Nguyen Minh Quang, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, told the Viet Nam Economics Times that constitutional changes must safeguard the rights of the people.
Some people have argued that amendments to the 1992 Constitution should not include the idea that the Government has the right to revoke land for socio-economic development projects, unless it is a special case. What's your point of view on this?
Socio-economic development projects are varied in scope and scale. Some of them are at the macro level and in service of the national strategy for socio-economic development. With such important projects, the Government should confiscate land. If in the proposed draft Constitution, we don't deal with such circumstances, I think the Government will become "hand-tied". I have to concede that recently land confiscation in many localities was not fair to farmers or people who have been granted certificates to use those plots. In many cases, people involved in revoking land have abused loopholes in the policy to make profits.
To overcome such a weakness, it is important to spell out in what circumstances land can be revoked, such as for national defence or security projects, for public projects and others.
In addition, land confiscation should be based on land use planning which has been approved by authorised agencies.
Land ownership is a hot issue in Viet Nam. Will you please elaborate on the phrase saying "land belongs to the people" in our existing land law?
We have received many comments on the issue of land ownership. Some people say that Viet Nam should accept the concept of multi-land ownership.
Others argue that land should be privatised. However, in my view, land ownership is a complicated and sensitive issue. We have to think about it carefully before making a final decision.
Regarding the existing land ownership right — land belongs to the people and the State acts as the sole representative of the people in land management. This is in line with our policy of a "socialist-oriented market economy". It is also an acknowledgement of the revolutionary ideas concerning our nation's land issues.
I have to say this land ownership right has helped to stabilise land relationships and maintain socio-political stability in our country. This is a prerequisite for national development.
Further more, the people's land ownership right does not hinder the land use rights of an organisation or individual.
Can you talk some changes in land ownership rights in the upcoming revised Land Law?
In the amendments to the existing Land Law, we have paid more attention to people's rights on their land. For example, when their land is confiscated, the Government will support them in resettlement or land for production, in addition to fnancial compensation. Of course, the whole process will be carried out in a democratic manner and information disclosure.
Do you think the new revised law will help to reduce the present problem of land petitions and denunciation?
There are various reasons leading to land petitions, including the poor performance of relevant government agencies. It is not simply by law.
Of course, if we have a good law it will help a lot. But we need to find measures to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of all government agencies which are involved in land management.
To reduce petitions or denunciations relating to land disputes is an important objective in revising the existing law. However, another objective, which is also very important, is to meet the nation's requirements on the path of socio-economic development, modernisation and industrialisation. — VNS