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First-instance trial on former HCMC official opens



The trial of Nguyen Thanh Tai, HCM City’s former vice chairman, for “violation of regulations on management and use of State assets, causing losses and wastefulness” opened on Wednesday at the HCM City People’s Court.

First-instance trial on former HCMC official opens
Nguyen Thanh Tai, former vice chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee, in court on Wednesday on the opening day of his trial for “violation of regulations on management and use of State assets, causing losses and wastefulness”. — VNA/VNS Photo Hoang Tuyet

Tai, 68, vice chairman from 2011 to 2015, and the others, three of them city officials, are charged with wrongdoing in the sale of public lands in a prime location resulting in a loss of VND1.927 trillion (US$83 million) to the treasury, which potentially carries a jail sentence of up to 20 years.

Tai’s fellows accused are Nguyen Hoai Nam, former secretary of the District 2 Party unit, Dao Anh Kiet, former director of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Truong Van Ut, former deputy head of the department’s land management division, and Le Thi Thanh Thuy, president of Mayflower Investment Company Ltd and Lavenue Investment JSC.

In 2018 government auditors concluded that he was mainly responsible for the city’s decision to lease out a land lot at 8-12 Le Duan Street in District 1 without competitive bidding, causing losses worth millions of dollars to the city.

But the 4,896sq.m plot, which fronts three major streets, had for long been earmarked for a five-star hotel and shopping mall.

In 2007 the Government had ordered its auctioning for the purpose, saying explicitly “the investor implementing the project must be capable and experienced in the hotel sector.”

However, Tai gave approval for the HCM City Housing Management Company to set up a joint venture with four companies owned by the Ministry of Industry and Trade to develop the project.

“The project was originally scheduled to begin in 2007, but this was extended to 2011,” according to Tai.

The HCM City Housing Management Company was supposed to contribute 50 per cent of the capital and the four ministry companies the rest, but the former, claiming it did not have enough money, only contributed 20 per cent while the remaining 30 per cent was brought in by the Mayflower Investment Company Ltd.

After that a company called Lavenue Investment JSC was established as a joint venture between all the companies to carry out the project, with the accused Le Thi Thanh Thuy as its chairwoman.

Tai admitted in court he knew he was flouting the law and the Government’s instruction to auction the land.

“In the context of the economic recession at that time, which caused the real estate market to slump, an auction was not feasible,” he claimed.

The trial will go on until September 21.  VNS  



State apparatus and demands from life



Improving the state apparatus is an objective requirement that needs to be resolved soon.

Regarding the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, this ministry does not only govern agriculture. Thus, this department is almost not part of creating links between farming and animal husbandry and the processing (food) and supporting industries (fertilizer, animal feed).

Previously, Vietnam had the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry. As for the ministry’s “rural development”, the management of bridges, roads, schools and health stations all belong to other ministries.

Bộ máy nhà nước và đòi hỏi từ cuộc sống-1

This is a great irrelevance, because these infrastructural facilities are small in scale, but extremely numerous in number, and spread evenly across villages in the country, which are only understood by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Many bridges were swept away in the rain and floods last year and have yet to be rebuilt. The reason is not because a lack of investment but because they have to wait for the participation of other ministries than the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The repair or rebuilding of these bridges is not under the management of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Because of this paradox, many problems have arisen. For example, businesses specializing in grass-growing, cow-raising and dairy processing are under the management of two ministries, one being agriculture and the other industry.

The Ministry of Construction manages the construction sector, but how can it manage traffic and industrial construction If it performs all of these works. The Ministry of Construction needs to be merged with many ministries, not only with the Ministry of Transport. While the management function of the Ministry of Construction has little practical value, urban construction has been downgraded.

Before the Doi Moi era, Vietnam’s urbanization was only around 20%. The rate increased to 30%, then 40% in recent years, and will reach 50% or 60% in the near future. So why there is no Ministry of Urban Development but the Ministry of Construction performs multidisciplinary construction management?

For our country, in terms of space, land, and population, two components have been planned: rural and urban. If rural development already has a management ministry, why should not urban development be assigned to a powerful and specialized ministry. It could be the Ministry of Construction.

Other “multidisciplinary construction” has been managed by many ministries, for example, construction of traffic projects managed by the Ministry of Transport, industrial construction under the management of the Ministry of Industry and Trade…

Bộ máy nhà nước và đòi hỏi từ cuộc sống-2

The Ministry of Industry and Trade is the state management agency for two multidisciplinary sectors: trade and industry. This is a rare ministry of its kind in the world.

The US does not have a Department of Industry, but only a Department of Commerce. France has no Ministry of Industry and no Ministry of Trade, but only Ministry of Economy and Finance. Japan has a Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. China has a Ministry of Trade, while Industry and Communications are merged into one ministry.

Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade is not only rare in the world, but also has the function of managing state-owned enterprises operating in the field of industry and trade.

Over the past few decades, the state-owned enterprise system of Vietnam has contributed over 30% of GDP, most of which came from enterprises under the management of the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

In its development history, the Ministry of Industry and Trade was a merger of 10 ministries in the planned economy. During the Doi Moi period, it was the merger of the Ministry of Heavy Industry, the Ministry of Light Industry, and the Ministry of Trade.

This merger pushed the Ministry of Industry and Trade into a management maze and its functions collide with almost all other ministries, for example, with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on food and food processing industry management; Ministry of Construction on industrial construction management; Ministry of Transport with management of the production of transport equipment; with many ministries on trade management; and with the State Capital Management Commission on capital management of industry and trade enterprises.

The Ministry of Transport, in addition to the management of transportation (road, railway, airway, maritime, inland waterways), currently manages over 80 State-owned businesses, including eight corporations, over 20 non-business units (including two research institutes, three universities, six colleges, several hospitals, nine Project Management Units).

Obviously, this ministry is not only a multidisciplinary management ministry of transport, but also manages over 100 units of production, business and public service provision for society.

Bộ máy nhà nước và đòi hỏi từ cuộc sống-3

This is a typical ministry of Vietnam, because it not only performs multi-sector management, but also performs multi-ministry management in the government. It is impossible to deny the achievements that this ministry has made for the economy over the years, but since it has to spread its forces to perform its work, which cover many fields, many jobs belonging to transportation have been left behind.

Thus, includes traffic congestion at all levels, on provincial roads, highways, expressways and in centers of many cities. It includes the outdated railroad industry, and maritime shipping capacity with low capacity for a country with a coastline of more than 3 thousand kilometers like Vietnam.

In order to be suitable with the economy that has been and will be renovated with increasing speed and scale according to the guidelines and policies set in the resolution of the XIII Congress of the Party, the completion of the state administrative apparatus is a requirement that needs to be addressed.

This is not aimed at merging ministries once again, but to define the right roles and tasks among ministries in the functions, tasks, powers and responsibilities of the system of state administrative agencies.

Recently, the Government proposed changing the name of the Ministry of Construction to “the Ministry of Construction, Urban Development and Housing”.

Dr. Dinh Duc Sinh


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Vietnamese, Chinese top legislators hold online talks



The top legislators of Vietnam and China on June 17 shared their view on the significance of the bilateral comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership in the foreign policy of each country.

Vietnamese, Chinese top legislators hold online talks
Chairman of the Vietnamese National Assembly (NA) Vuong Dinh Hue and Chairman of the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee of China Li Zhanshu held online talks on June 17. (Photo: VNA)

During their online talks, Chairman of the Vietnamese National Assembly (NA) Vuong Dinh Hue and Chairman of the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee of China Li Zhanshu spoke highly of achievements in cooperation between the two legislative bodies, Parties and countries over the past time.

They compared notes on measures to strengthen the Vietnam-China relations in such areas as politics, economy-trade-investment, land border management, and the maintenance of peace and stability in the East Sea.

Hue informed Li about Vietnam’s successful organisation of the 13th National Party Congress and the elections of deputies to the 15th NA and all-level People’s Councils for the 2021-2026 tenure, as well as the country’s socio-economic development and the fight against COVID-19.

He congratulated the Chinese side on the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) (July 1), and achievements the country has recorded in COVID-19 containment, economic recovery and eradication of absolute poverty.

Hue suggested the two sides step up meetings at all levels, and invited Li to visit Vietnam, saying he wants to work together with the Chinese leader to instruct competent agencies to implement the cooperative agreement between the Vietnamese NA and the National People’s Congress of China.

The two sides should enhance friendly exchanges between peoples, especially young generations, and intensify the communication work to raise public awareness of the friendship between the two Parties and countries, he said.

Hue suggested the two countries enhance economic and political trust at the same time and make efforts to handle pending projects, and called on China to increase its import of Vietnamese goods.

He also called for China’s continued support to Vietnam in the pandemic combat, including the vaccine strategy.

Regarding the East Sea issue, Hue said the two sides should make joint efforts to maintain peace and stability, satisfactorily settle sea-related issues, respect legal and legitimate interests of each other in the spirit of common perceptions at the high level, notably the Vietnam-China agreement on basic principles guiding the settlement of sea-related issues, and in line with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982 UNCLOS).

Vietnamese, Chinese top legislators hold online talks
Chairman of the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee of China Li Zhanshu. (Photo: VNA)

For his part, Li congratulated Vietnam on the successful organisation of the two above-said political events, and achievements in socio-economic development and COVID-19 containment.

He expressed his hope that under the leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV), headed by General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, Vietnam will grow further in the time ahead.

The CPC, the National People’s Congress and people of China attach importance to the friendly neighbourliness and comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership with Vietnam, he affirmed.

He shared Hue’s view on the need to boost all-level exchanges and meetings, and invited the Vietnamese top legislator to visit China.

Li expressed his willingness to work together with the Vietnamese legislature in realising the cooperative agreement between the two legislative bodies.

China will continue to assist Vietnam in the pandemic fight, including vaccine cooperation, he said, adding that China takes into account Vietnam’s suggestions in economic, trade and investment collaboration.

Li suggested the two sides observe high-level common perceptions in maintaining maritime peace and stability, and implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), soon reaching a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC).

Source: VNA


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Việt Nam calls for early completion of ASEAN travel corridor framework



Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyễn Quốc Dũng speaks at the meeting. — VNA/ Photo 

HÀ NỘI — Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyễn Quốc Dũng suggested ASEAN soon finalise a travel corridor framework for the safe resumption of essential business travel.

The official was speaking while addressing the ASEAN Joint Consultative Meeting (JCM) on Thursday.

The event took place via videoconference chaired by Brunei, which holds the ASEAN Chairmanship in 2021.

Participants at the meeting recognised the progress in ASEAN Community building over the last six months despite the complex COVID-19 situation in the region.

They expressed their countries’ support for Brunei to promote the initiatives and priorities for the ASEAN Year 2021.

They agreed on the roadmap for building the ASEAN Community’s post-2025 vision and on the establishment of a high-level drafting group this year.

The meeting also concurred on building an ASEAN master plan on the Fourth Industrial Revolution and accelerating the Strategic and Holistic Initiative to Link ASEAN Responses to Emergencies and Disasters (ASEAN SHIELD).

Officials agreed to step up the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines via UNICEF and the COVAX Facility to supply member countries, asking ASEAN to promptly used US$10.5 million from its COVID-19 response fund to purchase vaccines.

Stressing the importance of sustainable recovery, the countries highlighted the need for the entire bloc’s engagement in implementing the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework, and for supporting enterprises, vulnerable groups, and remote areas in the region.

At the meeting, they welcomed and approved Việt Nam’s initiative to organise an ASEAN forum on sub-regional co-operation in the third quarter of this year to focus on narrowing the development gap among sub-regions for comprehensive recovery and sustainable development.

They also highly valued the outcomes of the regional conference on the implementation of the Initiative for ASEAN Integration for 2021 – 2025, held on May 19 and chaired by Việt Nam.

In his remarks, Deputy Minister Dũng said ASEAN should prioritise recovering and promoting connectivity by effectively implementing the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework and soon finalising an ASEAN travel corridor arrangement framework to facilitate travel within the bloc.

He also pointed out the COVID-19 pandemic’s impacts on the region, including the widened development gap among sub-regions in ASEAN.

The official called on member countries to assist remote areas, including the Mekong sub-region, to recover from the pandemic and keep up with the common development pace in the grouping. —


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