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Revised laws pass National Assembly

Update: November, 21/2012 - 15:32

HA NOI (VNS)— The National Assembly yesterday passed the amended Law on Electricity, which would make electricity pricing more open and transparent.

The amended law stipulates that the retail electrical rates would be determined by the market but would be adjusted if necessary by the Government. The Government would continue subsidising rates for poor households and those under the Government social programmes.

Electricity rates would also be required to take into account constant changes in the market and other factors, such as exchange rates, weather and reservoir levels. Plans for electricity development would also need to take into account renewable energies such as wind and nuclear energy.

Lawmakers also yesterday passed an amended Law on the Legal Profession. Under the changes, foreign lawyers associations already operating lawfully abroad would be allowed to operate in Viet Nam. Foreign law firms would also be required to have at least two foreign lawyers working in Viet Nam at least 183 days.

The amended Law on Tax Management was also passed yesterday, classifying businesses in order to apply regulations related to tax exemptions and extensions. The National Assembly also approved the Law on Publishing, which continues to ban private ownership of publishing houses.

Law makers agreed that reforming financial mechanisms would lay a vital foundation for the country's science and technology development and international integration during the National Assembly's 4th session yesterday.

Discussing the draft of a revised law on science and technology, most deputies agreed that the Law on Science and Technology passed in 2000 should be revised, since many articles were out of date given the rapid development of science and technology.

"In order for the country to successfully achieve industrialisation and modernisation, the revised law should actively force change in the country's scientific and technological activities," stressed deputy Tran Du Lich from HCM City.

Lich said that science and technology should serve the country's industrialisation, so the law should include an article that regulates how financial resources for science and technology development are mobilised.

Lich also supported deputies who made the case that the State Budget should support only basic scientific research centres, while the remainder would be funded by other sources. The State Budget, he said, should provide at most 30 per cent of the total budget for science and technology.

Deputy Bui Thi An from Ha Noi agreed with Lich that the Government should support only basic scientific research units, national security and defence. An suggested establishing a national science and technology council that could take a leading role in deciding scientific and technological policies for the country.

The revised law is expected to create a clear road for scientific activities by changing the management structure from administrative mechanisms to fund management mechanisms.

Deputy Huynh Thanh Dat from HCM City and Huynh Van Minh from Quang Ninh Province agreed that at least 2 per cent of the State Budget's spending or 5 per cent of the country's GDP would be invested in science and technology.

Deputy Nguyen Thanh Phuong from Tra Vinh Province suggested that the revised law should add policies that attract talented foreign scientists to work in scientific and research organisations in Viet Nam.

Many deputies said that enterprises should spend 10 per cent of profits on science and technology. Priority should be given to research projects while an exemption from import taxes should be given to technological facilities that haven't yet produced in Viet Nam. — VNS

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