Monthly minimum wage for public officers in Vietnam will rise to VND1.49 million (US$64) at the beginning of July next year, 7.2% increase from current VND1.39 million (US$60). Monthly wage of State President will also rise from VND18.07 million (US$780) to VND19.37 million (US$830). It is about 1/20 of Japanese Prime Minister’s monthly wage and is a very small amount even considering different price levels of the two countries.
Wage of each official is calculated by multiplying the minimum wage by the coefficient of his or her title. The coefficient for President is 13 and that for Chairperson for National Assembly or Prime Minister is 12.5, meaning their monthly wage is about VND18.625 million (US$800). As the rank goes down, the coefficient becomes smaller. The wage for General Secretary of Communist Party is said to be the same as that of President.. It is not clear whether General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, who concurrently serves as President from October, receives the wage for each position.
Even though public officials can enjoy certain benefits like housings, the monthly minimum wage for private sector will be VND4.18 million (US$180) from January 2019 in big cities such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, and the present average income in banking industry is said to be above VND10 million (US$430) per month.
The excessively low wage can lead to drain of talents from the public sector as well as to corruptions. Streamlining administrative operations at the national and local levels and improving wages for public officials are pressing issues.
(Akihide Mori, Vietnam watcher)