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NA debates draft anti-terrorism law

Update: May, 22/2013 - 09:29

Most deputies agreed that the establishment of the steering committees on anti-terrorism at national and provincial levels was reasonable and suitable with the country's current developments.— Illustrative image/Photo chaobuoisang

HA NOI (VNS) — National Assembly deputies yesterday discussed the draft Anti-terrorism Law, debating international co-operation in this area and measures such as the establishment and operation of the steering committees of anti-terrorism.

The draft law is scheduled to be submitted for the NA's approval by the end of the month-long session starting from Monday.

Nguyen Kim Khoa, head of the NA National Defence and Security Committee, said terrorism around the world had seen complicated developments, and had a serious impact on the security and politics of many countries.

Although no international terrorism organisations have been detected in Viet Nam, high risks remain. So, it is necessary to soon approve the law on anti-terrorism, said Khoa.

Most deputies agreed that the establishment of the steering committees on anti-terrorism at national and provincial levels was reasonable and suitable with the country's current developments.

Deputy Nguyen Van Minh from northern Bac Kan Province said the committees should be established to ensure regular training and guidance for security forces.

They suggested that the committees also take legal responsibility for declaring which cases are regarded as terrorism. Smooth co-ordination among sectors and agencies in anti-terrorism activities was also necessary.

Khoa said that to avoid recruitment of more staff, the law should clearly define that the national steering committee on anti-terrorism is formed by the Government and the provincial-level committees by the provincial-level People's Committees. Members of the committees should hold more than one office concurrently.

These committees should be responsible for appointing the commander of anti-terrorism activities when terrorism occurs in an area, said Khoa.

However, deputy Nguyen Anh Son from northern Nam Dinh Province asked if more specific regulations in the law were required to ensure quick responses to terrorist activities in public places.

For example, the headmaster of a school should be responsible for managing anti-terrorism activities when terrorism takes place at his school until there is an appointment and assistance from the steering committee, he said.

Many deputies said it is not necessary to establish a specialised force for anti-terrorism activities, as it was better to entrust the task to current forces, which can train their staff and equip themselves with the necessary facilities.

Khoa said the NA Standing Committee suggested that the law should regulate that anti-terrorism forces include the two main pillars of the ministries of National Defence and Public Security and other supporting forces which will be mobilised if required.

Deputies also said international co-operation was necessary as terrorism is a transnational issue.

However, they suggested strict regulations on international co-operation activities in this field to avoid turning the country into the target of international terrorism organisations.

Deputies expressed their concerns over ensuring funds for anti-terrorism activities.

NA deputies yesterday also discussed the draft amended law on Fire Prevention and Fighting.

General Tran Dai Quang, minister of Public Security, said the amended law has settled the shortcomings of the current legislation which has been in force since 2001.

For example, the law regulates the responsibilities of leaders of agencies, institutions and families for fire prevention and fighting and the requirements of businesses related to fire prevention.

If fires are the result of a lack of responsibility from leaders, it is the leaders that have to pay for fire fighting activities and compensate for losses, he said.

Tax also discussed

National Assembly deputies also worked in a group to discuss two draft bills on amendments to the Valued Added Tax Law and Corporate Income Tax Law.

Deputies said that the tax laws needed to create a favourable investment environment for production and business.

Most deputies agreed that in four years of implementation, the Corporate Income Tax Law will gradually reduce the general tax rate, help businesses reduce tax obligations, increase business turnover, create equal taxation for local businesses and FDI enterprises and encourage technological innovation.

Under the draft bill for the revised Corporate Income Tax Law, starting next January, a general tax rate of 22 per cent will be applied. The existing Corporate Income Tax Law applies a general tax rate of 25 per cent, which will continue to be reduced to 20 per cent in January 2016.

Businesses employing less than 200 employees with sales of VND20 billion per year will be subject to a general tax rate of 20 per cent at the beginning of July this year. This will be reduced to 17 per cent in January, 2016.

Deputy Tran Du Lich from HCM City said to reduce the tax rate from 25 per cent to 22 and 20 per cent was reasonable. He noted that many loss-making businesses could not afford tax. For instance, in HCM City, only 30 per cent of businesses were able to pay tax.

Lich said reducing corporate income tax in 2014 and 2016 would help avoid a sudden decline in State revenue.

Regarding the draft bill on amendments to the revised Valued Added Tax Law, most deputies agreed that VAT calculations to apply a turnover-based threshold for VAT registration was reasonable and consistent with the characteristics and specific conditions of Viet Nam. They said this would help save costs and tax collections.

The threshold will likely be about VND1 billion (US$47,620). All businesses with turnover above this threshold must pay VAT under the credit method, while those with less turnover will pay taxes under direct calculation of value added.

Deputy Tran Nguyet Huong of Ha Noi said the draft bill needed considering to offer a lower turnover-based threshold for VAT registration because the number of businesses being subject to this threshold was huge. On the other hand, the Law had not yet shown any progress in the management of VAT, she noted.

Most deputies agreed with the VAT refund in Clause 7 of Article 1, saying that the draft bill would raise the minimum amount of input tax so as to assist businesses to enjoy VAT refunds of between VND200-VND500 million for their investment and exports activities.

However, deputies asked for stricter regulations for those eligible to enjoy VAT refunds so as to avoid tax fraud that would cause losses to State revenue.

The draft bill also stipulates VAT reduction for social housing sale or leases. It intends to slash 50 per cent of value-added tax for social housing sale or leases from July 1 this year to June 30 next year

This is a temporarily solution to help remove difficulties of the property market, therefore the Government proposes a time of 12 months only.

The draft bill defines social housing as housing or finished apartments with area under 70sq.m and price of under VND15 million per sq. metre.

Most deputies agreed with the draft bill and said the reduction of 50 per cent of VAT would help ease difficulties for the frozen property market and assist those who have a real demand for housing while stimulating demand and reducing inventories in the real estate industry.

For VAT reduction for social housing, deputies Nguyet Huong, Nguyen Minh Quang and Dinh Xuan Thao of Ha Noi and Tran Ngoc Vinh from northern Hai Phong city said that the duration was quite short. They proposed to extend the duration of this policy to the end of 2014. — VNS



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