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Ministers answer NA questions

Update: June, 12/2014 - 08:20
Two students attend a robot programming competition in HCM City. At yesterday's NA question and answer session, Education Minister Pham Vu Luan admitted to the deputies that aggressive pursuit of overachievement in education still causes headaches. — VNA/VNS Photo Manh Linh

HA NOI (VNS)— Finance Minister Dinh Tien Dung yesterday confirmed that his ministry will support small – and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to overcome difficulties and recover businesses after the recent economic recession.

Continuing his question and answer (Q&A) session at the 13th National Assembly from the day before, Dung stated that the support was being provided following legal documents.

Accordingly, under the Law on Tax Management, which had taken effect from July last year, businesses with an annual turnover of less than VND20 billion (US$940,000) can enjoy corporate income tax of 20 per cent, he noted.

Also, following the Law on Corporate Income Tax, SMEs have to conduct value-added tax declarations only four times a year rather than every month as before, thus helping reduce the pressure on capital for these businesses.

In addition, in 2011, a credit guarantee fund was set up to provide assistance for SMEs to overcome difficulties and stabilise their operation.

"In the times ahead, the ministry will submit several policies to authorities prolonging the tax payment deadline and exempting personal income tax for owners of Vietnamese fishing vessels and Vietnamese sailors in foreign ships," he affirmed.

"The ministry will also strengthen measures to prevent tax fraud, creating an equally competitive environment for enterprises," he added.

Answering deputies' queries on the ministry's implementation of public – private partnership (PPP) projects, Dung pointed out that the ministry had worked with the Ministry of Planning and Investment to arrange a list of PPP projects, as well as selecting investors, inspecting their financial capacity and examining the implementation of the projects.

"The ministry has also issued a circular stipulating the use and management of expenses by the State agencies controlling the projects," he noted.

The minister confirmed that the ministry had to date ensured project payments were made in full and helped ease difficulties faced by investors when carrying out their projects.

"It has fulfilled its responsibility to the implementation process," he added.

Health Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien also took part in the Q&A session to respond to the deputies' questions related to the setting and management of medicine prices.

She stated that Viet Nam had applied the 2005 Law on Pharmacy and the Law on Prices to control the price of medicine.

"The price in Viet Nam is now 1.5 – 2 times and 2 – 3 times lower than that in China and Thailand, respectively," she claimed.

Education Minister

On the same day, Minister of Education and Training Pham Vu Luan also clarified issues related to education quality, particularly in tertiary education and vocational training, and plans for reforms.

He admitted to the deputies that the phenomenon of some students passing exams though they cannot read or write so as to continue studying grade by grade did exist.

"This issue is a headache, relating to the long-time "disease" of aggressive pursuance of over achievements in education, the evaluation of teachers and the quality of education," he pointed out.

The minister pledged to eliminate the problem completely, saying that if education system is changed from top-down teaching to developing students' capacity, then the issue can be solved at the grassroots level.

Answering the question on why the ministry chose foreign languages as optional at the recent high-school graduation exams, Luan stated that the teaching and learning of foreign languages in Viet Nam was unlike any other country, causing the subject to be placed in an awkward position.

"Many students who graduate from high schools cannot communicate to foreigners," he noted, adding: "In view of this reality, we will have to re-educate the teaching staff alongside with adjusting the syllabus of textbooks to improve the situation before setting foreign languages as the main subject [in examination]."

Justice Minister

Later the same day, Minister of Justice Ha Hung Cuong took the floor to talk about the implementation of the Constitution, the deferment of legal documents and shortcomings in the enforcement of legal documents and civil court cases as well as legal education and dissemination.

Deputies Nguyen Thai Hoc from the central province of Phu Yen and Nguyen Manh Cuong from the central province of Quang Binh asked the minister to clearly define the responsibilities of ministries and agencies that were not clearly stipulated in existing legislation.

The minister admitted that there were some areas that remained devoid of regulations, but said he would try his best to deal with the legal loophole.

Regarding some deputies' concerns about new legislation which they said tended to increase certain ministries' rights and reduce their responsibilities, the minister said he would submit draft amendments to the Law on Legal Documents to the Government, and seek advice from experts, politicians, NA deputies and lawyers to help improve the situation.

Answering deputies' questions about shortcomings in law enforcement, the minister said that educating people and officials to set an example was the most important task, as well as strictly punishing anyone who broke the law. — VNS

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