Are the special economic zones really attractive without the heads?

By Thu Phuong - May 02, 2018 | 12:50 AM GMT+7

TheLEADERWithout both of economic incentives and a special administrative institution, the special economic zone will hardly be able to sustain its appeal, according to experts.

Are the special economic zones really attractive without the heads?
Phu Quoc island district, which will become one of three SEZs of Vietnam.

Previously, the Government agreed that the local People's Councils and People's Committees will not be established in special economic zones (SEZs). Instead, the heads of SEZs will be nominated and decentralized by the Prime Minister to manage all administrative and socio-economic activities in the SEZs. 

In addition, the Government proposed to supplement the regulation on the supervisory mechanism of the Provincial People's Council to the heads of SEZs.

However, in the latest draft Law on Special Economic Zones submitted to the Standing Committee of the National Assembly for review in the first meeting of April 2018, there would be no longer heads of SEZs as initially proposed by the Government.

Accordingly, the authority of SEZs is included the local People's Council and the People's Committee. The People's Council will consist of from 9 to 15 deputies. The People's Committee will comprise one chairman and two vice chairmen. The chairman will be elected by the People's Council as recommended the Minister of Home Affairs, after reaching the agreement with the chairman of the provincial People's Committee, to submit to the Prime Minister for approval.

The election of SEZ's authority follows Law on Organization of Local Administrations, Law on Election of Deputies to the National Assembly and Deputies to People's Councils, Law on Special Administrative-Economic Units and Party’s and State’s current regulations.

This option has received approval from most of leaders of all three provinces of Quang Ninh, Khanh Hoa, Kien Giang and other National Assembly’s members. However, economic experts have expressed different points of view regarding this matter.

According to Dr. Luu Bich Ho, former Director of Development Strategy Institute, Ministry of Planning and Investment, the institution of SEZs proposed in the draft law on SEZ is similar to the current administrative model in Vietnam.

The SEZs of other countries can be seen as a self-governing unit. In particular, the SEZ's heads should have great powers. The local governments only control the issues regarding the national defense and political security in SEZs.

Therefore, with the institution proposed for SEZs in the draft law, it will be very difficult to attract investors, Ho said.

Sharing the same opinion, Dr. Le Dang Doanh, former Director of the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM), said: "It is the institution that makes SEZs attractive to investors. The thing that SEZs have an administrative apparatus with complex procedures, which trouble the investors, other than a professional, internationalized and effective one, will fail to make the investors interested."