"Special" model of local government and competition amid special economic zones highlighted in agenda

By Bao Binh - Nov 16, 2017 | 07:55 AM GMT+7

TheLEADERTwo options for establishment of the organization model of local government based on the draft Law on Special Administrative-Economic Units (hereinafter referred to as special economic zones - SEZs), were submitted to the National Assembly for review, thereby provoking controversy.

"Special" model of local government and competition amid special economic zones highlighted in agenda
Establishment of organization model of local government in SEZs provokes controversy. Photo: vietnamnet

The SEZs’ heads should be strictly supervised to avoid 'abuse of power'

In option 1, the local People's Councils and People's Committees will not be established. 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. This is the approach that the Government favors.

In option 2, the local People's Council and People's Committee will be established in SEZs.

Many agreed with option 1, considering that this option demonstrates the "special" features of the SEZs. In addition, the mechanism of supervision on the heads of SEZs should be clarified in order to ensure the effectiveness and avoid the abuse of power.

In contrast, others thought that option 2 is in compliance with the Constitution in 2013 and consistent with the Law on Organization of Local Government in 2015.

According to the Law Drafting Commission, many proposed that no matter what option the local government in SEZs is organized under, it is necessary to clarify the relationship between the administration of the SEZs and the provincial People's Council and People's Committee…

Furthermore, the mechanism regarding budget, budget settlement, investment management and land management which must be clarified in the draft Law, the Law Drafting Commission emphasized.

There exists concern about the competition among three SEZs

The establishment of these lists has taken into account the specific advantages of each special economic zone, namely, Van Don, Bac Van Phong and Phu Quoc SEZs. However, the Law Commission proposes that some issues should be reconsidered.

Based on the experience of some countries, the development of SEZs is often associated with certain groups of sectors or industrial clusters.

Therefore, the Law Drafting Commission proposed that the Government should clarify more clearly the association and diffusion among business lines prioritized for development among SEZs.

For example, according to the list, tourism, services and general entertainment with casino are those of the business lines that are prioritized for development in all three SEZs with investment capital of at least 44,000 billion (roughly US$1.94 billion).

The Law Drafting Commission thought that the overlap of the prioritized business line can lead to competition among three SEZs.

Therefore, it is necessary to define strategic business lines in order to attract investment in accordance with the features characteristics of each SEZ and to avoid the overlap.