NA deputies question Ministers on reforestation for hydropower projects

Monday, 2015-11-16 11:11:44
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The 13th NA kick starts a 2.5 day Q&A session for Government members on November 16. (Image credit: quochoi.vn)
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NDO – Continuing the 13th National Assembly (NA)’s 10th session agenda on November 16, NA deputies questioned Minister of Agricultural and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat and Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang on reforestation data and plant protection products management.

>>> National Assembly begins unprecedented Q&A sessions

Deputy Nguyen Van Tuyet (from Ba Ria-Vung Tau) outlined recommendations from many businesses around Clause 5, Article 5, Section B of Circular No. 21 allowing registration for only one active ingredient for each final form of plant protection product. Answering the question from Tuyet, Minister Phat said that currently, 4,100 names of plant protection products are in circulation with 1,700 active substances. This amount is too high, he said, making it difficult for farmers to choose chemicals for their crops as well as management. To rectify the issue, the Ministry has tightened regulations on registering the name of plant protection drugs.

The circular delineates that each individual, organisation, and business is only allowed to register one name for each type of active ingredient. Before promulgation, the ministry carried out extensive consultation as evidenced in the minutes of related meetings. The ministry will continue to consider comments and continue reviews to strengthen management and ensure benefits to millions of farmers, as it is also related to food safety, Minister Phat affirmed.

Answering questions from Deputies Le Van Tam (Kon Tum) and Truong Van Vo (Dong Nai) on offsetting forest area lost for hydropower projects, Minister Hoang said that the government has assigned the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in collaboration with the Ministry of Industry and Trade to fulfill the task. Recently, the two ministries have closely co-ordinated on quite a lot of work, including the positive role of localities and efforts from investors of hydropower projects.

It is feasible to fulfill the target for 2015 reforestation for hydropower projects set by the Vietnam Administration of Forestry, Minister Hoang said, adding that in 2016 plans for foresting the area lost for hydropower projects will be completed.

To complete the above task, Hoang said that the Ministry of Industry and Trade has set out three options. For hydropower projects that have been approved by competent authorities on reforestation, the Ministry will continue licensing electricity activities, while urging investors to complete forest cover areas in accordance with the set plans. For hydropower projects on planning for reforestation, the ministry will provide one-year permits for electricity activities. After a year, if investors do not perform the set reforestation plans, the ministry will handle violations as prescribed. For the project owners that have had their reforestation plans approved but not implemented, the ministry will temporarily stop and withdraw licences for electricity activities until they remedy the situation.

Regarding Deputy Vo’s question on specifying policies and applying advanced technologies in industrial production, Minister Vu Huy Hoang stated that the Ministry of Industry and Trade will continue to co-ordinate with the Ministry of Science and Technology and concerned authorities in perfecting mechanisms and policies in the fields of high technology and technological innovation, firstly considering adjusting the criteria for granting certificates of high-tech enterprises to encourage investment in the field, while enhancing implementation of the national technological innovation programme until 2020.

The ministry will also strengthen co-ordination with other related agencies to guide businesses in building high-tech projects and applying high-tech mechanisms and incentives in industrial production, as well as mobilising various capital sources for high-tech projects, while taking advantage of international integration through free trade agreements to introduce innovative technologies through investment projects of foreign countries into Vietnam.

For criteria for determining high-tech enterprises, Minister Hoang admitted that currently the development of standards is still slow and may be unreasonable. The ministry will work with the Ministry of Science and Technology to review and submit to the government for consideration and approval of the criteria for high-tech enterprises so that businesses will be free from troubles while waiting for high-tech enterprises recognition to enjoy their privileges, he affirmed.