Don’t blame the law for issues with public investment projects: NA Chair

February 22, 2019 - 09:00

National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyễn Thị Kim Ngân on Thursday said the various issues afflicting State projects were not entirely due to shortcomings in current laws.

National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyễn Thị Kim Ngân (standing) chaired the 31st meeting of the National Assembly Standing Committee held on Thursday in Hà Nội. — VNA/VNS Photo Trọng Đức
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyễn Thị Kim Ngân on Thursday said the various issues afflicting State projects were not entirely due to shortcomings in current laws.

“I think that many seem to blame the Law on Public Investment,” the top legislator said, adding that erroneous operation and organisation were the leading causes in many cases.

In National Assembly Standing Committee’s 31st meeting held on Thursday in Hà Nội where lawmakers reviewed issues related to the draft of the revised public investment law, Ngân said there should not be expectations of extensive revamp of the law.

The drafting committee of the revised public investment law submitted proposals to amend 80 articles out of the law’s total 108.

“When a project fails to commence one year after the budget was allocated, is it because of the National Assembly or the law?” the NA Chairwoman Ngân said.

She urged revisions to the public investment law must be impeccable so once the revised law takes effect, there would be no “blaming the law.”

Chief of the NA Legal Committee Lê Thị Nga also stressed that the public investment law “met the practical demands” at the time when it was passed in 2014 and took effect since the beginning of 2015.

Nga said the calls for amendments for the three-year-old public investment law were too soon and the scope of revisions would be seriously considered.

She also called for a focus on anti-corruption measures in this revision of the law to deal with the “elevated risks of corruption in public projects”, pointing to untimely degradation, slow progress and heavy losses or questionable cost overruns in a number of public investment projects in recent times.

Speaking at the conclusion of the meeting, NA deputy chair Phùng Quốc Hiển focused attention on the articles that are most relevant.

Rejecting the proposal to shift the review and approval of mid-term public investment projects to the Prime Minister, NA deputy chair Hiển said that respecting the spirit of the country’s constitution, the parliament will be the one to decide the investment capital, criteria and components of these projects, but the NA could still confer authority to the Prime Minister in specific cases.

Hiển also rejected the drafting committee’s call for adding the requirement to build a three-year public investment plan as part of the mid-term five-year investment plan, saying that it is “unnecessary” and that “cumbersome complications should be avoided.”

The NA Standing Committee also didn’t agree with the proposal to consider site clearance and compensation for relocated households in a public project as a standalone public project, as a separate consideration of budget allocated for these activities without incorporating into the budget estimate for the project might lead to insufficient budget for the actual implementation of the project.

The committee, however, said it would consider the option depending on the scale of the project, citing Long Thành International Airport in Đồng Nai Province as an example as land clearance for the project cost as much as VNĐ23 billion (US$990.7 million).

The same day, NA Standing Committee also looked into proposed amendments to the tax code regarding the accountability of the Government Inspectorate and State Audit for their reports. — VNS