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Local government under review

Update: September, 06/2014 - 09:47

A draft of the Law on Local Administration rethinks the infrastructure of local jurisdictions, Head of the Institute of Legislative Studies, Dinh Xuan Thao, told Hai Quan (Customs) newspaper.

Will you please elaborate on the local administration model in the draft Law on Local Administration?

The draft law introduces two models. In the first model, People's Councils at the precinct/ward level will be abolished, and the local People's Committee will be the only organisation representing the higher People's Committees in a locality. However, special administrative units will come under a separate law.

In the second model, People's Councils will continue to be present at precinct/ward level.

In other words, one of the objectives of the law is to make amendments to the People's Councils and the People's Committees to institutionalise the 2013 Constitution, particularly the point of view on decent-ralisation and empowerment of local organisations to enable them to maximise their own resources and potential.

Each locality may develop its own model of administration to suit the area most effectively.

Regarding the first model, the precinct/ward People's Committees will have to play two roles as an executive and a legislative body that used to be the responsibility of People's Councils.

Does that mean you support the first model?

Yes. But we should not use the name People's Committee. It should be given a new name so that people will be able to differentiate.

Do you think the new model may cause difficulties for the political system, including the Party and legislative organisations?

The 2013 Constitution has opened the door for this flexible change. In my opinion, it does not affect the organisation of either the Party or organisations. Of course, the legislative agency will still operate independently from the administrative body.

What about areas that are affiliated to cities that come under central control?

That sounds very complicated and may cause confusion. We must think of a special name. For example, the name "city within a city" or "mini city". This model has been proposed by HCM City. In its proposal, the city will have four mini cities.

In this model, mini cities will be equivalent to a district administrative unit. However, their management apparatus will be bigger than a district unit. That's why they will have more responsibility, and staff salaries will be higher than their district peers

Does this mean mini cities will only have an executive body, and that body will have to do some of the jobs of a legislative body, That's right! So will a mini city's jurisdiction be higher than a district unit?

Some of the tasks that are currently performed by cities affiliated to the central Government will be transferred to mini cities, such as healthcare and education.

In the case of HCM City, work related to foreigners may be transferred to its four mini cities.

What is needed to help this model succeed?

The most important condition is a clear decent-ralisation practice. Responsibilities must be clearly defined. Job descriptions must be clear for central and local Governments.

We also need clear differentiation between urban and rural areas so that we can come up with specific criteria to decide where the model should be applied. — VNS


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