We need development planning on the national level because this is an important instrument for policymakers and authorities to have a comprehensive strategic vision on improving economic growth quality and development sustainable development of Vietnam in the coming time. This is the main content of the recent workshop, “Drafting the Law on Planning to improve growth quality and sustainable development – Leading viewpoints”, held by the Ministry of Planning and Investment in Hanoi.
Lack of connectivity, waste of resources
Vu Quang Cac, Director of the Planning Management Department under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, said the planning is currently being governed by many different laws. Up to 53 laws, seven ordinances and 61 decrees provide regulatory guidance to nearly 20,000 plans created to meet with administration requirements of State agencies. However, according to experts, planning in Vietnam has revealed too many weaknesses and limitations, resulting in long-term consequences on the economy like restricting macroeconomic development, wasting corporate and individual resources.
Remarkable issues are so many of plans are created but their quality and feasibility is low, causing a waste of resources. Planning is poorly interrelated, inconsistent and overlapped. Planning is yet to demonstrate the position, role and interconnectivity of strategies with plans, resulting in the weak coherence in development orientation planning and implementation solutions. Planning methods and contents are not innovative enough to match with the market economy and international integration. The formulation, appraisal, approval and execution of planning is loosened, lately settled and lack of resolution in direction and execution.
He added that the weakest stage in planning is lack of coherent interrelations, particularly in dealing with inter-sector and inter-region issues. Specifically, in the overall socioeconomic development planning, we only define development indicators and orientations while downplaying territorial space. Sector planning is not comprehensive and downplays integration of sectors and territory. Regional planning is lack of basis for determining development motivations. Land-use planning is incoherent with socio-economic development master planning, sector planning and regional planning. In spite of being on the same territorial ground, all four types of planning are incoherent and uncoupled.
Sharing the same view, Dr Pham Sy Liem, Vice President of Vietnam Federation of Civil Engineering Association (VFCEA), said Vietnamese authorities’ abuse of planning is still seen in many sectors, fields and localities. According to statistics, Vietnam now has 19,285 valid plans with the budget for implementation at VND8 trillion. However, practical effects of these plans are undersized and lack of ripple effect. He frankly pointed out that the main purpose of regional planning is to develop and accelerate. However, with moderate development, no development or slow development, socioeconomic activities do not need significant coordination in regional planning because it is wasteful of money, effort and resources.
National planning needed
Dr Luu Bich Ho, former Director of the Strategy Development Institute, said that, with specific economic development conditions and rapid growth speed as in Vietnam, we actually need a ‘root’ plan of national level. Then, regional, sector, local and other planning will constitute components of national planning and comply with the root planning.
Tran Hong Quang, Deputy Director of the Development Strategy Institute, said, other countries in the region also follow the above direction in developing master national plans, such as the Fifth Comprehensive National Development Plan of Japan, the Fourth Comprehensive National Territorial Plan of South Korea, the Third Frame Prospect Plan of Malaysia, and the Master Plan for Acceleration and Expansion of Indonesia Economic Development in 2011-2025.
Vu Quang Cac added that, based on references and consultations from other countries in the world, most plans are developed at national, regional and local levels and must follow hierarchy principles, that is, from national level to regional level and local level and from general to details. Local planning must comply with national planning; and sector and detailed planning must base on overall planning. Therefore, the drafting of the Law on Planning must be based on socioeconomic development strategy of a particular period and must be linked to a specific space and geographical area as well as natural conditions based on analysis of population, economic and social data, using economic, sociological and naturalist methods. Any planning must be placed under a lead central management agency.
Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Dang Huy Dong said that the draft law is being completed and will be forwarded to the Ministry of Justice for appraisal. He highly appreciated constructive comments from scientists and specialists of planning. The bill is expected to submit to the lawmaking National Assembly for consideration and approval in the next meeting in June.