Head of the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry's Legal Department, Dau Anh Tuan, spoke to Hai Quan (Customs) newspaper about legal regulations that affect local enterprises.
What are your thoughts on our current system of legal documents?
Our system of legal documents can be described as a funnel. While laws are considered to be transparent and seem to be easy to implement, the instruction and guiding documents are obscure. As a result, guiding documents which have direct influence on businesses fail to convey their message.
In addition, there is a gap between legal documents and reality. These are the two common features in our current system of legal documents.
Over the last two years, under the legal framework, the National Assembly and the government issued many innovative legal documents including Constitution 2013 which helps to affirm business freedom.
In 2014, the National Assembly also passed two important laws: the amended Law on Enterprises and Law on Investment. The government has also issued two regulations on enhancing the business environment and improving national competitiveness.
The policies and efforts made by the National Assembly and the government have shown an innovative mindset, however how they are implemented still falls short.
What does "The ten best and worst regulations" voting aim at?
We have dreamed of this initiative coming into being for a while. One of the most important targets we have set is to improve legal regulations in the business environment.
This will be a channel for enterprises to raise their voice and where policy makers can listen. By publicising the good and bad regulations, the authorities will be aware of the effectiveness of the regulations and make prompt adjustments.
What do you think about the fact that businesses' feedback is often not listened to?
Feedback on regulations can be made in many forms. Enterprises may report directly to the government or via VCCI or in forums held by VCCI and ministries. It is essential to create a channel by which enterprises' feedback on legal regulations are heard and conveyed to relevant agencies.
A vote for the best and worst regulations is expected to be held frequently and be actively participated in by enterprises. While launching this initiative, we are aware of the fact that in Viet Nam, while praise is welcomed, people find it difficult to accept criticism and expect that some ministries may react adversely to the initiative.
However, our approach is to base on evidence, facts, specific examples and analysis of reasons why some regulations are bad and more importantly, we will suggest solutions and recommendations from enterprises.
By making criticisms based on evidence and in a constructive manner, we hope the initiative will help to make progressive improvements for legal documents.
On what criteria will the voting be based?
We have carefully studied this. We refer to OECD' and developed countries' standards. One important criteria is the legality of the regulations. Consistency is another criteria. In some cases, legal documents released by a ministry may have stipulations conflicting that by another ministry, which causes overlap and difficulties in implementation.
Other criteria include feasibility. There is one regulation which stipulates that if a pig farm has more than 1,000 pigs it's wastewater must meet A standard which is safe for human use. Enterprises have complained about this as even when they invest in the most advanced technology in wastewater treatment, they will fail to have wastewater meet that quality. In fact, the A standard is much higher than the one set by other advanced countries.
The regulation on the quality of wastewater is not feasible. The most concerning thing is that there are some regulations that apply international standards while most enterprises fail to reach the standards.
How is voting done?
There are three major phases. The nomination phase will last from now till the end of this month. Enterprises, associations and individuals are eligible to propose regulations that they consider good or bad. The judging phase will be participated in by nearly 30 experts in different aspects and about 30 short listed good regulations and 30 bad regulations will be selected based on expert analysis.
In the voting phase, experts will release the short list of regulations and eligible business associations will vote. We have a list of 400 business associations, which represents all sectors. A list of the ten best and ten worst regulations will be announced. We will encourage local people to participate in voting via Internet. Individuals will account for 30 per cent while associations account for 70 per cent. — VNS