The draft Law on Special Administrative, Economic Units needed to be substantially revised to make it feasible and to fully exploit resources for boosting economic development, according to a verification report from the National Assembly (NA) Law Committee.
Committee chairman Nguyen Khac Dinh presented the report at yesterday’s NA meeting, saying the Government needed to clarify several points.
Specifically, an evaluation of policies applied to different models of economic zones around the world was needed as a base for raising outstanding preferential incentives for Van Don, Phu Quoc and Bac Van Phong.
It was necessary to evaluate the competitiveness of these units and their ability to attract investments in comparison with special economic zones in the region and in the world, Dinh said.
Financial support from the State budget in initial years, the participation of strategic investors as well as the ability to raise capital for special administrative-economic zones to ease pressure on the State budget also needed to be given careful evaluation..
In addition, special attention must be attached to ensuring national security, preservation of natural resources and biodiversity, social security and living standards of local residents.
“The specific regulations for these three units need to be further reviewed and studied carefully to bring into full play their potentials and strengths while preventing competition which might cause a waste of resources,” the report said. “It is necessary to clarify sectors of priority in attracting investments appropriate to each units,” Dinh said, adding that the three zones should not compete with each other, but compete regionally and globally.
The law committee also urged the Government to add regulations about criteria for strategic investors to select appropriate investors, was critical to the success of special administrative-economic units.
Careful consideration must be given to land and natural resource policies, Dinh said. The current draft law aimed to create favourable conditions for land access for investors, allowing ownership up to 99 years for investment projects in priority sectors.
Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung, in charge of compiling the draft law, said that the Government proposed two options for the organisation of local governments at special administrative-economic units for comments from the NA.
The first option was that there would be a head of the special administrative-economic unit with no people’s councils and committees. The head would be appointed by the Prime Minister.
The second option was that the special administrative-economic units would still have people’s councils and committees.
Dung said both options had strengths and limits, but the first was preferred because it would create breakthroughs in administrative management with a compact structure and enhanced accountability. However, this could cause abuse of power if not tightly supervised.
According to Dinh, the supervision mechanism on the head of the special administrative-economic must be clarified to prevent this.
For any models of local government organisation, Dinh said that it was vital to clarify the relationship between local government and provincial people’s councils and committees and other provincial and central-level agencies.
The committee urged the Government to speed up the compilation of the law as there were still a huge load of works to be completed to propose the law at the NA’s fifth meeting.
Currently, the projects of three special administrative-economic units had been prepared by the provinces and had not been approved by the Government.
The NA will discuss the law on November 22.