HA NOI — Top lawmakers have agreed on fines up to VND2billion (US$96,000) for companies and organisations who violate civil laws and regulations, a five-fold increase over the current fine.
The penalty was among those discussed on the first day of the 7th session of the National Assembly Standing Committee yesterday, which is focusing on the draft Law on Administrative Punishments.
The draft law will come up for ratification by the National Assembly next month.
Under the Standing Committee proposal, individual violators may be fined VND50,000-1 billion ($2.40 to $48,000) – from minor breaches, such as traffic infringements, to major events like industrial pollution – while companies and organisations may be fined up to VND2 billion. However, not everyone agreed the fines were adequate.
"The fine of VND2 billion for collective violators (companies and organisations) sometimes means nothing to them," said Chairman of the NA Committee on Finance and Budget Phung Quoc Hien. "I recommend we set a higher fine."
NA deputy chairwoman Tong Thi Phong called for a detailed framework on fine rates.
"There might be one, two or even three levels of punishments for repeat offenders," she said.
Phong also asked for more rights of local People's Councils to join in discussions and decisions on administrative fines specifically for their localities.
"This also should be stated clearly in the law," she said
Answering comments from members on whether the maximum VND2 billion fine was too low for environmental protection violations, NA Deputy Chairman Uong Chu Luu said the proposed fine was five times higher than the current one.
Under current regulations, only the centrally-governed cities of Ha Noi, HCM City, Da Nang, Can Tho and Hai Phong qualify to have their fines increased.
However, the Standing Committee discussed whether to apply the higher civil fines to other cities, particularly regarding regulations on inner city transport, environment and urban management.
Chairman of the NA Economic Committee Tran Van Giau suggested adding fine increases to provincial cities of Nha Trang, Ha Long and Hue. He said the consequences of violations in high-population cities could be worse than in smaller cities.
Chairwoman of the NA Committee for Social Affairs Truong Thi Mai agreed and recommended higher fines for environmental and urban management violations.
"For instance, we need to be stricter on inner-city noise or litter violations," Mai said. "For urban management, we should add regulations to prevent fighting and domestic violence."
The Standing Committee decided to leave the discussion on imposing higher fines on other cities to the National Assembly.
Regarding a draft regulation that the Government be allowed to adjust maximum fines to take account of price fluctuations, the Standing Committee decided that because the fines had an impact on citizens' basic rights, only the National Assembly had the authority to adjust them.
However, some members said the Government should still have a role in deciding the fines, which was in accordance with the NA's resolution.
The committee ruled that all remaining concerns be discussed at the NA meeting next month.
The Standing Committee will be in session for 10 days. — VNS