No haste to abolish grassroots level legislatures: lawmakers

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A government report on a pilot project to remove grassroots People's Councils has been crticized by legislators for making it appear that these bodies were obstructive.

They said the government needs to conduct a more comprehensive assessment of people's councils at district and commune levels before deciding to abolish these legislative bodies completely.

According to a government report, a pilot project launched in April 2009 to remove grassroots councils in 10 cities and provinces has proved effective, simplifying the administrative apparatus and saving a great deal of time and money.

The National Assembly's Law Committee, however, said the assessment should be more objective as a one-dimensional evaluation may lead to the impression that people's councils are obstructive and not necessary.

Speaking at a meeting of the NA Standing Committee on Saturday, Tran The Vuong, chairman of the Committee for People's Aspirations, said it seemed like the government report was trying to accuse people's councils at district and commune levels of hindering administrative bodies.

Phung Quoc Hien, chairman of the NA's Finance and Budget Committee, said the pilot project was reported to have saved VND85 billion for the state budget, but it was not that simple. With total budget spending remaining the same, nothing has been saved, he said.

Minister of Home Affairs Tran Van Tuan said earlier this month that the government planned to completely abolish legislative people's councils below the provincial level next year. In case it takes more time to do so, the government will at least expand the pilot project to more provinces, he said.

Legislators said Saturday that it was too soon to talk about abolishment now as the pilot project was conducted for a short period.

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