|Deputy Huynh Van Tiep from Can Tho City. — VNA/VNS Photo Pham Kien
HA NOI (VNS) — The 9th session of the 13th National Assembly yesterday discussed the draft Law on Organisation of the Government (revised) and the draft Law on the Organisation of Local Governments.
In a report which gathered opinions from deputies at the previous session, chairman of the NA's Law Committee Phan Trung Ly said numerous deputies had called for a clear stipulation on the number of deputies at ministries and ministry-level bodies.
"Specific regulations on the number of deputies at ministries and ministry-level bodies is necessary, so the NA Standing Committee has asked the NA to stipulate that the maximum number of deputy ministers and deputy heads of ministry-level bodies should not exceed five, and the maximum for the ministries of Public Security, Defence and Foreign Affairs should not exceed six," Ly said.
Deputy Danh Ut from Kien Giang said the current regulations did not stipulate the specific number of deputies, so some ministries appointed up to nine deputies.
Ut recommended that the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) should have six deputies because it governed various sectors and areas.
Deputy Dang Thi Kim Chi from Phu Yen said MARD should be split because the ministry governed the fields of agriculture and acquaculture which were quite broad and complex.
The deputy said it was necessary to establish a ministry specialised in fishing and fish breeding to better manage the nation's natural resources.
The NA Standing Committee has also supplemented the decentralisation of the Government, ministries and ministry-level agencies with local administrations.
"The draft law [on the Organisation of the Government (revised)] regulates decentralisation in principle whereas specialised laws stipulate specific regulations on the decentralisation for local administrations in particular areas.
The move suited the reality of each locality as well as the requirements for national socio-economic development," chairman of the NA Law Committee Ly said.
"The decentralisation is essential to ensure the efficiency of State management," Ly stressed.
He said the NA Standing Committee had also asked the NA to add regulations on publicity and transparency in the organisation and operation of the Government.
Accordingly, Article 5 of the draft law stipulates the principles of publicising and modernising the performance of the Government, ministries, ministry-level agencies and State administrative bodies at all levels to ensure the implementation of a democratic and modern administration for the people.
Deputy Nguyen Thai Hoc, a member of the NA's Law Committee said publicity and transparency would promote the people's access to information and public supervision.
"The more transparent the Government and Prime Minister's governance and guidance are, the more opportunities the people will have to access information and supervise [the Government and PM's activities].
The draft Law on the Organisation of the Government (revised) is expected to be approved by the 13th NA's 9th session.
Debate on local govt
In regard to the draft Law on the Organisation of Local Government, the NA Standing Committee had received three types of inputs.
The first said the present style of provincial government should remain as is - with a people's committee and people's council at three levels under the central government (provincial, district and commune levels). It adds that there should only be amendments to the duties, powers and organisation of these groups.
The second type of input suggested was that people's councils at district and commune levels in urban areas should be removed.
The third proposed different models of local government for urban and rural areas.
A people's council is a State organ of power elected by local people, while a people's committee is one elected by a people's council at the same level.
Most deputies speaking at yesterday afternoon's session were supportive of ideas put by the first line of input, which the NA Standing Committee also consented to this.
Deputies gave their support to the establishment of a new board under the people's council in urban areas – perhaps a Board of Urban Affairs - to take charge of urban planning, transport development, technical infrastructure, building, the environment and provision of public services in urban areas.
At the session, deputies also raised issues surrounding the people's council. For instance, most council members now work part-time while holding positions in other sectors of local government.
Deputy Tran Thi Hien from Ha Nam Province said that letting so many members from people's councils work part-time made the council's existence superficial.
Hien and other deputies, including Huynh Nghia from Da Nang City, asked that the law agree to an increased number of full-time council members.
Other deputies, including Duong Hoang Huong from Phu Tho Province, and Nguyen Cao Phuc from Quang Ngai Province, said it was irrational to have the number of deputies restricted to a chairman of a people's committee and his three deputies - or to have a chairman of a people's council and his two deputies.
They claimed there were differences in area, population and subordinate administrative areas between provinces, districts and communes. In some provinces, a commune is as large as a district.
Some deputies proposed setting up additional advisory bodies, such as an Office and Secretariat of the People's Council or a board on gender equality. These deputies included Huynh Van Tiep from Can Tho City; Nguyen Thi Phuc from Binh Thuan Province and Nguyen Thi Kim Be from Kien Giang Province.
Other deputies, including Tran Ngoc Vinh from Hai Phong City and Tran Thi Hien from Ha Nam Province, supported the clearer definition of decentralisation, authorisation and power delegation. According to them, it is necessary to point out what areas these terms cover, given that responsibilities and duties among administrative levels are not well delineated.
The draft law provides for other important things, including the separate treatment of local government on islands and the first inclusion of special administrative-economic areas. (There is no such a thing as special administrative-economic areas in Viet Nam at present.)
The lower tiers of government in Viet Nam adopt a three-level model.
At the first level, they are thanh pho truc thuoc trung uong (centrally-run cities or municipal provinces) and tinh (non-municipal provinces). Generally, both are called cap tinh (provincial level authorities).
At the second level is quan (urban district), huyen (rural district), thi xa (district-level town)and thanh pho truc thuoc tinh (provincial level-city). They are generalised as cap huyen (district level authorities).
At the third level is xa (rural commune), phuong (urban commune or ward) and thi tran (commune-level town). — VNS