Delegates attend the NA’s Standing Committee which convened its 37th session on Monday. — VNA/VNS Photo Trọng Đức
HÀ NỘI — The Government will decide the location of the soon-to-be-established Việt Nam Stock Exchange (VNSC) in either Hà Nội or HCM City, a National Assembly (NA) deputy chairman said on Monday.
Deputy chairman Phùng Quốc Hiển made the remark after a question on the VNSC’s headquarters spurred debate among deputies of the NA’s Standing Committee which convened its 37th session on Monday.
Scrutinising one of the draft amendments to the Law on Securities which attempted to place the VNSC at “Việt Nam’s financial centre”, a number of deputies questioned where Việt Nam’s financial centre was.
“It is not an easy question to answer,” Hiển said.
It is widely expected that the VNSC’s headquarters would be in either Hà Nội or HCM City – the two biggest financial hubs in the country, but the final decision is still up in the air.
Hiển asked the Ministry of Finance – which was in charge of amending the law – to discard its proposed article and let the Government decide on the location.
News on the birth of the VNSC broke this January when Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc signed a plan to bring the two separate Hà Nội Stock Exchange (HNX) and HCM City Stock Exchange (HOSE) under a mother company named VNSC.
The VNSC is expected to have charter capital of VNĐ3 trillion (US$130.4 million).
Central disaster fund
In other discussions, the agriculture ministry suggested the establishment of a national fund to receive non-government aid in disaster prevention, but not all deputies supported the idea.
A brand new central disaster prevention fund was the biggest proposal the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development made in its draft amendment to the Law on Natural Disaster Prevention and Control. It was brought to the table for discussion on the first day of the 37th session of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee.
According to agriculture minister Nguyễn Xuân Cường, the current disaster law allows provinces to establish their own disaster prevention fund, but not one at the central level which caused some difficulties to distribute relief money in cases of emergency.
“We are asking to set up the Central Disaster Prevention and Control Fund to receive humanitarian support, international non-government aid and voluntary contributions. The fund will be mobilised in emergencies or to help localities stricken by natural disasters under orders of the Government or the Prime Minister,” Cường said.
The minister said that 61 out of 63 localities already had disaster funds which raised a total of about VNĐ2.5 trillion, but only VNĐ1 trillion was spent and the rest remained idle.
“It is essential to have a fund at the central level to distribute such an amount of money (to those in need),” he added.
The fund would also serve as the destination for international disaster relief aid to Việt Nam as many organisations were not able to find the right channel to deliver the money, Cường said.
“For example, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) wanted to provide $16.2 million but Việt Nam had no appropriate agency to receive the money. In the end UNDP had to give the money via the official development aid channel which took us up to two years to disburse.”
The National Assembly’s Committee on Science, Technology and Environment chairman Phan Xuân Dũng agreed with the need to establish the fund. He however asked the agriculture ministry to state clearly how the money would be transferred from local funds to the central fund and vice versa.
Such transfers also concerned the NA’s Committee on Legal Affairs chairman Nguyễn Khắc Định. Taking money from a locality and then giving it to another might lead to discontent, Định said, as the local fund is raised not only from outside sources but local residents and businesses in the area.
NA’s Secretary General Nguyễn Hạnh Phúc, meanwhile, frankly denied the proposal.
“Setting up a central disaster prevention fund is redundant and unnecessary,” he said.
“What really matters is to effectively distribute the relief as there is a professional unit to understand what the residents need and mobilise the aid to them. We can’t just give them instant noodles without water or water without the noodles, like has sometimes happened.”
During this fall session, the NASC is expected to look into 12 draft amended laws of which four will go to the NA for approval late this year. — VNS