Experts Propose Measures to Develop Social Organizations’ Operation

Discussion on measures to develop Vietnam’s social organizations were the main attraction for participants at a seminar held in the capital city on Mar 15. Nguyen Duc Thanh, director of the Vietnam Institute for Economic and Policy Research (VEPR), the organizer, said building the Law on Associations as soon as possible was the first and most important measure. The second involved calling for more financial sources for social organizations, which was necessary in the current situation, Thanh said in his report at the forum. “In the context of reducing international financial sources for social organizations, there is need to make full use of domestic aid especially from enterprises.” VEPR’s report said the third proposal involved preparing a simple legal framework on procedures and operations for social associations. "It is needed so that social associations can more easily implement social charity and mobilize aid," Nguyen Khac Giang, a researcher of VEPR group, said. According to Giang, the country should develop clear classifications for the operational structure of each kind of social association, based on practical experience and ability to attract financial resources. At present, there are four main kinds of social organizations operating in Vietnam: non-profit association, State-owned science and technology union, association operating under ministry or sector, and civil association. Favorable government policies, including tax reduction or exemptions, should also be applied for social organizations, the VEPR report urged. Giang added that another measure is that Vietnam creates mechanisms for fair competition between State-owned unions and civil associations. The country could establish a suitable model to call on aid for all kinds of social associations. Administrative procedures on receiving aid, especially international aid, also needs to be simplified, according to Giang. Dr Dang Nguyen Anh, from Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences, agreed that there is no fair room between State-owned and non-State social associations. Anh also urged social organizations in Vietnam to learn financial transparency from their Northern European counterparts. Le Quang Benh, President of the People’s Participation Working Group (PPWG) stressed that social organizations operating in the fields of health, hunger eradication and poverty elimination need more favorable policies from the Government. He also said that the model of social enterprise should be encouraged to expand. Jointly organized by the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations, the seminar hopes to generate debates and contribute opinions on appropriate adjustments to finalize a legal basis for social associations. (vietnamnews.vn  Mar 17)