Reporter: The year 2023 marks the mid-term point of the 15th National Assembly. What are the outstanding results of the NA's activities last year?
NA Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue: It can be seen that the NA completed a heavy workload in 2023, the heaviest since the beginning of the tenure.
The workload included the successful organisation of five NA meetings, including two regular and three extraordinary sittings, together with 16 regular sessions of the NA Standing Committee, not mentioning full-time NA deputies’ conferences and NA Standing Committee sessions held between the fifth and the sixth meetings of the 15th NA to study and explain the contents submitted to the NA for approval at two regular NA sittings. Thus, the number of meetings in 2023 alone is equal to the total held in a half of the NA tenure.
From the fifth meeting, with the initiative of arranging two phases in each session, the NA shows its flexibility, adaptation and response to reality’s requirements in the current period.
The year 2023 also saw many “first things”, for examples, the successful organisation of the first Dien Hong Awards – the national press award on the National Assembly (NA) and People’s Councils; preparation for the award ceremony of the second Dien Hong Awards slated to take place in January 2024; the first national-scale conference on the implementation of laws and resolutions issued by the 15th NA to thoroughly grasp the viewpoint and direction of Party Central Committee on "closely linking law making with law enforcement"; the first Labourers’ Forum; and the first "Children's National Assembly" hypothetical session. Some of those events have been selected as outstanding events of the NA in 2023.
So, it can be seen that the workload is very heavy, with many difficult and complex problems which required the NA, the NA Standing Committee and every NA deputies to work hard. Despite the hard work and high pressure, I think that the most valuable thing is that every NA deputy is happy to contribute to the common work. The Government, the Supreme People's Court, the Supreme People's Procuracy, the Fatherland Front, ministries, central agencies and local administrations were all engaged in the work and made great efforts.
I want to emphasise that NA deputies who represent the will and aspirations of the people are the centre of legislative activities. Through the terms, the NA deputies’ performance has seen positive changes associated with reforms in the organisation and operations of the NA.
At meetings, NA deputies have shown a sense of responsibility, enthusiasm, and delivered profound and multi-dimensional opinions in many fields. In particular, the number of deputies registering to speak in discussions and question-and-answer sessions was very large, especially at the 6th sittings. The spirit of innovation in the parliament has contributed to improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the NA's work; and showing their efforts to derliver on commitments that they made to voters.
Regarding law building work, the NA continues to uphold the spirit of proactiveness and development facilitation in lawbuilding with a long-term vision. The goal of the law-making work in the 15th NA term is to complete synchronous development institutions and create a legal framework to successfully implement socio-economic development tasks in the 2021-2025 period.
Right from the beginning of the term, the Politburo issued Conclusion No. 19-KL/TW (in 2021) on the orientation of the law-building programme in the 15th NA term. This is the first time in the NA’s legislative history there has been a conclusion issued by the Politburo to guide legislative tasks for the entire term.
As of the 6th meeting, the NA and relevant agencies had completed 114 out of 137 legislative research tasks of the entire term, reaching 83.21% of the plan.
This is clear evidence of drastic changes in law-making thinking from management to facilitating national sustainable development, demonstrating the high sense of responsibility, proactiveness and activeness of the Party delegation of the NA in urgently institutionalising the policies and guidelines set by the 13th National Party Congress, and soon translate the Resolution of the 13th Party Congress into reality.
The above-mentioned results prove that we have, and are tackling the problems of passiveness and reliance on others, like when you cook rice, you boil the water and wait for someone else to bring you rice. In stead, we must prepare carefully for anything that we want to do. This is valuable experience withdrawn from the 78-year history of the NA.
Looking back at 2023, thematic supervision activities continued to be a "bright spot". We not only conduct supervision in a "post-inspection" style but also focus on monitoring the issues that are being implemented, so that the NA can join the Government in removing obstacles and difficulties in the implementation process. In 2023, for the first time, the NA conducted mid-term supervision and passed a resolution on thematic supervision of "the implementation of NA resolutions on the national target programmes on building new rural areas for 2021-2025, sustainable poverty reduction for 2021-2025, and socio-economic development in ethnic minority and mountainous areas for 2021-2030.”
The NA assigned the Government to urgently draft a resolution on a number of specific mechanisms and policies to remove difficulties and obstacles and speed up the implementation of national target programmes to submit to the NA for consideration and approval at the nearest meeting following shortened procedures; with one of the mechanisms being the pilot decentralisation to allow district-level authorities to decide the list, structure, and allocation of state budget capital.
Such timely actions are attributable to early preparation. Right from the beginning of the term, supervision was identified as a central and key task. Performing the supervision function well will bring positive impacts on the NA’s functions of building law and making decision on important issues of the country.
The opening ceremony of the 15th NA's sixth session on October 23, 2023 (Photo: VNA)
Reporter: What are the focuses and new requirements of the NA’s activities in 2024?
NA Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue: At the sixth session, the NA decided to postpone the approval of two bills, namely the Land Law (revised) and the Law on Credit Institutions (revised).
After studying 12 million opinions from people about the draft revised Land Law, due to the special importance and complexity of this bill and the large number of different viewpoints on the draft revised Law on Credit Institutions, the NA debated, made prudent consideration regarding many aspects, and decided to vote on the drafts at the nearest possible session.
The NA adopted a resolution on the application of top-up corporate income tax under the Global Anti-Base Erosion rules and permitted the establishment of an investment support fund financed by the collection of the global minimum tax and other legal sources to aid businesses.
The resolution took effect on January 1, 2024. It is an urgent need to enforce the regulations on the global minimum tax starting 2024 in accordance with the guidance of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) so as to concurrently acquire the right to impose top-up corporate income tax and create a favourable investment environment for continuing to strongly attract foreign investment.
Aside from meeting urgent demand of reality, it also demonstrated the NA’s consistent principle of resolutely implementing the issues that are already clear, proved to be true in reality, and on which there is high consensus while continuing to consider and sum up real practices when it comes to the issues that remain unclear or on which there are many different opinions, and carrying out those issues on a trial basis when authorities give permission; making timely adjustments and amendments to policies that have already been implemented but later proved to be inappropriate.
As 2024 is a crucial year holding special importance, the NA required continuing to prioritise promoting economic growth, maintain macro-economic stability, control inflation, and ensure major balances of the economy. The resolution on the socio-economic development plan for 2024, adopted at the sixth session, also targets a gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of 6 - 6.5%.
As I have mentioned, the NA is upholding the consistent spirit of of proactiveness and development facilitation in lawbuilding with a long-term vision. Regarding urgen issues requiring timely settlement, within its jurisdiction, the NA will issue resolutions. In 2022, it issued resolutions approving investment policies on six nationally important transport projects with very large sums of investment capital. These six projects are all key and urgent ones critical to national defence and security, having strong influence on enhancing regional connectivity, and boosting socio-economic development of the country, regions, and localities housing the projects.
The resolution on piloting some specific policies on road investment and construction, approved at the NA’s sixth session, continues to follow that spirit. This mechanism is expected to help 21 other key transport projects of the country to considerably shorten their implementation time and accelerate progress.
Recently, the Government and the NA Standing Committee carried out a general review of legal documents in all fields and across the country. Basing on that, the NA issued a resolution requesting the Government to quickly examine and report the outcomes to the NA at the seventh session, take measures to immediately deal with contradictory and overlapping contents and effectively address the avoidance of and lack of sense of responsibility among part of civl servants and public employees; quickly research and propose amendments to the Law on Promulgation of Legal Documents.
The results of the general review and systematisation of the legal system are important to administrative reform. Basing on this, we will continue implementing a general review of administrative procedures in 2024.
In addition, we are accelerating the construction and development of socio-economic infrastructure, especially nationally important projects and facilities; promoting comprehensive cultural-social and social security development, and early building a national target programme on the revitalisation and development of culture and the development of Vietnamese people to submit to the NA for consideration; and comprehensively implementing wage policy reforms from July 1, 2024.
The NA, together with the political system, will continue to perfect and build a lean, efficient, and effective state apparatus; effectively addressing the attitude of passing the buck and avoiding responsibility for fear for committing faults of a part of civil servants while tightening administrative discipline and discipline among civil servants and in public work; and further stepping up the prevention and control of corruption, negative phenomena, wastefulness, and group interests.
All those tasks are aimed at unlocking every potential and resource and creating new momentum for the country’s fast and sustainable development.
NA Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue (front, centre) and Vietnamese and foreign officials pose for a group photo at the opening ceremony of the ninth Global Conference of Young Parliamentarians in Hanoi on September 15, 2023. (Photo: VNA)
Reporter: Could you share more information about the work of parliamentary diplomacy and new requirements in the current context, especially in terms of promoting the “soft power” of parliamentary diplomacy to serve the country’s economic development and international integration in the new period?
NA Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue: Among the country’s common achievements in external affairs, the NA’s external activities have not only taken place vibrantly but also been promoted in terms of quality. We have strongly brought into play the characteristic of external affairs of both the State and people. It could be stated that 2023 was an outstandingly successful year of parliamentary diplomacy.
More than 10 delegations of other countries’ parliaments paid official visits to Vietnam while leaders of the Vietnamese NA also visited other countries to attend multilateral forums. Many international agreements were signed/renewed between the Vietnamese NA and other countries’ parliaments.
In bilateral external activities, attention was paid to enhancing ties with neighbouring countries, intensifying relations with strategic partners, substantively promoting relations with cooperative partners and traditional friends, and strengthening trust with other partners.
The NA’s external activities have turned parliamentary diplomacy into an important political channel for foreign relations and a source of strength for promoting cooperation with other countries in a result-oriented manner, thereby raising the country’s international stature.
In terms of multilateral parliamentary diplomacy, the NA engaged in an active and proactive manner with the readiness to contribute to the building and shaping of common rules, and to initiate and lead new initiatives at international and regional inter-parliamentary forums like the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA).
A recent example was the success of the ninth Global Conference of Young Parliamentarians, themed “The Role of Young People in Promoting the Realisation of Sustainable Development Goals via Digital Transformation and Innovations”. The event adopted a joint statement, the first of its kind so far through the nine editions of the IPU conference.
The first Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam Parliamentary Summit took place in Laos in early December 2023, during which the chairpersons of the three countries’ NAs adopted a joint statement. The establishment of this mechanism was an important milestone in the history of the three NAs’ cooperation, marking the elevation of cooperation among the three legislative bodies to the highest level.
The summit marked the completion of the “three peaks of a triangle” of the Cambodia - Laos - Vietnam high-level cooperation, namely the top leaders of the three Parties, the Prime Ministers of the three countries, and now the chairpersons of the three NAs, creating a “tripod” – policies and guidelines of the Parties, the institutionalisation and building of legal framework along with supervision by the NAs, and enforcement by the Governments – so that Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam can further enhance cooperation.
Our top duty is to continue maintaining and consolidating a peaceful and stable environment for national development towards the two centenary goals (by 2030 and 2045). To fulfill that duty, it is necessary to unceasingly reform, stay creative, and be flexible in the external affairs mindset and implementation methodology, with new ways of thinking and working. The new mindset should adopt a global, multilateral, and inter-sectoral approach on the basis of firmly maintaining independence, self-reliance, sovereignty, and territorial integrity. We need to continue promoting the style of diplomacy that is deeply imbued with the characteristics of “Vietnamese bamboo” with “strong roots, sturdy stems, and flexible branches” as directed by Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong.
In that spirit, the Vietnamese NA will continue nurturing ties with the legislative bodies of other countries as well as sound relations with parliamentary friendship alliances and prestigious parliamentarians, considering this as our “political capital” in the relations with other countries’ legislative bodies.
At the same time, the NA will continue bringing into play the strength of legislative diplomacy as the representative of the people, step up “soft” connectivity and exchanges in terms of culture, society, education, youth, and tourism, and popularise Vietnam’s images to the region and the world.
The NA’s external affairs will also continue to link with the implementation of many recently established cooperation frameworks such as the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) at COP26 and the Asia Zero Emission Community (AZEC) initiative of the Japanese Government.
We will continue promoting economic diplomacy, which is a focal task and an important driver of development, in the spirit of “putting people, localities, and businesses at the centre of service”.
Building professional, comprehensive, and modern diplomacy is an urgent and also strategic requirement for external affairs, and an inevitable trend in the world’s diplomacy. The NA will continue giving high priority to the diplomatic sector when considering and stipulating issues within its jurisdiction.
In addition, the NA will continue proactively implementing the policy of elevating multilateral external relations, especially within the frameworks of ASEAN - AIPA and the United Nations - IPU and stay ready to play the initiating and leadership role in the issues Vietnam has strength and experience like poverty elimination, food security, water resource security, gender equality, and health.
In 2023, Vietnam’s population reached 100 million – an important and impressive milestone during its development process. The country has undergone nearly 40 years of refom. Per capita income in Vietnam has reached the middle level and is increasing fast. People’s right to mastery has been exercised via the law-governed socialist state that is truly of the people, by the people, and for the people.
A new spring is arriving, I wish compatriots, voters nationwide, and the overseas Vietnamese community good health, happiness, and success in the New Year. By continuing to bring into play the strength of the great national solidarity, the proactiveness of the entire political system, along with support, efforts and dedication by people and the business community, we will definitely surmount difficulties and challenges, seize opportunities, and soon achieve the national development targets set in the Resolution of the 13th National Party Congress.
Reporter: Thank you very much!