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National Development Master Plan: confusion due to conflicting legal provisions

The Law on Planning was approved by the National Assembly in 2017 and took effect on January 1, 2019, but after more than three years, the planning work has not been completed. Many problems have arisen and need the National Assembly’s comments.

According to the Law on Planning, central and local state agencies will have to make hundreds of development plans, including the national plan (3); the national plans for industries (38); regional plans (6); provincial plans (63); urban and rural development plan.

However, the report of the Ministry of Planning and Investment shows that most of the plans are still in a 'waiting' stage.

For national-level plans, the National Planning Council will have to implement three important plans: The National Master Plan, the National Land Use Plan, and the National Marine Planning.

Of these three master plans, only the National Land Use Plan has been approved by the National Assembly. As for the National Master Plan, the Ministry of Planning and Investment said that it is urgently working on it in order to submit to the Government for consideration and approval in July 2022, and to submit to the 15th National Assembly for approval at the 4th session (October 2022).

Regarding the National Marine Planning, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment is working on it and it also scheduled to be submitted to the National Assembly for approval in 2022.

As for the national plans for industries, only 4 of 38 plans have been approved. The Ministry of Planning and Investment said the remaining ministries plan to complete and submit these plans for approval before December 31, 2022 under the direction of the Government in Resolution No. 119/NQ-CP.

As for regional planning, the Mekong Delta region plan has been approved by the Prime Minister in Decision No. 287/QD-TTg dated February 28, 2022. For plans of five regions (Northern midlands and mountains; Red River Delta, North part of the central region and the central coast and the Central Highlands), the Ministry of Planning and Investment said that it will try to submit to the Prime Minister for approval in December 2022.

As for provincial plans, by March 2022, only one master plan of Bac Giang province has been approved.

For urban and rural planning, the Ministry of Planning and Investment said that in addition to complying with the provisions of the Planning Law, it must also comply with the provisions of the law on construction and the law on urban planning. The Ministry of Construction is responsible for this planning.

Many unforeseen difficulties

In fact, the progress of formulation, appraisal and approval of master plans in the national planning system has been improved, especially after the Government issued Resolution No. 119/NQ-CP.

"Ministries and sectors are still slow to develop reports on orientations for national planning for industries," the Ministry of Planning and Investment said.

The amendment and supplementation of a number of documents guiding the implementation of laws and ordinances amending a number of articles related to planning work have not yet been implemented or have been implemented slowly, making it difficult for ministries, agencies and localities to apply these laws in the planning process.

Many localities have reported on difficulties in making provincial plans due to Clauses 6 and 7, Article 1 of Decree No. 148/2020/ND-CP dated December 18, 2020 of the Government on amending and supplementing a number of decrees detailing the implementation of the Land Law are inconsistent with the provisions of the Planning Law. 

At a recent cabinet meeting to review the work related to the Planning Law in April, attendees unanimously recommended that the National Assembly issue a new Resolution at the 3rd session of the 15th National Assembly to remove difficulties and obstacles in planning work.

Luong Bang

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