National Assembly deputies agreed yesterday that the quality of construction projects would be improved by strengthening assessment activities at every stage and developing the capacity of human resources.
Currently, poor-quality construction and delayed projects that wasted resources were pressing issues for society, said Deputy Nguyen Van Binh from the northern port city of Hai Phong.
However, construction agencies did not have an established role in supervising and assessing construction projects, from the design phase to the final phase of maintenance. Such assessments were particularly critical in projects requiring complicated technology and those using State funds, he said.
Deputy Binh and deputy Le Quang Hiep from central Thanh Hoa Province agreed that State agencies' ability to assess construction projects must be improved and there must be criteria to define the capacity of independent consultants and assessing agencies.
Chau Thi Thu Nga and Trinh Ngoc Thach, deputies in Ha Noi, said the responsibility of project management boards needed to be specified in the law to avoid the abuse of power, which typically led to project inefficiency, and their sense of professionalism needed to be enhanced.
Nguyen Ngoc Bao, a deputy from northern Vinh Phuc Province, said it was necessary to classify projects to help the State decentralise management, as construction projects often require the participation of many economic sectors and were conducted under different models, such as Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT), Build-Transfer (BT) and Public Private Partnership (PPP).
Tran Hong Tham, a deputy from southern Can Tho City, said the Ministry of Construction should have plans to educate construction staff and allocate them to regions where there was high demand for infrastructure, such as the Mekong Delta provinces.
Deputy Hoang Thanh Tung in southern Soc Trang Province said there were too few construction inspectors, with only 1,000 in Ha Noi and 1,500 in HCM City.
Deputy Nguyen Thanh Hai from northern Hoa Binh Province said she found no regulations on construction materials management in the draft law, despite the fact that building materials accounted for a large part of both project quality and cost.
Deputy Hoang Huu Phuoc from HCM City, deputy Pham Thi My Le from southern Binh Phuoc Province and deputy Hai from Hoa Binh province agreed that so far, authorities had not paid enough attention to managing construction waste, one of the major causes of environmental pollution.
Currently, construction projects not only discharge waste but also often have negative effects on surrounding infrastructure and landscape, said Phuoc.
So the law must require investors to include urban embellishment work in contracts signed with contractors. This would be a responsibility of contractors, so they would not be allowed to ask for additional payment, he pointed out.
The draft amended Law on Construction includes 11 chapters and 169 articles, two chapters and 45 articles more than the law issued in 2003.
Discussing the amendments to the Law on Environment Protection, lawmakers agreed that the amendments were necessary because pollution had an alarming impact on people's daily lives.
They said regulations should aim to curb pollution and environmental violations, cope with climate change and promote green growth.
Deputy Truong Van Vo from southern Dong Nai Province said the law must clarify the responsibilities of State agencies when it came to managing natural resources and responding to climate change.
Deputy Hoang Thi To Nga from northern Nam Dinh Province and deputy Trieu Thi Nai of northern Ha Giang Province added that the responsibilities of individuals and households must also be regulated, as they played important roles in these processes.
Deputy Huynh Minh Thien of HCM City said that the draft amended law did not include any chapter on forest protection –an especially crucial error, as destroying forests to build hydro-power plants recently caused severe damage to people's lives, especially in the flooding season.
Given the Government's target of raising forest coverage to 45 per cent in 2020, Thien said, it was essential to have regulations to protect forests and ensure their quality.
The deputy also warned that while environmental violations were becoming more serious, punishments for violators were still not harsh enough. Currently, violating companies only had to pay a fine.
In the future, however, criminal proceedings should be taken against those firms and compensation should be paid to affected individuals, he said.
Lawmakers also suggested revising inspection regulations, saying that periodical inspections encouraged violators to seek out short-term fixes rather than long-term solutions.
If surprise inspections were conducted, inspectors might be able to catch violators in the act of discharging untreated waste or dumping waste into soil.
The same day, NA deputies passed the Law on Plant Protection and Quarantine and the Law on Citizen Reception.