INGO Forum Meeting 2011 - May

INGO Forum May 2011

Friday, 20 May 2011, from 14:00 – 16:30

Meeting notes:


La Thanh Hotel, VUFO-NGO Resource Centre Meeting Room


Mr Phong Don Tuan, Director General Paccom

Mr Marko Lovrekovic, Managing Co-Director, NGORC


  1. Update and discussion on INGO legislation: A) new decree, B) permit procedures, B) work permits (Phong Don Tuan, Director General Paccom)
  2. Update on VUFO-NGO Resource Centre activities, membership and staff changes at the VUFO-NGO Resource Centre (Marko Lovrekovic, Managing Co-Director, NGORC)
  3. Briefing on UN-EU guidelines: Financing of local costs in development cooperation with Vietnam (Marko Lovrekovic, Managing Co-Director, NGORC)
  4. Discussion and inputs for mid-year consultative group meeting
  5. New steering committee member announcement

1. VUFO-NGO Resource Centre Update for the period November 2010 – May 2011

New INGO Members:

  • Malteser International (Germany), DaNang-based, Coordinator: Nguyen Thi Thuy Nga
  • Partage (France), HCMC-based, Country Representative: Carine Colluard
  • Challenge to Change (UK), Hanoi-based, Representative: Nguyen Tri Dung
  • Room to Read (US), HCMC-based, Country Director: Le Tien Phong
  • Danish Demining Group (Denmark), Hanoi-based, Representative: Marty Hoare

 INGO Departures:

  •  Terre des Hommes Foundation (Switzerland), HCMC-based, CR: Margrit Schlosser

Changes of INGO Directors:

  • Adventist Development & Relief Agency CD: Oscar H. Domato – Hector Carpintero
  • Bread for the World Vietnam-Laos Representative: Ute Bartels - Jan Papendieck
  • Population Council Country Director: Meiwita Budiharsana - Peter C. Miller
  • Population Services International Country Representative: Yasmin Madan - Josselyn Neukom
  • Plan Vietnam Country Director: Mark Pierce - Sven Coopens (Acting CD)
  • Education for Development Country Coordinator: Kirsten Theuns - Hanna Smokcum
  • Academy for Educational Development CR: Eleanora de Guzmann - Nemat Hajeebhoy
  • Caritas Switzerland Representative: Marco van Grinsven - Graham Adutt
  • Cooperation and Development Country Representative: Loris Palentini - Stefania Rossetti
  • Temporary change: Oxfam GB: Le Kim Dung (Interim Country Director)

NGO Resource Centre Staff:

  • Steering Committee will extend the contract of the Managing Co-Director
  • VSO announced closure – impact on recruitment of the IT Advisor
  • AVI Volunteer (Communications Advisor) end of contract
  • EMWG Working Group Coordinator will resign in October 2011-05-19

Our Core Activities and Services:

  • HCMC-INGO Discussion Group – new coordinator: Hanna Smokcum (EFD)

  • working groups meetings, electronic newsletters, newsbriefs

  • financial report 2010 submitted to SC (closing balance: 23,000 USD)

  • impact of the Online INGO Directory on our regular activities (mapping etc)

  • preparations for printing hard copy of the INGO Directory 2011 finalized

  • meeting of the Steering Committee 28th April

Joint Activities with PACCOM:

  •  COMINGO Annual Meeting with INGOs and PACCOM Tet Reception
  • two preparatory meetings for the 7th ASEAN People’s Forum in Jakarta

  • meeting with UN independent expert Cephas Lumina on the effects of foreign debt

  • HCMC-INGO Discussion WG meeting in HCMC (with Phong Don Tuan)

National-level Engagement and Regional Initiatives:

  • Year-End Consultative Group (CG) meeting in Hanoi

  • Health Partnership Group’s (HPG) quarterly meetings

  • World Bank (WB) Strategy Consultations about the new 5-year plan

  • Consultation Meeting on the Green Paper on the Future of EU Development Policy

  • Discussion on UN-EU Guidelines for Financing of Local Cost Norms

  • The Social Watch Capacity Building Workshop in Cambodia 25-27 March 2011

  • Vietnam chapter for Social Watch Report 2011 (Sustainable Development)

  • ADB Consultations on Civil Society – in preparation for 44th ADB Annual Meeting

  • World Bank’s new Program for Results (P4R) Consultation Meeting

  • UN One Plan (2012-2016) Consultative Workshop

New Initiatives:

  • Revival of the Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resources Management Working Group:
  • meeting with the IFAD Country Director in Vietnam Atsuko Toda
  • meeting with Policy Dialogue Coordinator Nguyen Thi Phuong Nga, ISG-MARD

  • the mailing list for SANRM has 317 subscribers

  • there are 20 INGO members working in the Agriculture sector

Salary Survey 2011

Salary Survey 2011 released for members.


2. Update on INGOs legislation by PACCOM including discussion on INGO permits procedures

Mr. Don Tuan Phong gave a brief update on the new decree

NEW DECREE for foreign INGOs: drafted by Committee for Foreign Non-Governmental Organization Affairs (COMINGO), which will replace the previous decree 64 from 1996. It took nearly a year for the Drafting Committee to reach consensus on the latest (fourth) draft. Then it went to all processes for more than a year to get the agreement from the Government. The decree was submitted to National Assembly on 27 April, then NA gave comments after 2 weeks later. The National Assembly commented particularly on Tax issue, article on PIT.

New Key Points in the decree:

  1. a concept of 'registration' will replace 'permit' and 'license' for project offices and representative offices. INGOs can open representative offices in the three big cities Hanoi, Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh. The procedure for INGOs' registration or extension will be simpler and faster.
  2. The current 'permit for operations' is valid for one year, while the proposed 'registration' will allow up to three years of operations. The new proposed maximum for operations of a 'representative office' will be five years. The extended period of 'registration' validity will reduce PACCOM's workload (40% of PACCOM's workload is on work permit); and will improve the quality of work and efficiency.
  3. Before INGOs have to submit all document to PACCOM when they go to the provinces - now they just have to inform to the local authority.
  4. PIT: exemption from PIT for expatriates: There are two options: 1. PIT exemption on source of income. 2. PIT exemption according to the agreement Framework being signed between COMINGO and each INGO.

Mr. Phong stated that by the end of May, the new decree will be approved by the National Assembly, and the decree will be effected 15 days after the signing date. This process will happen before new government nominated by the end of July.

Q. Expatriates paying PIT ... how does an expatriate work for an INGO?

A. We signed an MOU with INGOs on PIT exemption. In the draft on project offices we also signed an MOU with INGOs. INGO representatives, expatriates and international specialists who  are working for INGOs in Vietnam with a Project Office, will be eligable for PIT exemption.

Q. With the change of duration permit for representative office being five years – if any organization have already got a permit for three years as per the old regulation, how does the organization deal with this?

A. It will be automatically changed to 5 years duration.

Q. Asia Foundation submitted the permit application in September last year, but until now we have not received the permit yet? Why does it take so long? when new decree is effected, do we need the MOU? (Discussion) Some applications for permit were accessed fas t- some took a long time: - Care – 2 year, Asia foundation: over one year, CRS- , MSH – one year. Marko stated that NGORC received 20 good responses from INGO about permits that were quick to processes, 40 responses where it took 1 year to get a permit. Can you tell us how the thing go fast and slow?

A. Paccom has 3 region desks: North America Desk, European Desk, Asia-Pacific Desk and admin section but the admin section doesn't access the applications in detail. There are a number of problems within the process itself: cross cutting INGOs: following the decision 340 and government decree on management of INGO operation requires approval of competent authority. It might be a Minister, local authority, line Ministries.

The decree also requires partner assignment. When PACCOM receive applications, we look at the approvals of documentation availability.

There is a step of consultation with a local authority to get their feedback, it often takes about 4 weeks- in certain cases we received the feedback in 3 months later. We have new system of reminders and we will issue the second request if the first request was not responded, then the second request will reach the local authority and if we still have not received any responses, we have to cancel the application.

Key ministries consultation step takes 3 weeks but some ministries give feedback after 3 months. PACCOM has no power enough to request those ministries to access applications and send feedback quickly, except COMINGO, who can force them to do so.

Partly of the delay to issuing permit is work overload. There are 27 staffs now at PACCOM. At the regional desks. 50 – 100 NGOs permit operations. We do hope that when the new decree is effected, the work will going well.

Lastly, PACCOM has big change of human resource, the key staff was changed: Le Trung Hieu, Hoang Bang Giang moved to prime minister office, 5 staff went abroad for study. Phong shared that currently PACCOM has to access over 750 applications for different types of permit.

Q. Anything INGO can do before coming to PACCOM for submit the application?

A. INGO should provide full documentation in the application, in fact there are 90 applications missed the documentation

Q. How can INGOs have the documentation from local authority?

A. All INGO have their own local partners, MOU between INGO and Partner is not enough, INGOs should ask their partner to provide the documentation needed. PACCOM will Analyze the problem and specific regulation, and local authority, ministries will review it again.If the local authority doesn't give approval, it's difficult for PACCOM to do the next step of accessing INGOs application. It was noted that supporting letter is different from documentation.

Q. When we submit the application for permit extension, do we need to show the achievement of the organization? Reports or submit 2 year report with extension request?

A. In the application, INGO always mentioned their work plan in 3 or 4 years, for INGO representative Office It's quite normal to review the report, achievement when they require for extension. The summary for 2 or 3 years of organization activities will give the full picture for us.

Q. Extension of permit: some cases is long, some cases is short, is it possible if PACCOM can issue the waiting list or any step of process?

A. We provide certificate to INGOs based on requests. We do also cross checking.

Q. What is procedure of requesting a permit?

A. The fact that people are not well aware about all information. Mr. Phong will inform INGOs all by writing and Mr. Hung – Deputy Director at PACCOM will be responsible to share those information to NGORC then NGORC will disseminate them to INGO community.

There was a suggestion that all information on procedure of permission, registration and other related issues should be available and share largely to INGOs community.

A. COMINGO organizes INGO meetings twice a year. Of course that is not enough. Mr. Phong stated that he is willing to receive all the questions, feedback from INGOs and requested INGOs to email him directly, or Marko.

Q. Project duration: the duration of project now 2 years: what happens if our MOU sign with local partner only one year?

A. This is a different case: it depends on you how long you want to work with local partner. It tend to be flexible in the reality.

About visa permit and resident issues: Many people do not have work permit, Phong also gave a reminder that expatriate staff should submit applications for the work permit to MOLISA or DOLISA. Which depends on the work location. PACCOM is willing to help in any case required. PACCOM's permit is useful for getting work permit.


3. Announcement of the new SC Member

Hang Thi Bich Nguyen, Country Representative
Marie Stopes International Vietnam

Hang Thi Bich Nguyen has been Country Representative for Marie Stopes International in Vietnam since 1998. Marie Stopes is a UK-based international NGO and a social enterprise specializing in Sexual and Reproductive health. Prior to working for Marie Stopes International, Hang was Chief Representative of Prieure Ltd, an Australian-based investment consultant company and has also worked for the Vietnam Ministries of Health and Construction. Hang has significant experience in delivering sexual and reproductive health projects including HIV/AIDS to under-served communities across Vietnam including poor women and men in remote rural and mountainous areas, adolescents and youths, migrant workers, ethnic minorities, commercial sex workers and intravenous drug users. She is responsible for a range of programs working with public and private sector healthcare providers funded by international donors, corporations and the Vietnamese government. She holds Bachelors degrees in English and Law, and a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Hawaii.


(Meeting finished at 16.30)