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Proposed Planning Law: revolutionary way of thinking

Update: April, 13/2017 - 09:55
Minister of Planning Nguyễn Chí Dũng. — Photo baodautu.vn

Minister of Planning Nguyễn Chí Dũng talks to Thời báo Kinh tế Việt Nam (Việt Nam Economic Times) about the importance of the Planning Law to national development.

The latest draft of the Planning Law is getting mixed reviews. How do you respond?

In my opinion, the difficulty we are facing in revising the Planning Law this time is its revolutionary way of thinking.

I should say the revised law this time is a reflection of the country’s success in implementing its renewal policy, which was adopted at the 6th National Party Congress in 1986. At the same time, the law must be in conformity with international practices and ensure rapid and sustainable national economic deveopment. What’s also important is that the law is effective in eliminating the phenomenon of people doing whatever they like, regardless of the law.

We all agree that adopting a new way of doing things is always difficult. It is high time for us to give up old and less effective ways of thinking and adopt new ways of doing things for the betterment of the country and the people. We don’t want to be left behind in the regional or global arena.

Would you please elaborate about the idea of integrated planning in the draft law?

Integration in planning is indispensable. Adopting the idea of integrated planning, which has been applied internationally, will help us come up with strategic planning. A comprehensively strategic framework, in turn, will help promote the exploitation, improvement and conservation of our natural resources, including the land.

If we continue to use the old planning system as a tool in our management and operation, I’m sure that we will not be able to tap all the potential of our natural resources in the cause of national development. Worse still, we will weaken our country’s competitive edge in the international market. Planning is not for management. It is an effective tool in exploring and using all available resources for development.

Why did you decide not to change your point of view despite some criticism?

There are several reasons. But the biggest one I should mention is that our present planning policy is inadequate and has many shortcomings. I just want to mention three main weaknesses.

First, there are many planning papers in Việt Nam, but their quality is weak, due to poor linkages between what’s written and the resources available for implementation.

Second, the demand for land for agricultural production and for industry development is increasing rapidly, while land areas are limited. As a result, in many localities it has led to conflicts.

To solve this problem, we need integrated planning to create a close and systematic linkage between different localities, sectors and others. I’m pretty sure that such a method of planning is feasible.

Finally, Resolution No.13 of the Party Central Committee issued on Jan.16. 2012 already mentioned the need to have a Planning Law that can regulate/adjust any legal document. That’s why when the new Planning Law is adopted by the National Assembly it will provide a legal corridor for an integrated and comprehensive planning method.

How do you respond to the Ministry of Construction’s argument that under the proposed law, it will take at least 7 or 8 years to complete the process of integration of all relevant laws and will have a negative impact on the country’s socio-economic development?

I agree that this is a demanding job. But we have to do it. It is time for us to start now.

While drafting the Planning Law, we already touched upon the suitable timing for the integration of various laws relating to planning. A key objective is not to create a big change in State management of planning activities.

We have also asked the Government to base its new development plans for the 2021-2030 period on the new Planning Law.

I’m sure if all the localities strictly implement our guidelines, there will be no legal void before the Planning Law comes into force.— VNS

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