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Lawmakers adjust environmental law

Update: September, 20/2013 - 08:19
Recently emerging issues such as climate change, environmental security and green growth have also created a need for changes to the law. Many members of the NA Standing Committee agreed that further study should be made to avoid overlapping between the law on environmental protection and other related laws such as laws on water resources, forest protection and development, natural disaster prevention and food safety and hygiene.— VNA/VNS Photo

HA NOI (VNS)— Lawmakers yesterday agreed to adjust the law on environmental protection to make it work better. This was decided at the on-going 21st session of the National Assembly Standing Committee.

The law, put into effect in 2005, is credited with helping to create positive changes in environmental protection activities.

However, lawmakers said it should be made more effective and an important legal tool in preserving the environment for sustainable development and to provide better living conditions for people.

Recently emerging issues such as climate change, environmental security and green growth have also created a need for changes to the law.

Chairman of the Committee for Ethnic Minorities, Ksor Phuoc, said regulations relating to the provision of power should be made clearer together with the obligation of organisations and individuals in environment protection.

The draft law should have regulations to encourage people to fight and denounce people and organisations violating environmental laws, he said.

Chairman of the NA Committee for Justice, Nguyen Van Hien, proposed changing the time limit for charging companies with breaking the laws.

He said that under the Civil Code, people could only start a lawsuit asking for compensation for damage caused by environmental pollution within two years of the day their interests were affected.

This, however, failed to meet real conditions as damage caused by environmental protection might not be discovered for many years.

Chairman of the NA Law Committee, Phan Trung Ly, noted that the compiling board should carefully check the draft law to avoid introducing regulations that did not work.

Many members of the NA Standing Committee agreed that further study should be made to avoid overlapping between the law on environmental protection and other related laws such as laws on land, energy, water resources, forest protection and development, natural disaster prevention and food safety and hygiene.

Public finance

Yesterday, in his report to the National Assembly Standing Committee, Finance Minister Dinh Tien Dung said the Government had successfully enacted measures as part of the Law on Thrift Practising and Waste Combating.

He said inspectors had carried out more than 1,350 assessments on public finance management in the first six months of this year, uncovering more than VND1.290 trillion (US$61 million) in budget violations.

"The Government has also focused on instructing all government agencies to curb spending in areas such as buying cars or other State properties," Dung said.

Phung Quoc Hien, chairman of the NA Committee on Finance and Budget, praised the Government's efforts in reducing the number of conferences, opening ceremonies and State money used to send Government staff overseas.

The NA also estimated that adjustments in provincial and locality budgets could save another VND3.080 trillion ($146 million) this year.

However, the NA committee warned that progress in reforming wasteful spending on construction and refinancing State-owned companies was still slow. Hien said he found the inefficient use of seaports in some areas concerning and contributing to public waste.

Kso Phuoc, chairman of the NA Committee on Ethnic Affairs, said the Government report was not clear in pinpointing the localities that were not effective in curbing spending.

"We've seen that many provincial departments occupy large and luxurious buildings while the surrounding area is poor and under-developed. I believe that wasteful public spending is far more serious that what's been said," Phuoc said.

NA Vice Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan suggested that the Government should identify specific localities and provinces with poor records so that NA representatives in those areas could increase budget oversight.

The NA Standing Committee also discussed the revised Law on Thrift Practising and Waste Combating, to be debated at the NA general session this October. — VNS

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