Đặng Huy Đông, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment, talks to the newspaper Thời báo Kinh tế Việt Nam (Việt Nam Economic Times) about why approval of the Planning Law will be delayed until the next National Assembly full house meeting in October.
How do you react to the National Assembly’s decision to postpone the vote on the Law on Planning at its current session?
The Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) was assigned to draft the law. We have done our best, and it was highly praised by many deputies during a discussion of the draft on May 26.
Of course, during the discussion quite a few deputies expressed their concern about the viability of the law. The MPI had asked the agency assigned to compile the law to adhere to two criteria - effectiveness and feasibility.
On the first criterion, the draft received high rating from the deputies in all the NA’s plenary discussions. However, in terms of feasibility, quite a few deputies expressed concern clauses (clause 3 in Article 27, clause 3 in Article 28) that would require relevant ordinances to be revised when the Planning Law comes into force. Coupled with that, many deputies expressed concern that if the Law is adopted at this NA session and comes into effect in January 2019, the time for making changes in other, relevant laws would be too short. So, in my opinion, such thoughtful thinking was worth taking into account.
In short, the delay in passing the Planning Law is entirely legitimate. No doubt, it will help improve its quality. The MPI will continue working with NA Commissions to seek their opinions on changes, as suggested by deputies. At the same time, the MPI will continue to work with concerned Government agencies to discuss issues needing further explanation.
Don’t you think that the delay will affect our national economy?
I don’t think so. I’m confident that the draft law will be approved in the next sitting of the NA in October. That means we still have time to develop our planning for the 2021-2030 period. Though the Planning Law is not passed at this session, the development of related laws will have to follow the guidelines and main principles of the draft Planning Law to ensure they all harmonise with each others.
Do you think the main hurdle delaying the approval of the Planning Law is the difference of opinions between your ministry and the Ministry of Construction on some of the articles?
The MPI has worked closely with the Ministry of Construction to iron out some of the differences between us. I can say that the delay in passing the law is in response to the deputies’ concerns about feasibility. As I have mentioned many times, we respect all opinions or suggestions. We want to have a high-quality Planning Law. It is not for the interest of one ministry or others, but for the nation.
It has taken several years to complete the latest version of the Planning Law. Do you think four months is sufficient time for the revision?
We’ll work with the NA Economic Committee on how to revise the law as suggested by deputies at this session. If there are issues that can’t be settled between us, we’ll seek help from the Government and the October full house meeting. All we want is a good Planning Law.
To make sure the law is passed in October, will the MPI do some lobbying activities?
The NA deputies understand the law. I’m confident that whatever we do is in the interest of the nation, not for our own ministry’s interest.
In my opinion, Government agencies, social organisations or experts coming up with ideas to advocate for the approval of the law is a normal thing. If those advocacy activities are conducted democratically and openly for the interest of the homeland, of the nation, we should treasure them. Such a practice is normal in many countries. — VNS