Gov't seeks to raise NA project approval bar to $1.8 bln

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Projects worth VND35 trillion (US$1.8 billion) or above and those with possible national security or environmental damage implications will have to be approved by the National Assembly, the government has proposed.

 

The proposal was made Thursday at a meeting with the National Assembly Standing Committee.

 

Under current regulations, the National Assembly is in charge of approving projects with a total investment of VND20 trillion or above.

 

The resolution, passed in 2006, will be supplemented with new regulations proposed by the government if the National Assembly approves them later this month.

 

Some participants at the meeting expressed concern that the proposals and even the current regulations still have loopholes in them that allow investors to start projects without obtaining the National Assembly's approval, according to Vietnamnet.

 

Ongoing projects to mine and process bauxite in the central highlands, for example, should have been submitted to the legislature before they were launched, given their scale and effects on the environment and national defense implications, National Assembly vice chairman Huynh Ngoc Son said at the meeting.

 

But, the Ministry of Industry and Trade divided the two-project plan approved by the government in November 2007 into 12 projects costing less than VND20 trillion each to bypass the approval process, the assembly had accused at last June's session.

 

Since the resolution was passed, Vietnam's legislative body has so far has approved five key national projects: planting 5 million hectares of forest, the gas-power-fertilizer complex in the southern province of Ba Ria Vung Tau, the National Assembly's new building in Hanoi, a hydropower plant in the northern province of Lai Chau, and a nuclear power plant in the central province of Ninh Thuan.

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