Law on international agreements and thrift practice report debated by NA deputies

April, 23/2020 - 08:46

The National Assembly (NA) Standing Committee on Wednesday discussed which agencies should be given authority to sign international agreements.


Nguyễn Văn Giàu, chairman of the NA Committee for External Relations, speaks at the session on international agreements. — VNA/VNS Photo

HÀ NỘI — The National Assembly (NA) Standing Committee on Wednesday discussed which agencies should be given authority to sign international agreements.

While discussing the draft law on international agreements, NA deputies agreed it was necessary to enforce the law as the ordinance on the signing and implementation of international agreements which was approved by the NA Standing Committee and has served a legal foundation since 2007 has now proved to be outdated in the new context.

According to the deputies, the draft law is relevant to 2013 Constitution and international agreements that Việt Nam is a member of.

Nguyễn Văn Giàu, chairman of the NA Committee for External Relations, said many proposed giving authority of signing international agreements to people’s committees at district and commune levels.

Hà Ngọc Chiến, chairman of NA Ethnic Council, said the friendship agreements signed in the past between border localities, border stations, villages with other partners have fostered relations between Việt Nam and neighbouring countries.

However, communal authorities, especially authorities of mountainous and disadvantaged areas, have limited capacity, he said, proposing only people’s committees at district level or higher should be given the signing authority.

Agreeing with Chiến’s proposal, NA Vice Chairman Đỗ Bá Tỵ said commune-level authorities do not have agencies capable of consulting leaders in external affairs.

“The people’s committees at district level must ask for permission of the provincial committees for the signing authority. The provincial committees must take responsibility for the mistakes committed by district level,” Tỵ said.

Other deputies said the authority should not be given to many levels because it will result in inconsistency.

NA Chairwoman Nguyễn Thị Kim Ngân and NA Vice Chairman Uông Chu Lưu proposed clarifying the list of NA committees which are given authority to sign international agreements, including NA General Secretary and agencies belonged to NA Standing Committee and NA Office.

Combating wastefulness

The legislators on Wednesday also listened to the Government report on thrift practice and combating wastefulness in 2019.

According to Minister of Finance Đinh Tiến Dũng, the Government and the Prime Minister had launched strict fiscal policies for efficient saving purposes, and ordered sectors and authorities at all levels to tighten discipline and improve transparency in the collection and spending of State budget.

Investment in development last year accounted for 27 per cent of State budget while regular expenditures made up about 61 per cent.

A number of shortcomings have been pointed out in the report including slow disbursement of public investment, causing wastefulness, as well as ineffective personnel streamlining and administrative reform at some agencies.

Nguyễn Đức Hải, chairman of NA Financial and Budget Committee which is in charge of assessing the report, said delayed budget disbursement and slow progress of key national projects such as the eastern section of North-South Expressway, Long Thành International Airport and urban metro lines have caused wastefulness.

The NA Financial and Budget Committee proposed imposing penalties on individuals and organisations which delayed public investment plans and violated regulations in thrift practice, causing wastefulness to State budget.

NA Chairwoman Ngân asked for clarifying responsibilities of public agencies which delayed the implementation of administrative procedures, plaguing people and businesses and delaying many projects.

She also discussed the need for tighter spending in relation to many festivals held across the country.

“There are now too many festivals which do not use State budget but allocate budget from society, businesses, organisations and individuals. These sources should have been spent on hunger alleviation and poverty reduction and climate change response,” she said.

She asked the Government to take closer look at festival organisation including the budget mobilisation from different sources.

In the complicated situation of COVID-19 pandemic in Việt Nam and the world, the Government should take measures to rearrange budget revenues and expenditures.

The NA has also asked the Government to save budget on holding conferences, overseas trips and invest in social security and economic recovery instead.

Budget spent on recovering economy after the pandemic and supporting people in need must be allocated on the right purposes. — VNS