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Law to give new life to co-ops

Update: June, 20/2012 - 09:35

 

Workers of Hoa Loi Co-operative in the northern province of Lao Cai operate a modern production line to bottle chilli sauce, a popular speciality of the province. — VNA/VNS Photo Trong Dat
HA NOI — Lawmakers agreed that the co-operative was a collective economic organisation that should be treated the same as other economic organisations, at yesterday's discussion on the revised draft co-operative law at the third session of the 13th National Assembly.

Deputies said the promulgation of the revised co-operative law would improve the quality of co-operative management and boost the healthy and sustainable development of the economy.

"The co-operative is an organisation of people in disadvantaged positions who are farmers, craftsmen, small traders or medium-andlow-income consumers who cannot compete with other rivals in the market economy," Deputy Tran Du Lich, from HCM City, said.

"The law promulgation aims to create mechanisms and policies in helping co-operative members overcome difficulties, existing and developing," Lich said.

Meanwhile, Nguyen Huu Quang, from Thanh Hoa Province, said the co-operative should be defined as a priority form of enterprise.

Quang said the current rate of enterprise income tax for co-operatives was 20 per cent compared to 25 per cent for other enterprises.

"Enterprise income tax for co-operatives should be at a priority rate of between 10-15 per cent of profit," he added.

A Government statement said the contribution of the co-operative economy to GDP had reduced by half in the past 15 years, from nearly 11 per cent in 1995 to 5.22 per cent in 2010. The economic growth rate of co-operatives was half of the country's economic growth rate.

Deputy Nguyen Thanh Tung, from Binh Dinh Province, said that capital shortage for investment and development was the biggest problem for agricultural co-operatives in the country. Money for the investment fund of a co-operative in Binh Dinh Province was very modest, at about VND40-50 million (US$2,000 to $2,500) per year.

"I would like to propose the NA to exempt enterprises in agricultural co-operatives from income tax in order to help them accumulate capital for investment and development in the current situation of capital shortage," Tung said.

Deputy Huynh Huu Nghia, from Da Nang City, said the draft of the revised law should set out that a co-operative operated as an enterprise as regulated in the Law on Co-operatives that was adopted in 2003. Because co-operatives operate as a specific enterprise that works similarly to other enterprises and have the right to do business in fields that are not prohibited by current laws and regulations, many deputies said that it was necessary to classify co-operative forms, for example in industry, services or business fields. From that, the Government would have policies and priorities to support co-operatives' development.

Deputy Dang Thi Kim Chi, from Phu Yen Province, suggested that it was necessary to establish a co-operative supporting system legally, such as the land and income tax laws.

Deputies Huynh Van Tiep, from Can Tho City, and Nguyen Thi Thu Hang, from Nam Dinh Province, said the law should regulate priority policies or a support fund for specific co-operative forms, especially home crafts, agricultural co-operatives or those in mountainous and remote areas.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development reported that the country had 14,500 co-operatives, of which more than 9,000 were agricultural co-operatives with 6.7 million of members. The average capital of an agricultural co-operative was VND816 million (approximately $39,000).

Discussing the revised law on lawyers, deputies agreed that lawyers guilty of criminal misconduct should be prohibited from practising law.

Most NA deputies opposed permitting law lecturers at universities to practise law. Deputies said that law lecturers could not meet the demands of working in an independent job as cases often lasted months if not years.

They also pointed out that Viet Nam had set itself the goal of having 20,000 skilled lawyers by 2020.

The NA's statement said that the quantity and quality of lawyers hadn't met the country's needs. The number of lawyers per head of population was very modest (only 1.2/12,000 people), deputies pointed out. Only 1.2 per cent of the total of more than 7,000 lawyers could meet the demands of international integration, they said. — VNS

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