No more “ask and give” in new law
Vu Quang Cac, director general of the Department of Planning Management, under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, speaks to the Vietnam News Agency about some key new points in the latest draft of the Planning Law.

Vu Quang Cac, director general of the Department of Planning Management, under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, speaks to the Vietnam News Agency about some key new points in the latest draft of the Planning Law.

Do you think that the draft Law on Planning will help eliminate the mechanism of “ask and give” in Vietnam’s planning activities?

Over the years, Vietnam’s planning has revealed many weaknesses. As a result, it has weakened national economic development due to frequent changes in planning work and poor co-ordination among government agencies.

At present our planning work is mainly based on the country’s master plan for socio-economic development, construction plan, land use plan, sector’s development plans and more. That approach has led to poor co-ordination between management agencies.

It is high time for Vietnam to renew its planning methods and planning contents based on an integrated, multi-disciplined approach. Of course, to have good planning, we need strong co-ordination among government agencies at all levels – from central to grass roots levels and to consult the public throughout the process.

I’m confident that if this approach is carried out, we will eliminate the mechanism of “ask and give”.

To do that, the draft law has to provide a clear picture of the consultation process, based on the top down and bottom up mechanism. If we do that, I’m pretty sure we can iron out disputes between sectors, localities and others.

The draft law has also laid down detailed requirements in planning schemes at different levels. It also combines existing ordinances into a system of planning and overrides the haphazard and ineffective circulars and decrees issued by ministries, sectors and provinces.

Last but not least, once the law comes into force, it will become a tool to settle conflicts between sectors or provinces.

According to the new law, Vietnam will have 21 types of planning at the central, regional and provincial levels. Sector and field planning will be integrated into master planning at all levels, except for some fields, which regulate the use of rare natural resources.

When the law is passed by the National Assembly will it become an important tool for central and local governments and authorized agencies to exercise their duties?

Planning is a very important tool of any State, be it a developed nation like the USA, Great Britain, France, Germany or others. All these countries have used laws on planning as a guiding tool in their national development.

Once the law comes into force, it will help both central and local government to perform their missions more efficiently and effectively.

In addition, the law will help the government achieve its targets of becoming a government of constructivism and for the people.

Based on the law, the State will only do planning work for essential infrastructure. The planning work must also be in line with the rule of law of the market economy while avoiding economic conflicts between sectors and localities.

Additionally, planning will become an effective tool in exploring and using the country’s resources for sustainable development, environmental protection and adapting to climate change.

Do you think the law is an effective tool for national economic development while encouraging investment?

Though our country has gradually changed from centralized planning market to a socialist oriented market economy, our planning activities still follow the old way. We have not fully followed the rule of demand and supply, the rule of value and the rule of competitiveness.

So it is time for us to renew our planning work to make it suitable for a market economy and international integration.

In short, planning will be used as a catalyst for sustainable and inclusive economic growth by providing a framework for new economic opportunities, regulation of land and housing markets as well as the provision of adequate infrastructure and basic services.

The planning process must target not only better quality of life and the success of global integration but also the preservation of cultural heritages and cultural harmonization and diversity.- (VNS)

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