|Hanoi deputies attend the 6th session of the 15th National Assembly__Photo: VNA
The National Assembly (NA) will continue upholding the spirit of proactivity and development facilitation in lawmaking activities with a long-term vision, said Politburo member and NA Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue in an interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency on the threshold of the Year of the Dragon.
The year 2023 marks the mid-term point of the 15th NA. What are the outstanding results of the NA’s activities last year?
It can be seen that the NA completed a heavy workload in 2023, the heaviest since the beginning of the tenure. These included the successful organization of five NA meetings, including two regular sittings and three extraordinary sittings, together with 16 regular sessions of the NA Standing Committee, not mentioning full-time NA deputies’ conferences and NA Standing Committee’s sessions held between the fifth meeting and the sixth meeting of the 15th Legislature to make replies and give explanations about replies to the contents submitted to the NA for approval at two regular NA sittings. Thus, the number of meetings in 2023 alone is equal to the total meetings held in a half of the NA tenure.
From the fifth meeting, with the initiative of arranging two phases in each session, the NA shows its flexibility, adaptation and response to reality’s requirements in the current period.
The year 2023 also saw many “first things”, for examples, the successful organization of the first Dien Hong Awards - the national press award on the National Assembly and People’s Councils; preparation for the award ceremony of the second Dien Hong Awards slated to take place in January 2024; the national conference on the implementation of NA’s laws and resolutions to thoroughly grasp the viewpoint and direction of the Party Central Committee on “closely linking lawmaking with law enforcement”; the Laborers’ Forum; and the hypothetical session of the “Children’s National Assembly”. Some of those events have been selected as outstanding events of the NA in 2023.
So, it can be seen that the workload is very heavy, with many difficult and complex problems which required the NA, the NA Standing Committee and every NA deputy to work hard. Despite the hard work and high pressure, I think that the most valuable thing is that every NA deputy is happy to contribute to the common work. The Government, the Supreme People’s Court, the Supreme People’s Procuracy, the Vietnam Fatherland Front, ministries, central agencies and local administrations were all engaged in the work and made great efforts.
I want to emphasize that NA deputies who represent the will and aspirations of the people are the center of legislative activities. Through the terms, the NA deputies’ performance has seen positive changes associated with reforms in the organization and operation of the NA.
At meetings, NA deputies have shown a sense of responsibility, devotion, and delivered profound and multi-dimensional opinions in many fields. In particular, the number of NA deputies registering to speak in discussions and question-and-answer sessions was very large, especially at the 6th session. The spirit of innovation in the Parliament has contributed to improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the NA’s work, showing legislators’ efforts to deliver on commitments that they made to voters.
Regarding legislative work, the NA continues to uphold the spirit of proactivity and development facilitation in lawmaking activities with a long-term vision. The goal of the lawmaking work of the 15th NA is to complete development institutions and create a legal framework to successfully implement socio-economic development tasks in the 2021-25 period.
Right from the beginning of the term, the Politburo issued Conclusion 19-KL/TW (in 2021) on orientations for the lawmaking program in the 15th Legislature. This is the first time in the NA’s legislative history a Politburo’s conclusion has been issued to guide legislative tasks for the entire term.
As of the 6th meeting, the NA’s agencies and relevant agencies had completed 114 out of 137 legislative research tasks of the entire term, reaching 83.21 percent of the plan.
This is clear evidence of drastic changes in the lawmaking mindset from management to facilitating national sustainable development, demonstrating the high sense of responsibility, proactivity and activeness of the Party Committee of the NA in urgently institutionalizing the line and guidelines set by the 13th National Party Congress, and soon translate the Resolution of the 13th National Party Congress into reality.
The above-mentioned results prove that we have been tackling the problems of passiveness and reliance on others, like when you cook rice, you boil the water and wait for someone else to bring you rice. Instead, we must prepare carefully for anything that we want to do. This is valuable experience withdrawn from the 78-year history of the NA.
Looking back at the year 2023, specialized oversight activities continued to be a “bright spot”. We not only conducted oversight in a “post-licensing inspection” manner but also focused on monitoring the issues that are being implemented, so that the NA can join the Government in removing obstacles and difficulties in the implementation process. In 2023, for the first time, the NA conducted mid-term oversight and adopted a resolution on specialized oversight of “the implementation of NA’s resolutions on the national target program on building new-style countryside in the 2021-25 period, national target program on sustainable poverty reduction in the 2021-25 period, and national target program on socio-economic development in ethnic minority and mountainous areas in the 2021-30 period.”
The NA assigned the Government to urgently draft a resolution on a number of specific mechanisms and policies to remove difficulties and obstacles and speed up the implementation of national target programs for submission to the NA for consideration and approval at the nearest meeting following fast-track procedures, including a mechanism on pilot decentralization to allow district-level authorities to decide on the list, structure and allocation of state budget funds.
Such timely actions are attributable to early preparation. Right from the beginning of the term, oversight was identified as a central and key task. Properly performing the oversight function will bring about positive impacts on performance of the NA’s functions of making laws and deciding on important issues of the country.
What are the focuses and new requirements of the NA’s activities in 2024?
At the sixth session, the NA decided to postpone the passage of the Land Law (revised) and the Law on Credit Institutions (revised).
After studying opinions of 12 million turns of voters about the revised draft Land Law, due to the special importance and complexity of this bill and the large number of divergent viewpoints on the revised draft Law on Credit Institutions, the NA debated, made prudent considerations concerning different aspects, and decided to vote on the draft laws at the nearest session.
The NA adopted a resolution on the application of top-up corporate income tax under the Global Anti-Base Erosion model rules and permitted the founding of an investment support fund financed with revenues from global minimum tax and other lawful sources to provide support for businesses. The resolution took effect on January 1, 2024. It is an urgent need to enforce the regulations on the global minimum tax starting in 2024 in accordance with the guidance of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) so as to concurrently acquire the right to impose top-up corporate income tax and create a favorable investment environment for continuing to attract foreign investment.
Aside from meeting urgent demand of reality, it also demonstrated the NA’s consistent principle of resolutely implementing the issues which are already clear and proved to be true in reality and on which high consensus is reached, while continuing to consider and review implementation when it comes to the issues which remain unclear or on which there remain divergent opinions, and carrying out those issues on a pilot basis when authorities give permission; and, at the same time, making timely adjustments and amendments to policies that have been implemented but later proved to be inappropriate.
As 2024 is a crucial year with special importance, the NA required continuing to prioritize promoting economic growth, maintaining macro-economic stability, controlling inflation, and ensuring major balances of the economy. The Resolution on the 2024 socio-economic development plan, adopted at the sixth session, also targets a gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of 6-6.5%.
As I have mentioned, the NA is upholding the consistent spirit of proactivity and development facilitation in lawmaking activities with a long-term vision. Regarding urgent issues requiring timely settlement, the NA will, within its jurisdiction, issue resolutions. In 2022, the Legislature issued resolutions approving investment policy for six national important transport projects with very large sums of investment capital. All these six projects are key and urgent ones critical to national defense and security, which can create spillover effects, promote regional connectivity, and boost socio-economic development of the country, regions and localities where the projects are implemented.
The Resolution on pilot implementation of a number of specific policies on road investment and construction, approved at the NA’s sixth session, continues to follow that spirit. This mechanism is expected to help shorten the period and accelerate the progress of implementation of 21 other key transport projects of the country.
Recently, the Government and the NA Standing Committee have carried out a general review of legal documents in all fields and across the country. On that basis, the NA issued a Resolution requesting the Government to expeditiously make considerations and report on the outcomes to the NA at the seventh session, take measures to immediately deal with contradictory and overlapped contents and address the situation where a segment of civil servants and public employees shirk their responsibility; and quickly study and propose amendments to the Law on Promulgation of Legal Documents.
The results of the general review and systematization of the legal system are important to administrative reform. Based on this, we will continue implementing a general review of administrative procedures in 2024.
In addition, we are accelerating the construction and development of socio-economic infrastructure, especially national important projects and works; promoting comprehensive cultural-social and social security development, and building as soon as possible a national target program on the revitalization and development of culture and the development of Vietnamese people for submission to the NA for consideration and decision; and comprehensively implementing wage policy reforms from July 1, 2024.
The NA will, together with the political system, continue to improve and build a lean, efficient and effective state apparatus; effectively addressing the attitude of passing and avoiding responsibility because of the fear for committing faults among part of cadres and civil servants, while tightening administrative discipline as well as discipline among civil servants and in performing public duties; and further stepping up the prevention and control of corruption, negative practices, waste and group interests.
All those tasks are aimed at unlocking every potential and resource and creating new momentum for the country’s fast and sustainable development.
Could you share more information about the work of parliamentary diplomacy and new requirements in the current context, especially in terms of promoting the “soft power” of parliamentary diplomacy to serve the country’s economic development and international integration in the new period?
Among the country’s common achievements in external affairs, the NA’s external activities have taken place not only vibrantly but also been promoted in terms of quality. We have strongly brought into play the characteristic of state diplomacy and people’s diplomacy. It could be stated that 2023 was an outstandingly successful year of parliamentary diplomacy.
More than 10 delegations of other countries’ parliaments paid official visits to Vietnam while leaders of the Vietnamese NA also visited other countries to attend multilateral forums. Many international agreements were signed/renewed between the Vietnamese NA and other countries’ parliaments.
In bilateral external activities, attention was paid to enhancing ties with neighboring countries, intensifying relations with strategic partners, substantively promoting relations with cooperative partners and traditional friends, and consolidating trust with other partners.
The NA’s external activities have turned parliamentary diplomacy into an important political channel for foreign relations and a source of strength for promoting cooperation with other countries in a result-oriented manner, thereby raising the country’s international stature.
In terms of multilateral parliamentary diplomacy, the NA engaged in an active and proactive manner with the readiness to “contribute to the building and shaping of common rules”, and to “launch and lead” new initiatives at international and regional inter-parliamentary forums like the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA).
A recent example was the success of the ninth Global Conference of Young Parliamentarians, themed “The Role of Young People in Promoting the Realization of Sustainable Development Goals via Digital Transformation and Innovations”. The conference adopted a joint statement, the first of its kind so far through the nine editions of the IPU conference.
The first Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam Parliamentary Summit took place in Laos in early December 2023, during which the chairpersons of the three countries’ NAs adopted a joint statement. The establishment of this mechanism was an important milestone in the history of the three NAs’ cooperation, marking the elevation of cooperation among the three legislative bodies to the highest level.
The summit marked the completion of the “three peaks of a triangle” of the Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam high-level cooperation mechanism, namely the top leaders of the three Parties, the Prime Ministers of the three countries, and now the chairpersons of the three NAs, creating a “tripod” - line and guidelines of the Parties; the institutionalization and building of the legal framework along with oversight by the NAs; and enforcement by the Governments - so that Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam can further enhance cooperation.
Our top duty is to continue maintaining and consolidating an environment of peace and stability for national development toward the two centenary goals (by 2030 and 2045). To fulfill that duty, it is necessary to unceasingly carry out innovation, stay creative and be flexible in the external affairs mindset and implementation methodology, with new ways of thinking and working. The new mindset should adopt a global, multilateral, and inter-sectoral approach on the basis of firmly maintaining independence, self-reliance, sovereignty and territorial integrity. We need to continue promoting the style of diplomacy that is deeply imbued with the characteristics of “Vietnamese bamboo” with “strong roots, sturdy stems and flexible branches” as directed by Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong.
In that spirit, the Vietnamese NA will continue nurturing ties with the legislative bodies of other countries as well as sound relations with parliamentary friendship alliances and prestigious parliamentarians, regarding this as our “political capital” in the relations with other countries’ legislative bodies.
At the same time, the NA will continue bringing into play the strength of legislative diplomacy as the representative of the people, step up “soft” connectivity and exchanges in terms of culture, society, education, youth and tourism, and popularize Vietnam’s images to the region and the world.
The NA’s external affairs will also continue to be linked with the implementation of recently established cooperation frameworks, such as the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) at COP26 and the Asia Zero Emission Community (AZEC) Initiative of the Japanese Government.
We will continue promoting economic diplomacy, considering it a focal task and an important driving force for development, in the spirit of “regarding the people, localities and businesses at the center of service”.
Building a professional, comprehensive, and modern diplomacy is an urgent and also strategic requirement for external affairs, and an inevitable trend in the world’s diplomacy. The NA will continue giving high priority to the diplomatic sector when considering and stipulating issues within its jurisdiction.
In addition, the NA will continue proactively implementing the policy of elevating multilateral external relations, especially within the frameworks of ASEAN-AIPA and the United Nations-IPU, and stay ready to play the “initiating and leadership role” in the issues in which Vietnam has strength and experience like poverty elimination, food security, water resource security, gender equality, and health.
In 2023, Vietnam’s population reached 100 million - an important and impressive milestone during its development process. The country has undergone nearly 40 years of renewal. Per capita income of Vietnamese people has reached the middle level and is increasing fast. The people’s right to mastery has been exercised via the law-ruled socialist state that is truly of the people, by the people and for the people.
A new spring is arriving, I wish compatriots and voters nationwide and the overseas Vietnamese community good health, happiness and success in the New Year. By continuing to bring into play the strength of the great national unity, the proactivity of the entire political system, along with support, efforts and dedication by the people and the business community, we will definitely surmount difficulties and challenges, seize opportunities, and soon achieve the national development goals set in the Resolution of the 13th National Party Congress.-