Amended Capital Law: decentralizing power and streamlining administration
After 10 years, the 2012 Capital Law has been a catalyst for robust growth in Hanoi, but it still needs to be improved.
The implementation of the 2012 Capital Law has brought good results, but drawbacks make its revision urgent. The most critical issue is how to decentralize power to subordinate agencies and ensure that local authorities use the power responsibly. Nguyen Cong Anh, deputy director of Hanoi's Department of Justice, discusses the issue with The Hanoi Times.
|Nguyen Cong Anh, Deputy Director of the Hanoi Department of Justice. Photo: The Hanoi Times
What benefits has Hanoi reaped from the last ten years of the Capital Law's implementation?
Since the enactment of the Capital Law 10 years ago, Hanoi has experienced robust socio-economic development. The law has provided legal tools to create and manage urban development plans and improve the urban landscape. It also gives the city and local authorities more power to deal with violations of construction and land management regulations.
Meanwhile, the people of Hanoi have developed a cultured lifestyle driven by numerous cultural events and strong efforts to preserve relics and heritage. Hanoi continues to lead the nation in education with a strong network of schools and comprehensive training programs. In addition, the city government has conducted many social welfare policies to ensure political and social security and national defense.
The city achieves higher economic growth on an annual basis and remains among the leading localities to drive national economic growth. In 2020, the Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) hit VND1.02 trillion (US$41.8 billion) and the per capita income reached US$5,325, nearly double the national average. On average, in 2016-2020, Hanoi contributed 16% of Vietnam's total GDP, 18.5% of State budget revenue, 20% of domestic revenue, and 8.6% of total import-export turnover. With these results, Hanoi has lived up to the expectations of being the northern region's political, economic and social center and growth engine and the entire nation.
What are the shortcomings of the law that lawmakers should focus on solving?
The 2012 Capital Law contains many ambiguous and impractical articles. Meanwhile, it overlaps with several other regulations that were amended and enacted later.
The relocation of government buildings has stagnated despite the Prime Minister's Decision 130/QD-TTg of January 23, 2015. Meanwhile, the lack of universal standards for construction, transportation, drainage, and telecommunication works prevents coordination among government agencies in urban development.
Other issues not covered by the 2012 Capital Law include the organizational apparatus of municipal and local administrations, the rules for rural and agricultural growth, and the joint management mechanism between cities and provinces in the Red River Delta. Although a Hanoi Capital Region Steering Council has been established, it has not been very active.
Hanoi also has limited land reserves for transportation, and it remains difficult for local authorities to expand existing roads and streets in urban districts. The cost of land clearance and resettlement is high, far in excess of the city's budget.
What changes do you recommend for the amended Capital Law to boost Hanoi's development?
I must say that the decentralization of power is the key to achieving the socio-economic goals set by Politburo's Resolution 15-NQ/TW of May 5, 2022, and Resolution 30-NQ/TW of November 23, 2022.
In drafting the amended Capital Law, legislators need to come up with practical, workable solutions that can take immediate effect. Administrative tasks that can be handled by subordinate agencies should be delegated to them. By following these procedures, administrative work will become manageable and organized. In addition, local governments must be held accountable for supervising the work of their subordinate units.
The amended Capital Law should also facilitate Hanoi with special policies to raise and maximize all possible resources. Among the resources, land is essential as the city's urban development plan will be based on the Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) model. In addition, Hanoi should pay attention to attracting high-quality talent and prioritize the implementation of validated changes as soon as possible.
Thank you for your time!
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