HA NOI — Top lawmakers want the new draft Law on National Reserves to encourage enterprises and organisations to take part in the storage of crucial commodities for use in cases of national emergencies.
The draft law urges participation of non-State sectors in national reserves' infrastructure and storage. It is proposed to replace the current "obsolete" ordinance issued in 2004.
At the National Assembly Standing Committee's meeting yesterday, Deputy Minister of Finance Nguyen Huu Chi said the existing ordinance had not kept up with the realities of the socialist-oriented market economy.
"The ordinance just regulates the national reserves contribution from the State budget but fails to encourage the participation of enterprises, organisations and individuals in reserve activities such as the infrastructure building, storage, logistics and preservation," Chi said.
Chi said the existing ordinance was found wanting in management and control mechanisms.
"For instance, the purchase method does not meet requirements of urgency, thus causing difficulties in the annual routine of reserving goods," he said.
Assembly Finance and Budget Committee Chairman Phung Quoc Hien said the draft law needed to clearly detail the encouragement of all economic sectors to take part in national reserves, the conditions and procedures of import and export, as well as storing of national reserve commodities and products.
Hien recommended to take money off the list of national reserves.
"They should be essential commodities and materials," he said, adding there were suggestions to put gold and minerals on the list but that needed more discussion.
Regarding the Prime Minister's authority to decide the import and export of national reserves, Hien suggested the entire Cabinet be involved in non-urgent purchases to avoid the concentration of responsibilities on the Prime Minister.
Chairman of the NA Law Committee Phan Trung Ly agreed. He said that the long-term strategy should be decided by the National Assembly and that the Government should base its actions on the details of the decision.
"There needs to be detailed regulations on auditing, inspection and solving of complaints and denunciations," Ly said.
NA Deputy Chairman Huynh Ngoc Son said the proposed objectives of the national reserves were too broad and not realistic. The objects were: "To prevent and resolve the consequences of natural disasters and diseases; to ensure national defence, social security and order; to stabilise the market, to cope with climate change; to ensure social welfare".
"National reserves should only be used in extraordinary and emergency cases," Son said.
He also urged for a detailed decentralisation of the management and use of the reserve to localities to ensure their timely use in situation of need.
Two other laws
On the same day, members of the NA Standing Committee also discussed the draft Law on Pricing and the revised Law on Water Resources.
They called for a detailed list with categories of goods and services whose prices would be determined by the Government.
"A regulation on such a list is necessary and important," said Chairman of the NA Economic Committee Nguyen Van Giau. "It has a direct effect on the production of businesses and people's lives."
He said that a detailed regulation would ensure transparency and create favourable conditions for management and implementation.
The Government would determine the prices of essential goods and services according to the list and in some cases where necessary, the National Assembly would consider pricing changes, he said.
The NA Standing Committee members also urged relevant sectors and agencies to continue discussions and reviews to reach a final list of items to be listed for price stabilisation and to ensure consistency with the list of goods and services with prices determined by the Government.
Most of the members also agreed with the revision on the Law on Water Resources, which regulates the management, protection and use of water resources.
However, there were also some comments that the law should not address work on preventing and responding to water related disasters, as this issue should be regulated by the Law on Disaster Prevention and Response.
Participants also discussed a regulation on collecting fees for issuing rights for exploiting water resources. According to that, organisations and individuals who exploit water to generate electricity for commercial purposes, or exploit water, both on-earth and underground, to supply businesses, services and non-agricultural production would have to pay fees for the rights to exploit water. The same fee would also apply to large scale exploitation of rivers, lakes and the sea for business purposes. — VNS