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Finance Ministry should ‘back off on securities'

Ha Noi — Many National Assembly deputies argued yesterday that a draft amended Securities Law should lessen the State Securities Commission's affiliation with the Finance Ministry.

The deputies, who met in groups to discuss the proposed changes to the more-than-three-year-old law, complained that the ministry clouded the commission's jurisdiction so that it could not quickly respond to changes in the market.

Deputy Nguyen Minh Thuyet, northern Lang Son Province, said the SSC should become an autonomous agency that was independent of the ministry.

Deputy Cao Sy Kiem, northern Thai Binh Province, said securities required direct and focused management.

"The SSC was affiliated and subject to Government management in the past," he said.

"The many weaknesses exposed since it was transferred to the Finance Ministry showed that an overhaul was required to make the market perform better."

The deputy suggested the SSC should be returned to the Government.

Deputy Nguyen Van Phuc, south-central Binh Thuan Province, agreed. The SSC must be subject to the Government's management and supervision because of its important role in the securities market, he said.

Manipulation

Deputy Phan Dinh Trac, central Nghe An Province, complained that manipulation had seriously affected investor confidence and the stock market's development.

The SSC should be authorised to detect and punish security-market fraud, he said.

Many deputies said that although numerous securities and fund management companies had been established during the past three years, many remained small and poorly managed.

They were hurdles to the development of the capital market, deputies argued.

Deputy Le Van Cuong, central Thanh Hoa Province, blamed "simple registration requirements" for the establishment of inadequate securities and fund management companies.

Would-be securities and fund management companies must meet minimum capital requirements; have adequate premises and staff and the necessary personnel to register.

Deputies also argued for more transparency to protect investors and enable the monitoring of the market.

The National Assembly passed the Securities Law on June 26, 2006, and it came into force on July 1, 2007.

The proposed changes are focused on 21 articles, one of which will be eliminated.

In the afternoon, the deputies discussed details of the draft Metrology Law, Capital Law and a report from the Dung Quat Oil Refinery national project, which started in May.

Metrology Law

The metrology law includes regulations for work on measures and weights, rights and responsibilities of individuals and organisations relating to this work, and State management and policies on metrology.

The draft also includes new regulations on measuring and weighing units and its standards system.

Minister of Science and Technology Hoang Van Phong said that an accurate and consistent measuring and weighing system was urgently needed to solve existing problems.

"The promulgation of this new law will help complete and systematise Vietnamese measures and weights," he said.

Dang Vu Minh, chairman of the NA's Science, Technology and Environment Committee, called for specific offices or organisation to make regulations on inspecting and testing measurement systems.

He said the current draft requirements about the licensing of people using measuring and weighing tools were not feasible for those in markets or small business.

In 2008 the Ministry of Science and Technology did a nationwide inspection and found nearly 10 per cent of the 3,890 filling stations inspected cheated their customers.

Similar cases of fraud have also been found in many other fields, including taxi meters, electricity and bottled water.

Capital Law

The draft Capital Law aims to create a legislative framework to manage plans, investments for construction and development in Ha Noi.

It includes regulations to prohibit the building of new industrial zones, certain schools and hospitals. Hospitals that are already in the central of the city cannot extend the number of beds for patients.

The draft law also includes regulations in which the capital must provide land for people forced to move out of the downtown area and for housing projects for low-income and disadvantaged people.

And it opens more opportunities for Ha Noi authorities to attract more funding from the State Bank to develop the city.

The NA Law Committee requested the draft law to contain policies that help solve existing problems in the capital, such as pollution, flooding, traffic congestion, the downgrading of the environment, the loose management on renovating ancient houses and old French villas.

Dung Quat refinery

Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang reported that the Dung Quat Oil Refinery was running well and at its full design capacity.

"The operation of the plant has helped boost the economy of central Quang Ngai Province and the central region in general. It has also helped build a skilful workforce," he said.

Hoang said the reasons for the project to be nine years behind schedule included constant changing of project investment forms, the delay of the overall design process, the choosing of bidders, and delayed contracts caused by fluctuations in the global economy.

NA's Science, Technology and Environment Committee chairman Minh said the Dung Quat project had created many good lessons for later national projects.

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