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Lawmakers agree to issue law on public investment

Update: September, 24/2013 - 07:40
In his closing remarks, NA Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung, who presided over the two-week session, said the sitting will take place from October 21 to November 26. He stressed the need for relevant agencies to work closely with each other to complete documents and reports scheduled to be submitted in time for the upcoming session. —VNA/VNS Photo

HA NOI (VNS)— Lawmakers have agreed to issue the Law on Public Investment to improve the efficiency of public investment in line with the country's socio-economic development plan, while also meeting the demand for economic restructuring.

The draft law was discussed at the 21th session of the National Assembly Standing Committee yesterday.

Public investment using State capital sources has led to some problems in the past, such as the approval of investment plans and decisions without considering capital balance ability and scattered investment allocation, thus leading to prolonged implementation, ineffective investment and wastefulness, say lawmakers.

The implementation of projects exceeding their capital allocation plans still occur, causing outstanding debts in infrastructure construction, thereby putting pressure on the State budget at all levels.

The lack of a comprehensive legal system, particularly in the shortage of supervision and management measures and mechanisms, is a key factor behind these problems.

The NA Standing Committee said the law's issuance should have a strong impact on the investment restructure process, tightening discipline on public investment and resolutely handling the shortcomings that remain in State management of public investment, particularly in investment plan decisions, investment preparedness and capital allocation.

However, some participants still wonder if the new law will be consistent with existing and related laws already in the legal system, such as the Laws on State budget, investment, construction, bidding and land. These existing regulations have been the legal basis nationwide for investment management in general and public investment in particular.

The NA Standing Committee proposed that the compiling board first review and check existing laws and also draft laws to create cohesion and comprehensiveness within the legal system.

Chairman of the NA Law Committee Phan Trung Ly pointed out the need to clarify the difference between the draft law on public investment and the laws on State budget, construction, bidding and, particularly, the law on State capital management.

The NA Standing Committee requires that the law on public investment deal with issues such jurisdiction, to decide investment plans for public programmes and projects; medium-term investment plans; foundations for investment decision making; and bidding prices.

Minister of Planning and Investment Bui Quang Vinh said the law basically has no entanglements with existing laws. The law's adjusted scope focuses on regulating the whole process of managing and using public investment sources from the State budget, Government bonds, local bonds, Official Development Assistance capital sources and preferential loans from donors, and development investment credits from the State and other sources, he said. If the law is issued, it would help to minimise scattered and prolonged capital allocation, Vinh said, adding that under the law, projects without capital would not be allowed to be implemented.

The law will also regulate the responsibilities of related individuals and organisations as well as provide a punishment mechanism for violations relating to public investment, he added.

Standing Committee closes

The NA Standing Committee wrapped up its 21st session yesterday after preparing the agenda for the sixth session of the National Assembly next month - the last sitting of 2013.

In his closing remarks, NA Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung, who presided over the two-week session, said the sitting will take place from October 21 to November 26. He stressed the need for relevant agencies to work closely with each other to complete documents and reports scheduled to be submitted in time for the upcoming session.

The committee members also commented on the amended draft Law on Construction for the first time yesterday. According to Construction Minister Trinh Dinh Dung, the amended law stipulates the rights and obligations of organisations and individuals investing in construction projects.

Lawmakers agreed on the need to heighten the role, validity and efficiency of state management for investments in construction. They also suggested learning from the experiences of Russia, China, the Republic of Korea and Japan in this field when compiling amendments to the law.

Lawmakers discuss poverty

The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs will continue providing poor people with vocational training and credit support next year alongside other measures to reduce poverty.

The minimum wage for next year was being decided in line with regulations, Minister Pham Thi Hai Chuyen told members of the NA Committee for Social Affairs at its sixth session which opened yesterday.

The National Wages Council was studying a wage increase road map for businesses that would likely be submitted to the Government this month and go into effect next year, she said.

The ministry reported creating jobs for more than 992,000 people so far this year, including over 54,000 migrant workers who travelled to other countries. The figure is expected to increase to 1.5 million by the year-end, fulfilling 96.25 per cent of the annual target.

The number of poor households is expected to decline to 7.6-7.8 per cent by the year-end from 9.6 per cent in 2012. Currently there are over 2.1 million such households.

Regular expenses of the State budget managed by the ministry this year topped VND608 billion ($28.8 million) while expenses for national target programmes and master plans approved by the Prime Minister reached more than VND883 billion ($41.8 million).

During the three-day working session, participants will also discuss health ministry budget collection and disbursement estimates for 2014 and reports on draft amendments to the Law on Employment and the Law on Marriage and Family. — VNS

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