VietNamNet would like to introduce the next part of the talks "To not make policy in heaven," with the participation of Prof. Dang Hung Vo, former deputy minister of Natural Resources and Environment; Dr. Hoang Ngoc Giao, Director of the Institute for Policy, Law and Development Studies; and lawyer Nguyen Ngoc Lan, Deputy Director of the Action for Community Development Center (ACDC).
VietNamNet: In the spirit of the amended Law on Promulgation of Legal Amendments, the policy must go ahead. So how to assess policy innovation?
Prof. Dang Hung Vo
Prof. Dang Hung Vo: I think one of the highest criteria for evaluation is whether that policy is consistent with reality or not.
We have tried to bring the policy into life, but I think the opposite side is important, because it is the way to assert whether that policy is appropriate for life or not.
Any policy made has a lot of impact on various subjects. It can benefit this group, but it can also harm other groups. To evaluate a policy, we can offer a variety of criteria, which are based on the demand of people. Sometimes we follow the thinking of some officials. I think we have to consider that way of thinking is in life or just in air-conditioned rooms.
Lawyer Ngoc Lan: I agree with Prof. Vo. It is not easy at all to bring a policy into life. The matter here is that we need to realize whether or not it is the needs of society? Whether or not it is the needs of the people?
And we should note very specifically who are the subjects of that policy, then we have a more rational policy making process.
VietNamNet: Some said that our law-making process is likely "patching bicycle tires". Whenever the tire has a hole, we patch it. That way makes our policies change very often. What is the main cause of this situation, Mr Hoang Ngoc Giao?
Mr. Hoang Ngoc Giao: Firstly, the policy, the law and development are three elements tied together. When it comes to making laws, people usually think of the Civil Code, the Criminal Code or the laws on economics, such as the Law on Investment. But from the perspective of expertise, I think that the Law on Promulgation of Legal Documents is a very important law. Its importance is only after the Constitution, because it is significant in enhancing the quality of bills.
Legal documents are tools to build the legal system on a platform in line with the Constitution. If this tool is weak, we will have poor legal products, and a low quality legal system.
Secondly, we often call on bringing the law into life, for people’s execution – ie imposed thinking. The reality for decades has proven it. Many legal documents were issued but they were not enforced.
Mr. Hoang Ngoc Giao
We must turn back from the first stage - "law making", not from law enforcement, or the last stage. Experts, policymakers and cabinet members and National Assembly deputies have just realized that: "We have made law in the way of both designing and building at the same time and the way of making a plough in in the middle of the road, ie making law without any orientation.
When we say "patching bicycle tires” its means that we already have a product and whenever it has a hole, then we patch it but here I emphasize the first stage – law making process – when we have the core ideas for a bill.
A few months ago the media reported that a district in Hanoi wanted to ban sidewalk beer services. Such idea is a policy. But when that district flashed that idea and wanted to turn it into a policy, the local authorities did not consult beer sellers and beer drinkers, experts or the people of Hanoi. And when that idea was introduced, it caused social reaction. That's an example.
Like a few months ago the media had information about a certain district that wants to ban beer HN sidewalk. Such is his intention to ban policy. But when he set to work, he did not consult the seller of beer or beer, no consultation of the culture or the people of Hanoi. And that's when the idea of giving it away caused a reaction. That's one example.
So policy making must start from the reality. Right from the beginning we did not do it. In the process of writing the law, we began both designing and building the law and whenever a new idea flashed, we did it and so on.
In the law making process, we cannot avoid the struggle between different groups of interests. For example, the policy on import of used cars is hated by local automakers but it is praised by auto traders.
The role of the government is to consider, assess the interests of the related groups to have appropriate solutions, which make consensus in society, and at the same time promote development. The most important role belongs to the National Assembly: This body should not only wait for bills submitted to modify but it has to weigh the disadvantages for this group and disadvantages for other groups.
The biggest role of NA deputies is representing their constituents to voice certain views, to debate and finally find out the best solution.
VietNamNet: We have policy-related issues that have become funny or nonsensical stories, such as “those whose chest is flat are not allowed to drive a motorbike”. What are the causes of this situation, Mr. Vo?
Ms. Nguyen Ngoc Lan
Prof. Dang Hung Vo: In life, policies, even though that they are right, cannot cover the actual issues of life. If we do not have enough tools to solve all cases, we must have initiatives, which can come from experts, the community or from a lot of workshops. Sometimes initiatives from certain managers are good but they can be funny, too. I think that it is the fact but we have to be sure that such funny initiatives will not be approved.
VietNamNet: This question is for Ms. Lan. From your observations, how have social - professional organizations and the people's organizations been contributing to the construction and implementation of policies?
Ms. Ngoc Lan: There is a fact that most lawmakers still think that common people are not expert enough to contribute to the law-making process.
In fact, in the process of amending the Land Law of 2013, the Constitution, the Law on State Budget or the Law on Public Investment, the role of social organizations as well as people's organizations developed significantly both in terms of quality and quantity. In the recent amendment of the Constitution, almost all citizens were delivered the draft for making their comments.
VietNamNet: But not everyone can read and understand legal documents?
Ms. Ngoc Lan: Of course, not everyone can read and understand legal documents. Lawmakers themselves have to take a lot of effort to be able to understand it.
The organizations holding consultations with citizens invited law experts to the meetings to explain everything, every sense of the law. By the end of 2013 we saw a lot of contributions from the people to the amended Constitution and the Land Law.
That fact proves that the people are completely confident and willing to contribute their comments on the amendment of the law.
To be continued...