Mar 31, 2013

Vietnam - Private sector ignored in draft Constitution

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VietNamNet Bridge – The fact that the role of the private economic sector is overlooked in the draft of the amended Constitution concerns scholars, lawyers and entrepreneurs who attended a seminar held in Hanoi on Tuesday by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI).

“I find that in the draft the word “State” is mentioned 122 times and is mostly the subject of the sentences where it appears. This is more than enough in a people’s constitution,” economist Pham Chi Lan said at the seminar.

On the other hand, the word “businessman” is nowhere to be found in the draft, said Le Duy Binh, director of Economica Company.

He cited Article 2 of the draft as saying: “All State power belongs to the people and is based on a coalition between the working class, the farmer and the intelligentsia.” He remarked the absence of the term “businessman”, saying the business community can certainly feel a sense of discrimination.

Lawyer Vu Xuan Tien, chairman of the board of members of VFAM Vietnam Consulting Company, said it was such a pity that the draft Constitution, although having 124 articles, did not mention a single word ‘businessman’.

“This means a force playing an important role in the industrialization and modernization process of the country is neglected by those preparing the draft Constitution,” he stressed.

VCCI Chairman Vu Tien Loc said: “Since it already mentions the working class and the intelligentsia, it should mention the businesspeople.” He, however, suggested shortening Article 2 to “All State power belongs to the people.”

Regarding land withdrawal, the draft of the amended Constitution specifies the State can revoke the land that has been allocated to the people for purposes of national defense, security, national interest, public interest and socioeconomic development.

Nguyen Tien Lap from law firm Quang & Associates said: “With these five reasons, everyone can say that the State can withdraw land at any time for this or that reason.”

This contradicts Article 56, which provides that legal assets of organizations and citizens are not nationalized and are only seized in some special cases. “It means the State, on revoking land, expropriates or destroys all legal assets of the people,” he said.

Lawyer Tien proposed the draft should recognize different forms of land ownership since Vietnam had recognized a multi-sector economy. In addition, State-owned enterprises are being equitized, a form of ownership diversification.

Former Deputy Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Dang Hung Vo stressed articles 57 and 58 with provisions on the State’s absolute rights to revoke land did not satisfy international standards.

“We want other countries to recognize us as a market economy, so international standards should apply to land withdrawals,” he said.

Source: SGT

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