Draft law on public investment proposed

Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 08:26

Minister of Planning and Industry Nguyen Chi Dung speaks at the afternoon session of the National Assembly on Tuesday.– VNA/VNS Photo Trong Duc

Minister of Planning and Industry Nguyen Chi Dung asked the National Assembly to review the draft of the amended Law of Public Investment on Tuesday afternoon.

The draft law contains six chapters and 104 items and is expected to adjust some items of the original Law of Public Investment No 49/2014/QH13, which was dated June 18, 2014 and took effect in January 2015.

“After three years of implementation, the Law of Public Investment has raised the efficiency of public investment and public capital use,” Dung said.

“It has helped government agencies become transparent in their use of State capital, pushed efforts to fight corruption and overspending and saved some budget expenses in civil procurement,” he said.

However, Dung said the existing law had room for improvement. The team that developed it lacked practical experience, leading to difficulties for government agencies and local authorities that tried to carry out its complicated procedures.

“Some items contradict other regulations and it has taken stakeholders too long to complete administrative procedures because they had to receive approval from many different agencies,” he said.

Some practical conditions were difficult or impossible for agencies to meet, especially in evaluation and approval of investment projects.

According to Dung, the law was hard to reconcile with other laws regarding the State budget, construction, land and environmental protection.

“The contradictions between the Law of Public Investment and other laws have had negative impacts on a number of projects,” he said.

Nguyen Duc Hai, Chairman of the National Assembly’s Financial and Budget Committee, said the main problem with the current law was the officials who had not carried it out strictly.

Most NA deputies agreed on a partial adjustment of the current law, as the law had not been in effect long enough to assess whether it was successful, Hai said.

For example, the seventh item of the draft law states a key national project must be more than VND35 trillion, 3.5 times the existing number of VND10 trillion and much higher than the budget’s annual public spending.

According to most NA deputies, the adjustment was too large and the major change did not make sense. The adjustment of total investment could only be made if there is a big change in the consumer price index (CPI). But in the past three years, the CPI has moved little.

The original size of VND10 trillion was suitable given Viet Nam’s current balance between spending and income, Hai said. There have been just two key national projects in the last three years.

There were some issues with the draft law that the Government needed to reconsider such as reform of administrative procedures and decentralisation of power in evaluating and passing investment projects, he said.

“It also needs to differentiate between types of public investment projects” and to “address which projects should be prioritised and how to adjust the scope of the project if needed,” Hai said.

Some of the items in the draft law remained too complicated and did not meet practical needs, he said, adding there were some concerns about eliminating overlap between agencies. – VNS

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