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NA meeting sees fiery debate on SME law

An hour-long war of words over the roles of two business support organisations raged yesterday at a meeting of the National Assembly Standing Committee (NASC).

VietNamNet Bridge – An hour-long war of words over the roles of two business support organisations raged yesterday at a meeting of the National Assembly Standing Committee (NASC).


The VCCI Chairman Vu Tien Loc said that Article 30 failed to demonstrate the role of his organisation as envisaged by the Party and the State – representing the enterprise community as a whole, similar to other chambers of commerce in the world. 

The morning session of the committee’s monthly meeting focused on the draft Law on Support for Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises.

Article 30 proved a point of fierce contention between the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the Vietnam Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (VNASME).

The article assigns the VNASME six responsibilities. It tasks the VNASME with functioning as the representative of the Vietnamese SME community, providing support and training, as well as taking part in relevant law and policy-making processes.

The VCCI, meanwhile, is only tasked with “strengthening connectivity between large enterprises and SMEs.”

The respective tasks of both organisations will help SMEs “choose their support providers correctly,” said Vu Hong Thanh, Head of the National Assembly’s (NA) Economics Committee.

The VCCI, however, expressed strong disagreement, with Chairman Vu Tien Loc saying Article 30 failed to demonstrate the role of his organisation as envisaged by the Party and the State – representing the enterprise community as a whole, similar to other chambers of commerce in the world.     

That the VINASME has been assigned six responsibilities in the draft law was unfair to other business support associations like the VCCI or the Viet Nam Young Entrepreneur Association, he said, noting that 98 per cent of these associations’ members are SMEs.  

Worse still, it could very likely eliminate an important network that supports enterprises, he argued.

“The draft law bets on only one association to offer support to the whole SME community instead of calling for all business associations to be participants in the effort,” Loc said. “Such a move is risky,” he added.

VINASME Chairman Nguyen Van Than countered Loc’s suggestion that the VCCI and VINASME share the work of supporting the SME sector.

He said such “vague regulations” would not solve anything. “We can only do the job if the law regulates our work in detail,” Than said.

“If things are left vague as Loc wants, nothing will be done. We joined the VCCI 10 years ago and saw no results (for the SMEs).”

The heated debate prompted NA Deputy Chairman Phung Quoc Hien to ask the Ministry of Planning and Investment – drafters of the law - and the NA Committee on Economic Affairs to review the controversial article.

The draft Law on Support for Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises is one of the six laws on the agenda of the NASC’s 9th session.

The others include the Law on Management and Use of State Assets (revised), Law on State Compensation Liability (revised), Law on adjustments and supplementations to several articles of the Penal Code No.100/2015/QH13, Law on the Management and Use of Weapons, Explosives and Supportive Weapons, and Law on Planning. 

Preparations for the NA’s third plenary session are also on the agenda, with an emphasis on the law and ordinance making programme for 2018 and adjustments to the 2017 programme.

The meeting is also set to discuss the draft programme for supervision work by the NA and NASC in 2018. 

The third plenary session is scheduled to convene on May 22 and close on June 20.

NASC members also agreed yesterday to increase the time for question and answer session by half a day to three days. 


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