Legislators approve spending plan, pass new laws

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The National Assembly, Vietnam's parliament, on Monday approved the plan for the implementation of next year's state budget.

Provisions in the budgetary plan included VND27 trillion in funds set aside to raise the nation's minimum wage. Previously legislators had agreed to a proposal to raise the minimum wages from VND730,000 to VND830,000 a month, effective May 1.

According to the plan, the government will spend a total VND519.3 trillion, around 43 percent of which will be earmarked for social and economic development as well as national defense and security purposes.

The legislature has also approved the use of VND86 trillion from the budget to clear debts.

The budget will involve broad investment in state-run utilities and infrastructural projects. VND215 billion has been set aside for Electricity of Vietnam; Vietnam Railways will receive VND1.3 trillion, and Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group will get VND50 billion.

The National Assembly has also set aside VND3.5 trillion for PetroVietnam, but has demanded a proposal on how the money will be used.

Last week, legislators approved the government's target for a budget deficit that represents 5.3 percent of Vietnam's gross domestic product, or VND120.6 trillion.

New laws

At the Monday meeting, Vietnamese legislators passed two new laws the Environmental Tax Law and the Law on Public Servants, both of which will take effect on January 1, 2012

The Environmental Tax Law imposes taxes on products that can damage the environment like gasoline, kerosene, coal and plastic bags. Gasoline products, for example, will carry a new tax of VND1,000-4,000 per liter.

The Law on Public Servants stipulates that all people with Vietnamese citizenship, including those returning from overseas, can apply to be civil servants.

Under the law, public servants who were recruited before July 1, 2003 will be placed on the permanent payroll and will not have to renew their working contracts.

The National Assembly also passed amendments to the Inspection Law on Monday.

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