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Experts discuss management models for economic zones

Experts at the National Assembly (NA) Law Committee’s recent forum called for an early decision on administrative management models for special administrative economic zones.

NA Deputy Chairman Uong Chu Luu said at the forum several options were discussed to decide which administrative management model should be applied to which economic zone.

The first option proposed there would be no people’s councils and people’s committees but a head of the zone appointed by the Prime Minister, with a centralised power and a compact administrative management system.

The second option was to continue with people’s councils and people’s committees in the special zones like other localities.

Luu said another option proposed the setting up of people’s councils and committees but with a chairman who would be empowered like the head of the zone.

“Whichever option is chosen, it must comply with the Constitution and ensure a compact and efficient administrative management system to drive growth,” he said.

The draft Law on Special Administrative Economic Unit is expected to be discussed at the fifth meeting of the 14th National Assembly in May.

Nguyen Si Dung, former deputy head of the NA Office, emphasised the urgency to make a quick decision. He believed the first option was a good administrative management model as it would create conditions for a breakthrough development of the special zones.

There were concerns, however, about the mechanism to prevent the abuse of power by zone heads, he said.

“Don’t expect everything to be perfect from the beginning. The mechanism and policies will be improved during the operation,” former Deputy Minister of Justice Hoang The Lien was quoted by Dau Tu (Investment) online newspaper. Lien said he favoured the first option.

Echoing Lien, former deputy head of the NA Economic Committee Nguyen Van Phuc voted for the first option, agreeing this model would create breakthroughs.

Phan Trung Ly, former head of the NA Law Committee, however, voted for the second option, saying both options were compliant with the Constitution.

According Dang Hung Vo, former Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, the proposal to provide a 99-year land lease term for several prioritised sectors in the draft law was necessary to encourage huge, long-term investments.

On January 4, a delegation from the board of the project tasked with establishing special administrative economic zones, headed by Minister of Home Affairs Le Vinh Tan, worked with the central coast province of Khanh Hoa to develop Bac Van Phong special administrative economic zone.

One day earlier, the delegation worked with the southern province of Kien Giang to develop Phu Quoc special zone.

It will also work with the northern province of Quang Ninh on the development of Van Don special zone.

Tan said the projects for developing special administrative economic zones of the three provinces would be evaluated and completed to be proposed to the Government in February.

Tran Duy Dong, Director of the Ministry of Planning and Investment’s Economic Zone Management Department, said 12 criteria were developed to evaluate the projects of developing Van Don, Bac Van Phong and Phu Quoc special administrative economic units.