Legislature to pass 10 laws, three resolutions at mid-year session
he 7th session of the 15th National Assembly (NA) opened on May 20 at the Parliament House in Hanoi and is expected to last for 26 days until June 28.
The screen showing the votes on the Resolution on election of National Assembly Chairperson__Photo: VNA

The 7th session of the 15th National Assembly (NA) opened on May 20 at the Parliament House in Hanoi and is expected to last for 26 days until June 28. The sitting is scheduled to be held in two phases, with phase 1 lasting from May 20 to June 8, and phase 2, from June 17 to June 28.

Speaking at the opening session, Bui Van Cuong, Secretary-General of the NA and Chairman of the NA Office, said the NA’s sitting is set to deal with legislative work and supreme oversight activities and decide on major issues of the country. These aim to continue institutionalizing the Party’s guidelines and resolutions so as to help complete institutions, raise the national governance capacity, and promote socio-economic development and national defense and security assurance, thus contributing to the successful implementation of the Resolution of the 13th National Party Congress.

On the first days of the session, the NA elected Tran Thanh Man, Politburo member and Permanent Vice Chairman of the NA, as the Chairman of the 15th Legislature, and adopted the Resolution approving the title of member of the NA’s National Defense and Security Council of the 2021-26 tenure for him. Legislators also elected To Lam, Politburo member and Minister of Public Security, as the President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

Heaviest ever legislative workload since the tenure’s beginning

As scheduled, lawmakers will discuss and pass 10 laws, including three new laws on national defense and security industry and industrial mobilization; roads; and road traffic order and safety; four revised laws on social insurance; archives; the Capital; and organization of people’s courts; and three laws revising a number of articles of the laws on asset auction; management and use of weapons, explosives and supporting tools; and guards.

The Legislature will also review and adopt three resolutions concerning addition of mechanisms and policies for development of Nghe An province; amendments to NA Resolution 119 of 2020 on pilot organization of the urban government model and mechanisms and policies for development of Da Nang city; and the 2025 law- and ordinance-making program and adjustments to the 2024 program of this kind.

The session will also hear legislators’ opinions on 11 draft laws. These include five revised draft laws on notarization; trade union; cultural heritage; human trafficking prevention and combat; and value-added tax. Five other draft laws are those on geology and minerals; fire protection and search and rescue; people’s air defense; urban planning and rural planning; and juvenile justice. The other one is the draft Law revising a number of articles of the Pharmacy Law.

During the session, NA deputies are expected to discuss socio-economic development, state budget and tax issues. They will opine and decide on investment policy for the national target program on cultural development for the 2025-35 period; investment policy for the project to build the western north-south expressway’s Gia Nghia (Dak Nong)-Chon Thanh (Binh Phuoc) section; and adjustment of the investment policy for the national target program on socio-economic development in ethnic minority and mountainous areas for the 2021-30 period. Lawmakers will also consider and approve the National Marine Space Master Plan for the 2021-30 period with a vision toward 2050; and documents for the United Kingdom’s accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

Regarding the NA’s oversight work, the Legislature is set to hear the Report reviewing voters’ opinions and petitions sent to the 7th session; and perform the supreme oversight of the implementation of the NA’s Resolution 43 of 2022 on fiscal and monetary policies to support the Program on socio-economic recovery and development, and resolutions on several national important projects through 2023. The NA will also consider and approve the resolutions on the NA’s Oversight Program and formation of the NA’s specialized oversight delegation for 2025.

Meanwhile, question-and-answer sessions are expected to focus on four groups of issues concerning natural resources and environment; industry and trade; audit; and culture, sports and tourism.

Major tasks proposed for promoting growth, ensuring major balances of the economy

Presenting the Government’s Report on additional evaluation of implementation of the socio-economic development and state budget plan in 2023, and the practical implementation of such plan in the first months of 2024, Deputy Prime Minister Le Minh Khai said that the focus of 2024 would be on improving institutional frameworks and policy mechanisms, revitalizing growth drivers, and accelerating the disbursement of public investment funds to propel Vietnam into the group of upper-middle-income economies.

As revealed in the report, the GDP growth rate in the last months of 2023 reached 5.05 percent. Although lower than the set target, it was relatively high compared to global and regional standards. Inflation was successfully controlled, with the average consumer price index (CPI) increasing by 3.25 percent.

As for the early months of 2024, the Report highlighted that GDP growth in the first quarter of this year reached 5.66 percent, the highest since 2020.

The average CPI for the first four months increased by 3.93 percent year-on-year. State budget revenues reached 43.1 percent of the estimates, recording an increase of 10.1 percent. Export turnover increased by 15 percent with a trade surplus of USD 8.4 billion. Vietnam’s Human Development Index ranking had ascended by eight places, to 107th out of 193 countries.

Regarding limitations and challenges, the report says that macro-economic management pressures remained enormous, particularly in controlling inflation and managing interest and exchange rates.

It reads that credit growth remained low and gold prices were highly volatile. While economic growth achieved relatively good results, there were still many challenges and difficulties facing enterprises and the people.

To deal with this, the report outlines 11 major tasks and solutions to be implemented in the near future. These include promoting growth while ensuring macro-economic stability, controlling inflation, and maintaining major balances of the economy.

Focus will be placed on effective and substantial economic restructuring in tandem with renewing the growth model and improving productivity, quality, effectiveness and competitiveness of the economy as well as boosting the development of digital, green, circular and sharing economy.

The report states the need to accelerate the progress of inter-regional transport infrastructure facilities of national importance; develop high-quality human resources and proceed with comprehensive reform of education and training; and enhance natural resources management, environmental protection, disaster preparedness and climate change response.

It also emphasizes the task of improving the state administrative apparatus, with the new wage policy to be applied from July 1, and the arrangement of district- and commune-level administrative units for the 2023-25 period to be completed in September.

Other tasks and solutions include raising national defense and security potential and carrying out external and international integration activities in order to promote the attraction of resources for national development; and intensifying policy communication activities.

Commenting on the Report, NA Chairman Man called for a more detailed assessment of impacts on the growth of exports, consumption and domestic private investment in the past year. He emphasized the need to clarify causes and propose solutions for sustainable growth.

The NA’s top leader suggested that by the end of this year, scenarios should be developed to reform the foundation of the macro-economy. He proposed implementation of specific solutions to ensure growth model renewal, effective international economic integration, private sector development and foreign investment attraction.

As for macro-economic stability, the NA Chairman recommended developing a comprehensive program to promote growth for the 2024-25 period. This would involve applying flexible macro-economic policies to address the current unfavorable global and regional economic situation.

Draft regulations on roads, social insurance under debate

Discussing the draft Law on Roads, NA deputies touched on various aspects of the draft, including the possibility of imposing fees on personal cars entering inner city areas during specific times.

NA deputy Nguyen Phuong Thuy from Hanoi said that collecting fees would help curb the excessive growth of personal vehicle use and traffic congestion in urban centers. It might also increase revenues for the state budget which would be used to build better road infrastructure facilities and public transport systems in cities.

According to Thuy, if the draft law officially includes this type of fee and delegates the authority to provincial-level People’s Councils, defining where the fees might be applied and how much drivers must pay, the implementation in localities would be much more feasible.

NA deputy Nguyen Thi Hue from the northern mountainous province of Bac Kan suggested prescribing the act of illegally setting up toll booths as a crime.

She cited Government Decree 100 of 2019 on penalties for administrative violations in the field of road and railway traffic, which includes provisions against constructing or establishing toll stations without the consent of state management agencies.

NA deputy Ha Phuoc Thang from Ho Chi Minh City noted that the demand for parking in the city is exceptionally high. He said a review of the 2008 Road Traffic Law and relevant decrees revealed that there were no provisions concerning operation and use of spaces under road bridges and viaducts.

Therefore, Thang recommended inclusion of these regulations in the draft Law on Roads which would provide a legal framework for proper road management and use.

He also proposed that provincial-level People’s Committees should have the authority to decide on the use of spaces under road bridges and viaducts managed and maintained by local authorities, which could then be used as parking lots or storing yards for road maintenance equipment.

Meanwhile, NA deputy Nguyen Van Canh from the central province of Binh Dinh said he paid attention to road classification in Article 10 of the draft.

He noted that high-speed roads differ from expressways in that they may lack central reservations and emergency lanes and have traffic patterns similar to national highways. High-speed roads also differ from national highways in that they do not have residential areas on either side.

Therefore, Canh proposed the NA to consider adding high-speed roads to the draft law to ensure comprehensive coverage of all road types.

Commenting on the revised draft Law on Social Insurance, many lawmakers laid emphasis on guaranteeing the rights of workers amid the increase in evasion and late payment of social insurance premiums.

Le Thi Danh Lam, NA deputy from the Mekong River delta province of Hau Giang, proposed the draft contain specific regulations on the responsibility for inspection of social insurance collection and payment.

She suggested the Government assign the social insurance sector to inspect the collection and payment of social insurance premiums and punish or initiate lawsuits against violators. She also opined that the Government should require enterprises to establish a social insurance reserve fund in order to ensure health insurance, social insurance, unemployment insurance and occupational accident and disease insurance coverage for their employees.

NA deputy Vuong Thi Huong Giang from the northern mountainous province of Ha Giang said the bill needs to clearly stipulate the role and responsibility of state management agencies and law enforcement bodies to prevent evasion and delayed payment of social insurance premiums, while stepping up the communication work in this regard.-

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