces and cities) in order to provide in a timely manner crucial information on economy, society, legal affairs, national defense, home affairs, foreign policy, etc., in service of the leadership of the Prime Minister and the Government.
This general database is also to be used for the formation and implementation of the computerization projects in service of the leadership of the Party Central Committee and the National Assembly.
2. The project of establishing the socio-economic information system in service of the planning work and economic management.
This project shall be conducted by the State Planning Committee, with goals being to establish a computerized information system to serve the Government's planning and conduct of the economy and, at the same time, to provide socio-economic information for branches, research institutions, production units and businesses and individuals in society.
The system shall have sub-systems for policy analysis and formation, economic management, financial management, debt management, resource mobilization and banks for investment projects. The sources of information for the system are mainly the Ministries and branches at the central level (especially the finance, banking, statistics and commerce branches, etc.), the planning services at all levels, foreign donor agencies and international organizations. The information output from the system shall comprise mainly analyses, economic forecasts, planned contingencies, decisions for economic management and conducts; guidance for socio-economic activities, consultancy services and information on the economy and society, etc.
3. The project of the system of financial information:
This project shall be conducted by the Ministry of Finance, with the main goals being to build a modern system of financial information, and establish a uniform system of financial databases throughout the country in order to meet the needs in:
- Providing leaders at ministerial and other levels with accurate, timely and complete information to serve as groundwork for their decisions with regard to conducting the national finance.
- Extracting flash and periodical information by the most essential financial norms to supply the leading organs in the Government and National Assembly.
- Making it convenient and expressly the exchange and provision of information for different branches of the State, such as the State Bank, the State Planning Committee, the State Committee for Cooperation and Investment, etc.
In the coming period, we shall expand and renovate the information systems which have been deployed, such as the tax information system, the State treasury information system, the budget information system. At the same time, to actively perfect the draft master plan of the project in order to further its implementation.
4. The project of modernization of the banking system:
This project shall be conducted by the State Bank, with the participation of the State Bank and the commercial banks.
The overall goals of the project are:
- To perfect the regimes and regulations for the standardization of information, the technical norms and the payment procedure along the line of modernization and computerization.
- To expand non-cash payment service among the population, especially in the private sector.
- To build the national payment system in accordance with the requirements of modern banking services.
- To perfect the system of banking databases, and ensure that it provides fast and accurate information for the planning of money-stabilizing policies of the State.
Together with the important applications in the banking industry such as providing payment services for customers, establishing the national and international payment networks, electronic clearing services and electronic money transfers, the information system set up under this project shall provide information on payment, commerce and business activities in the State and social sectors, information on statistics and reporting, etc., to assist the State in designing monetary, financial and managerial policies.
5. The project of the State system of statistic information:
The State system of statistic information is a national system of basic information which is to provide official information on basic indice concerning the real situation of the country in all fields, economic, social, cultural, education, health, etc., and information on the infrastructure and natural resources of the country. This information comes from various sources: the periodical statistic reports from all branches and localities; the complete surveys such as population censuses, audits of national properties and the sample surveys organized for specific purposes. This information system, handled through multiple processes of generalization and assessments, shall provide data for the Government and State management agencies to draft development plans and projects for the country, cater information to all activities in production, business, economic research and culture, and serve as the source of official information for international statistic institutions.
The project for IT application in the Vietnamese statistic system, to be conducted by the General Department of Statistics, shall continue modernizing the State system of statistic information, first of all the databases on population, labor, industry and agriculture, and eventually the establishment of a more complete database on the socio-economic situation of the whole country.
The project to build the system of geographic tele-sensoring information on natural resources and environment, which is to be conducted by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment, must be able of storing graphic data, and become an important information system to serve the planning of economic development and environment protection in our country.
Besides, a number of other branches may have projects to establish their own specialized information systems, such as land administration information, forest resource information, mineral information, oil and gas information, etc.
2. Information technology in national security and defense:
National defense and security are fields in which state-of-the-art achievements in science and technology need to be applied. Even in its early days in our country, information technology was applied in a number of operations of national defense and security.
The scope of the IT application in these fields is very wide, ranging from management and technical renovation to highly specialized issues.
In implementing Resolution No.49-CP of the Government, the security and defense services have proposed projects for further expanding IT applications in their fields. These projects shall continue to be perfected in terms of scientific and technological feasibility, and shall receive investments from the State for implementation.
3. Establishing the system of market and commerce information:
a) The needs for information of market economy:
The cause of national renewal is moving our economy swiftly toward becoming a market economy. In recent years, the domestic market has grown fast, entering into a period of stability and healthy development and, step by step, integrating itself into the regional and international markets. The development of the market economy demands a great volume of information exchange, which must be met in a fast, timely, accurate and safe manner.
On the basis of the projects proposed by the Ministry of Trade, the Government Pricing Committee and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, we should coordinate all efforts and mobilize all resources from different economic sectors to build and put into practice a common project on the network of commerce and market information.
b) The project on network of commerce and market information:
The project on network of commerce and market information can be built on the basis of standardizing, upgrading and developing the existing network of commerce information of the Ministry of Trade, and connecting it with the databases already available at the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Government Pricing Committee and the other trading agencies and businesses.
The network of commerce and market information shall supply economic and commerce information to all State agencies, businesses and individuals according to the requirements of their production, business, market researches, etc., and provide services in investment and business consultancy and trade mediation for foreign businesses. In the future, the network shall become the main venue for businesses and enterprises to carry out their trade transactions.
The project shall be conducted by the Ministry of Trade, in coordination with the Government Pricing Committee and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and with the voluntary participation of enterprises. It shall be financed totally or partly by the State in the initial period of its development.
4. Applying information technology in modernizing production and services branches:
a) Information technology, and industrialization and modernization:
Industrialization and modernization are a fundamental content of our national construction and development in the upcoming decades. In the context of the modern scientific and technological revolution, they are closely associated with the application of information technology. Its application in production and service branches is very rich and diversified, and includes the following contents:
- Partial or full automation of the production or manufacturing process, such as automated designing (or computer-aided designing), computer-aided manufacturing, automatic control of tool-manufacturing processes, regulating manufacturing and power-supply networks, etc.
- Introducing electronic-informatic elements into industrial products themselves to create "intelligent" equipment and machines. These products are gradually replacing purely mechanical equipment, and are being designed and produced to meet very diverse demands in all fields of activity.
- Applying information technology to the upgrading and modernizing service activities, especially in fields with international nature, such as tourism, transportation, aviation, insurance, immigration, etc.
b) The projects for application of information technology to modernizing production and services:
In the initial stage of industrialization and modernization, our production and service branches are being, and shall continue to be, provided with imported machinery, equipment and technologies; along with this process, we shall build and gradually develop our industrial abilities to provide our own production with modern equipment and technologies. The application of information technology to modernizing production and service branches shall be organized into specific projects or into an important component of projects for modernizing industrial or service organizations.
With regard to the existing industrial production units, we should study carefully them case by case. Wherever conditions are available, we shall build and implement projects for upgrading and modernizing them by introducing elements of information technology and automation into the essential and possible parts in their production chains.
To study the possibilities to build and carry out a model project of an industrial enterprise which is fully computerized, from organizational work to planning, managerial, conducting, production, marketing, sales and other business activities.
The application of information technology plays a very decisive role and yields high economic efficiency for many important service branches. We should actively and synchronously develop projects of information technology application at branches and servicing companies in important socio-economic areas.
To step up the application of information technology in production and service areas is the duty of all branches, enterprises and production and service units of all economic sectors. The State needs to adopt preferential policies in investment, capital lending and tax reduction, etc., toward projects which introduce information technology into production and services with clear feasibility in upgrading quality and efficiency.
The most important measure in this field is to increase investment in training, research and development, in order to have a contingent of specialists, experts and technicians who have modern knowledge in each of the production and service branches, and who should take the initiative to introduce technological advances into each specific area of their branches. Therefore, it is necessary to increase training programs in information technology for technological and economic faculties at universities, upgrade R&D units which are working on automatic control and designing, etc., at research institutes, training centers and software developing centers mentioned in this program.
5. Information technology in service of heath care, culture and society:
In the initial stage of the program for development of information technology in our country, we should concentrate on building our potentials and developing applications in areas of urgency, such as State management and development of the formative market economy. However, in the long run, we need to pay attention to the fact that information technology is a revolutionary factor in the comprehensive upgrading of the quality of life and the diversified social relations; and, in line with the common trend in the world, it will constitute a major contribution to taking our society to becoming "an information society".
Information technology contributes to improving the quality of life economically, culturally and spiritually. It helps improve the quality of social welfare, especially health care, as well.
In order to encourage and support actively all initiatives in applying information technology proposed and implemented by cultural, health and social agencies and branches, the State shall invest in the research and development of a number of important projects:
- Project Application of Information Technology to Health Care and Protection, with the main contents being to conduct health surveys, design contingency programs for disease prevention and health protection, to serve scientific research, to upgrade the quality of health services and to care for the people's health, etc.
- Project Application of Information Technology to Population Control and Family Planning, to be focussed on building databases for population control, implementation of family-planning measures, etc., to help the Committee on Population and Family Planning and the State make policies and plans on population.
- Project Application of Information Technology to Preservation of National Cultural Heritage, with the main contents being to utilize information technology to build databases on our cultural heritage, such as the Nom script and the documents in Han-Nom scripts, graphic documents, etc., so that they can be preserved and restored with modern methods and, more importantly, can be utilized conveniently for research and popularization.
III. POLICIES FOR ENCOURAGING DEVELOPMENT AND APPLICATION OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
The implementation of Resolution No.49-CP of the Government on development of information technology shall have a far-reaching impact on all aspects of the socio-economic life of our country. To materialize the objectives and goals set by the Resolution, we have to mobilize many resources of the country : State agencies, the system of education and research and development institutions, socio-economic organizations, enterprises and businesses of all economic sectors, etc.
In this spirit, in the coming period, we need to quickly study, draft, approve and publicize a number of urgent policies and measures in the following areas:
1. The policies on standards and open system:
Resolution No.49-CP on development of information technology considers "open system" one of the major approaches in our development of information technology to increase efficiency and reduce waste, ensure the uniformity between developing the infrastructure for information technology, building the industry of information technology and developing computerized systems for information technology application.
Developing information technology in the open-system approach requires defining and observing a system of individual and group standards. These standards must be selected in accordance with the common trend of the world information technology and best meet the requirements of the development of our information technology.
The set of standards of the environment for the open system in the development and application of information technology should include such matters as operating system service, human/computer interface, specific conditions of Vietnam (such as standard Vietnamese script, etc.), database management service, database links and transmission, computer network, graphic service, data security, system management and other issues.
We should soon study and propose the above-said standards to the Government for promulgation. All State agencies shall comply with these legal standards set by the State. Non-State organizations are encouraged to use the same set of standards and comply with the open-system policy. The compliance with the legal standards is demonstrated through the consideration and approval of investments in State-budgeted projects. An exemption or reduction of this compliance may be considered on a case-by-case basis when a well-justified need for special applications arises.
2. Policies and measures for building the infrastructure of information technology:
In the upcoming years, more projects of information technology applications shall be developed in the State as well as other economic sectors of the society. The infrastructure for computer/telecommunications in our country shall take shape gradually. The policies and measures in this regard are geared at ensuring that the building of such an infrastructure shall be spared of possible waste, and shall be developed in line with the modern trend in information technology in the world. Apart from the above-said policy for the standards and open system, preparations should be made to promulgate the following policies:
a) The policy for purchase of information technology products and services for projects with investments from the State budget:
All purchases of this nature must be done in the form of bidding and contract. This form includes public announcement and supervision of the bidding. Such a policy ensures that all the requirements for information technology are defined correctly, that the qualified suppliers are selected properly, and that all financial or legal conditions of the contract are supervised. This policy also gives us a mechanism to ensure that the standards, such as the standards for the environment of the open system, are technically uniform and consistent and comply with by State projects.
b) The policy for development of data transmission telecommunication networks:
The need to use instruments for data transmission is common to every user of informatics and every project of information technology application. On the basis of a uniform physical telecommunication network, different telecommunication companies may establish and operate value-added service network and compete healthily in customer service. There should be a policy of preferential telecommunication rates for organizations and activities in education, research and development.
c) The policies in support of in-country industrial development in information technology:
To promote the development of our information technology industry, we should adopt preferential credit policies to help establish Vietnamese enterprises (or Vietnamese-controlled joint ventures) in information technology, especially those manufacturing software products and providing information technology services.
In bidding for State projects, there should be appropriate preferential treatment of domestic organizations and enterprises in information technology.
d) The policy on tax and deduction on equipment value:
To create favorable conditions for the constant renewal of information technology equipment in line with the progress of modern science and technology, and also to encourage consumers to invest in information technology application equipment, there shall be tax-relief policy which allows quick deduction of equipment and products (both hardware and software) to be used in application projects.
3. The policy for promoting training:
On the basis of the measures to promote education and training in information technology as mentioned above, there should be additional policies aimed at utilizing all abilities to strengthen and encourage skill training for our staffs and experts information technology. Those policies and measures include:
- Promoting training by vocational schools and non-State training units.
- Issuing regulations allowing the training of information technology in both Vietnamese and English languages in order to speed up the training of experts and specialists who are able of working with foreign partners.
- Making it a contract responsibility for multi-national corporations which are engaged in projects on development and application of information technology to select and provide professional training for Vietnamese participants in the projects.
Along with the above-said training policies and measures, there shall be regulations setting requirements in minimum knowledge and skills in information technology for cadres and employees to be recruited into State agencies.
4. Policies and measures for development of computerized information systems:
a) To create information sources and standardize emerging information:
In implementing projects with application of information technology, the most important content is to build up information system and databases. The first requirement in the building of computerized information systems is to identify information sources and standardize information from the sources. Resolution No.49-CP determines that the Office of the Government shall preside over and coordinate with the General Department of Statistics, the State Planning Committee and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment, to lay down at an early date a set of standards for information of criteria to be used in the most important management activities of the State. On the basis of this set of standards, the Ministries, the agencies at ministerial level, the agencies attached to the Government, and the People's Committees in provinces and cities directly under the Central Government shall work out standards for information in their own systems. All forms and provisions for reporting and communicating procedures must be renewed and revised in the light of the requirements in application of information technology. The observance of regulations on information shall be institutionalized into legal provisions.
b) Exchange and protection of information:
The development of computerized information systems shall quickly increase the volume of information flow in country as well as abroad. The exchange and protection of information shall be conducted in conformity with the country's open-door economic policies. Resolution No.49-CP determines that the Ministry of Culture and Information shall preside over and coordinate with the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Justice in studying and introducing a policy governing the exchange and protection of information, in compliance with the principles that all economic sectors are equal before law in terms of access to information and exchange of information within the country as well as with foreign economic institutions, in order to serve their businesses; the exchange of information with international and foreign organizations must conform to international conventions and current Vietnamese laws; the rights to property and secrecy of information of individuals and socio-economic organizations shall be institutionalized into laws and realized with scientific solutions.
5. The policies of technology transfer and international cooperation:
a) On technology transfer:
The Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment shall concretize the Ordinance on transfer of foreign technologies into Vietnam in the field of information technology development; preside over and coordinate with the State Planning Committee, the Ministry of Heavy Industry, and the General Directorate of Post and Telecommunications in working out an international cooperation program for the development of information technology, which includes the designing of projects for development of information technology with foreign loans.
The Ministry of Education and Training shall preside over and coordinate with the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment in designing the plan for overseas personnel training for development of information technology, which includes providing scholarships for students to go abroad to train, practise and study in disciplines and at standards which are necessary but beyond the in-country ability.
The State Planning Committee shall be responsible for allocating an important part of international aid, especially the ODA, to projects on training and research for development and application of information technology.
b) Soliciting foreign and overseas Vietnamese experts and advisers:
To make efficient use of foreign and overseas Vietnamese experts and advisers and in implementing the instruction embodied in Resolution No.49-CP, the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment shall coordinate with the Ministry of Education and Training, the Government Committee for Overseas Vietnamese, to devise policies to encourage foreign and overseas Vietnamese experts to advise, or take direct part in, application projects, training programs and scientific research, and in plans to build the infrastructure for information technology.
c) Promoting foreign investment:
To encourage foreign investments in information technology, policies shall be adopted to allow foreign investors to enter into joint-venture enterprises or set up wholly foreign-owned companies to produce and provide services and products, both hardware and software, of information technology, and to give them the most preferential possible treatments (according to the Law on Foreign Investment) in terms of taxes, such as tax reduction or exemption, reduction of income taxes and taxes on profit repatriation, preferential treatments in land rent and other legal privileges. The Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment, together with the State Committee on Cooperation and Investment, shall consider and approve foreign-invested projects on information technology in accordance with the above-said policies of the State for information technology development.
6. Policies to support and mobilize capital for development of information technology:
It is necessary to mobilize multiple sources of potentials and financial resources into building and developing information technology. In the initial stage, the State shall provide capital investment for the main programs and projects. In the ensuing years, more capital shall be mobilized from other sources, especially from production and business units of different economic sectors. The State Planning Committee shall preside over and coordinate with the Ministry of Finance, the State Committee for Cooperation and Investment and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment, in designing policies and plans to support and mobilize capital for the development of information technology in accordance with the following principles:
- The State shall invest, and shall not withdraw, capital in the implementation of plans to introduce information technology into State management and national security and defense, and plans for education, training and popularization of information technology. Part of the investment shall go into research and development.
- The State shall organize business and investment in the building of the infrastructure of information technology such as the infrastructure for computer-aided telecommunications and for information technology industry. The State shall invest in building initial material bases with a view to attracting foreign investment into hi-tech parks, including those of information technology. The State shall also make direct investments in, or set up joint-ventures with foreign partners for, developing a number of information-assessing centers at national level.
To encourage different economic sectors to make their own investments in applying information technology to business, production and servicing activities. The Ministry of Finance shall preside over and coordinate with the State Planning Committee, the State Bank, the Ministry of Trade and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment in studying and adopting policies and regimes to encourage economic sectors to take an increasingly greater part in developing and applying information technology.
To facilitate the implementation of these policies, the annual budget of the National Program for Information Technology shall be made a separate item in the State budget and shall be reviewed annually as part of the national budgetary program.
7. The policy for protection of intellectual property and copyright:
The protection of intellectual property and copyright in information technology, especially regarding software products, is a requirement that must be respected in order to create a healthy environment for the development of information technology in our country.
Resolution No.49-CP points out clearly that the Government of Vietnam is prepared to accede to international conventions related to technology transfer and intellectual property in the field of information technology. The State has passed the Ordinance on Protection of Copyright and Intellectual Property. In that spirit, the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment shall, in coordination with the Ministry of Culture and Information, draft and submit to the Government for promulgation the concrete regulations on the implementation of that Ordinance in the field of information technology.