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Administrative fines should be educational

Update: August, 29/2016 - 09:00
Vũ Văn Hải.
Viet Nam News

Vũ Văn Hải, deputy director of the Legal Department of the General Department of Customs, spoke to the newspaper Kinh tế & Đô thị (Economic and Urban Affairs) on some changes in Government Decree 45 on administrative sanctions.

What are the changes in Decree 45 compared with Decree 127 issued in 2013?

Decree 45 came into force on August 1st, 2016 while the Việt Nam Customs Law 2014 came into force on January 1, 2015. In other words, the laws, together with other guiding documents on how to implement them have been in practice for about 18 months.

In a fast changing world, we deem it necessary to make some changes to Decree 127 and Circular 190 which was issued in the year 2013 to make them conform to reality.

This is the reason why Decree 45 was issued to facilitate the implementation of Customs Law 2014 and to supplement Decree 127 on how to deal with customs violations.

Hopefully, the coming into force of Decree 45 will help to solve a few regulation inadequacies written into Government Decree 127, particularly the provisions on handling administrative violations and measures to overcome consequences.

Will you please explain the changes in the sanctioning mechanism that is written in Decree 45?

I should say that one of the purposes of the adjustment in the sanctioning mechanism is to respond to the nature of the violations. On the other hand, the sanctions should serve as a deterrent measure to prevent such acts happening again.

I just want to give you an example on the wrongful reclaim of VAT for no actual export activity. The highest fine could be up to VNĐ80 million (US$3,587) in a serious case. In a more serious case like importing or exporting prohibited goods, the goods will be confiscated.

In short, the key objective of the issuance of Decree 45 is to bring it in line with the Customs Law 2014 while ensuring that the decree is an effective deterrent tool to prevent future wrongful acts. However, the decree decides to reduce the fine on acts of refusing to co-operate with customs officers in their tax inspections or checking from VNĐ10-20 million to VNĐ2-4 million as it was regulated in Government Decree 167 which was issued in 2013.

Many people have expressed their anxiety on the decision to cut down on administrative fines. How do you respond to that?

I don’t think the decision will affect the ultimate purpose of preventing people from violating the law. To impose any administrative fine, we should look at the nature of that violation and see how other laws treat such a similar violation. We want our legal system to reach its goal of efficiency and effectiveness. - VNS



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