Delays in the issuance of implementing regulations remain a challenge for lawmakers this year as no signs of documents to implement new laws effective early this year can be seen.
A recent Ministry of Justice report says more than 80 legal documents are yet to be promulgated to implement a dozen of laws which took effect on January 1. This means that the Government has failed to deliver on its commitment to issue basically all implementing regulations for these laws by the end of 2014. That is not to mention 18 documents left over from 2013, including six decrees and 12 circulars.
NA Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung addresses the national conference on judicial work in 2015__Photo: Nhan Sang/VNA
So. out of 206 implementing documents due to be issued last year, 100 are still in the works, accouting for 48.5 percent, the Ministry of Justice reports. This number is 29 percent higher than early last year when 71 delayed documents were reported.
Of the number, the Government and the Prime Minister “owed” 39 decrees and decisions and ministries and ministerial-level agencies missed the issuance deadlines for 61 circulars and joint circulars.
The worst delayer was the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment which failed to issue 29 documents on schedule, followed by the Ministry of Health with 11, the Ministry of Construction with nine, the Ministry of Planning and Investment and the Ministry of National Defense, each with eight.
The Ministry of Transport was the best performer with all nine documents issued on time, followed by the State Bank of Vietnam with eight, and the Ministry of Industry and Trade, three.
Minister of Justice Ha Hung Cuong warned the delay in issuing implementing documents could become more serious this year, citing the tough challenge of meeting the requirement for promulgating implementing regulations to be effective at the same time with laws and ordinances. This year, more than 100 implementing documents, including 42 decrees, six decisions and 60 circulars, must also be drafted and issued to implement 18 laws passed by the National Assembly last November, let alone 11 bills expected to be passed at the upcoming 9th session.
Apart from their timeliness, the Minister was concerned about the quality of legal documents, saying some laws failed to translate the Constitution in a consistent manner, leading to different ways of understanding and application, which might hurt the legal system in the long run.
Many implementing documents were either unenforceable or inconsistent with the legal system, and thus had to be revised right after their issuance, Nguyen Hong Tuyen, director of the Ministry of Justice’s Department of General Affairs on Legislative Development, told the Phap Luat Thanh Pho Ho Chi Minh (Law of Ho Chi Minh City) daily, citing implementing decrees of the Law on Handling of Administrative Violations.
Many others were even unconstitutional or unlawful. Last year, over 9,000 legal documents were detected invalid, accounting for 22 percent, including over 1,500 promulgated ultra vires or involving unlawful contents. The Ministry of Justice alone spotted 885 documents failing to meet legality requirements.
Deputy Minister of Justice Dinh Trung Tung said a number of problematic documents were not detected by responsible agencies but the press, blaming on the ineffective and formalistic review and examination of documents without strict punishment of violations.
Minister Cuong acknowledged there was currently no effective mechanism for examining the drafting process of circulars.
Large numbers of documents, many of them regulating new, complex and controversial issues, were attributable to long delays in their issuance, according to the Ministry of Justice report. The burden of drafting 26 bills for passage and another nine for debate by the National Assembly put on the shoulders of ministries last year made the situation worse, the report points out.
The Law on Promulgation of Legal Documents which now reveals certain limitations was also a reason behind the delayed legislative process.
Others to blame were lax and ineffective coordination among lawmaking bodies and limited funds for legislative work, the report says.
To redress the situation, the Ministry of Justice urged ministries and ministerial-level agencies to increasingly supervise the making of implementing regulations to ensure their quality and timeliness. It suggested clear determination of responsibilities of related agencies and their heads for delays in the issuance of documents and for their poor quality.
The Ministry asked other ministries and the Government Office to join in preparing a review report on the implementation of National Assembly Resolution No. 67 of 2013 on enhancement of the law enforcement and issuance of implementing documents, for submission to the National Assembly at the year-end session.
It proposed the Government and the Prime Minister to urge ministries and ministerial-level agencies to swiftly finalize the 100 documents still owed, particularly 39 to be issued by the Government and the Prime Minister, for issuance this year and organize the drafting of implementing documents for 18 laws passed by the National Assembly at its last session.
It requested ministries to strictly examine and supervise the law enforcement and issuance of implementing documents and take measures adopted by the Government and the Prime Minister to ensure the timely and effective enforcement of 18 new laws.
Ministries with heavy workload such as Natural Resources and Environment; Health; National Defense; Construction; Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs; Planning and Investment; Public Security; and Finance were asked to prioritize resources and funds for the making and issuance of implementing regulations.
The ministry urged the Government Office to closely work with drafting agencies in finalizing draft documents after they were commented by the Government or the Prime Minister to ensure their quality and timeliness.- (VLLF)
National Assembly Resolution No. 67/2013/QH13 of November 29, 2013, on enhancement of the enforcement of laws, ordinances and resolutions and promulgation of implementing documents:
… b/ To strictly implement provisions of the Law on Promulgation of Legal Documents and resolutions of the National Assembly on the competence, order, procedures and deadlines to promulgate legal documents; to ensure the constitutionality, lawfulness, consistency and enforceability of laws, ordinances and resolutions; to reduce to the utmost the promulgation of implementing documents. Only contents on technical processes and regulations or issues of instable nature may be assigned for detailing under draft laws, ordinances and resolutions which shall be enclosed with such implementing documents; to ensure that implementing documents be promulgated to take effect simultaneously with laws, ordinances and resolutions.
… e/ The Minister of Justice shall assume the prime responsibility for, and coordinate with the Minister-Chairperson of the Government Office in, assisting the Government in planning and enhancing the monitoring, urging and examination of the enforcement and promulgation of implementing documents of laws, ordinances and resolutions; and take responsibility before the Government for ensuring the constitutionality, lawfulness and consistency of draft documents with the legal system and ensuring that laws, ordinances and resolutions be enforced without waiting for implementing documents.