Session transforms a legislature ‘of reporting’ to that ‘of debate’: top legislator
The Government should take note of opinions expressed by National Assembly deputies and draw lessons to roll out breakthrough and drastic solutions in management work with a view to accomplishing socio-economic tasks set for the remaining months of the year, NA Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan said on June 21.

The Government should take note of opinions expressed by National Assembly (NA) deputies and draw lessons to roll out breakthrough and drastic solutions in management work with a view to accomplishing socio-economic tasks set for the remaining months of the year, NA Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan said on June 21.

In her closing remarks at the NA’s third session which lasted for a month, Ngan noted that deputies had devoted most of the time to discussing and passing dozens of laws and resolutions. Six other draft laws were also deliberated, she said.

The NA adopted a resolution on its oversight program in 2018 and another on the establishment of an oversight delegation on the implementation of laws and policies on management and use of state capital and assets at enterprises and equitization of state enterprises during 2011-16.

Ngan said that during this session, the legislature conducted supreme oversight of the implementation of food safety policies and laws for the 2011-16 period, which drew special attention from both NA deputies and voters nationwide.

The supreme legislative body then passed a resolution on intensifying the implementation of food safety policies and laws for 2016-20 which set forth tasks for the Government and ministries to settle remaining difficulties and shortcomings.

The NA leader said the legislature has yet to pass the Planning Law due to some controversial contents, noting the draft law needs to be reviewed further to ensure its quality and feasibility.

Regarding the Long Thanh international airport, the NA agreed to separate the contents of land recovery and compensation, support and resettlement into a component project for implementation of the airport project, she said.

During the session, legislators also heard the Government’s supplementary report on the implementation of socio-economic tasks in 2016 and the first months of 2017.

While appreciating the Government’s active management work, NA deputies also pointed out limitations and weaknesses in several sectors as well as potential risks and challenges facing the country, she said.

The legislature especially asked the Government to take more drastic measures to tighten financial discipline in the management of state budget revenues and expenditures, stressing the need to reduce overspending and ensure that public debts stay within the safety limit.

NA deputies press buttons to pass the Law on Foreign Trade Management __Photo: Phuong Hoa/VNA

A legislature “of debate”

The NA Chairwoman highlighted the success of question-and-answer sessions which centered on four main areas: agriculture and rural development; culture, sports and tourism; health; and investment and planning.

During three days reserved for the question-and-answer sessions (a half-day longer than the previous NA sitting), Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Ngoc Thien, Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien, and Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung answered questions about hot issues.

Ngan said the NA deputies actively participated in discussions with the cabinet members and other deputies on controversial issues. She praised the cabinet members for offering direct explanations on key issues during discussions on draft laws, resolutions and reports.

This contributed to creating a democratic, responsible and constructive working environment, increasing the quality of the session. The energetic and candid exchanges marked a gradual transformation from a legislature “of reporting” to that “of debate”, the top legislator said.

A total of 3,288 voter petitions nationwide were sent to the NA; and 114 questions cards with 127 questions of NA deputies were submitted to the Prime Minister and other members of the Government, Chief Justice of the Supreme People’s Court and Procurator General of the Supreme People’s Procuracy. During the question-and-answer session, more than 196 turns of NA deputies raised questions and 58 turns of them participated in debates, showing their enthusiasm and responsibility for the pressing issues of the country.

After the session, the NA adopted a resolution on question-and-answer activities as a basis for the Government and ministries to organize supervision activities so as to meet the needs and aspirations of the people.

Revisions to Penal Code approved

The Law revising a number of articles of the 2015 Penal Code says that teenagers aged between full 14 years and under 16 years have to bear penal liability for very serious crimes or particularly serious crimes under the three charges of intentionally inflicting injury or causing harm to the health of other persons, rape, and kidnapping in order to appropriate property. People in this age group will not be examined for penal liability for less serious crimes or serious crimes related to these three charges.

The law also narrows down the scope of penal liability for failure to denounce crimes. It states that the grandfather, grandmother, father, mother, offspring, grandchild, sibling, or spouse of an offender will not have to bear penal liability for failing to denounce the offenders’ crimes, except those infringing upon the national security or particularly serious crimes.

A defense counsel who does not denounce crimes will also not have to bear penal liability, except for crimes infringing upon the national security or particularly serious crimes which, he knows well in the course of defense, are being prepared, are being committed or were committed by his clients.

The law adds the provisions on the crime of violating regulations on multi-level business, fixing the highest fine of VND 5 billion or five years’ imprisonment, and on penal liability of commercial legal persons for terrorism financing and money laundering crimes.

The NA also adopted a resolution saying that the enforcement of the revised Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code, Law on Organization of Criminal Investigation Agencies, and Law on Custody and Temporary Detention will start from January 1 next year.

The revised Law on State Compensation Liability requires the State to compensate organizations and individuals that suffer damage caused by officials on duty. It defines the rights and obligations of damage sufferers, compensation-liable agencies, procedures for settling compensation claims, and responsibilities of related state agencies in the sphere.

Meanwhile, the revised Law on Legal Aid states that legal aid is the provision of free legal services for eligible people, helping guarantee human and citizen rights in access to justice and equality. It increases the scope of people receiving legal aid to 14 groups from the previous seven.

Some lawmakers proposed reviewing provisions on children, people with disabilities, and victims of human trafficking, as well as adding some subjects to the group of those eligible for legal aid, like poor people or people living just above the poverty line, those completing prison sentences, and overseas Vietnamese.

The NA Standing Committee asked the legislature to continue expanding legal aid for all children and ethnic minority people living in extreme difficulty-hit areas.

The revised Law on Management and Use of Public Assets, effective on January 1 next year, says agencies or organizations may lease their unused buildings or facilities or cooperate with other partners to commercially operate them only after obtaining approval from competent authorities.

The use of assets for new purposes must neither affect the functions and tasks assigned by the State to agencies or organizations nor affect state ownership of the assets, the law states.

Regarding the auction of licensed number plates for vehicles, the law disallows a successful bidder to sell the licensed number plate he has bought.

NA deputies adopted a resolution on settlement of non-performing loans of credit institutions, a move long awaited by the banking sector.

Effective for five years starting from August 15 this year, the resolution is expected to ease the burden of non-performing loans, often called the “clotted blood” of the economy.

It sets a target of reducing the rate of non-performing loans of credit institutions to 3 percent of the national debts by 2020.

An important but controversial issue has been tackled by the resolution - the time frame for settling non-performing loans. It says only non-performing loans that arise before August 15 are subject to handling under the resolution.

After this date, the central bank should step up the restructuring of credit institutions, and issue higher bank management and risk management standards that comply with international practices, with a view to minimizing new non-performing loans, the resolution says.- (VLLF)

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