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Ms. Le Thi Nga, Chairperson of the Judicial Committee of the National Assembly,

Members of the National Assembly,

Representatives from State agencies and the Party,

Representatives from Quang Ninh and other provinces,

Representatives from the British Embassy,

On behalf of UNDP, it is my great pleasure to deliver some welcome remarks at the start of this two-day workshop on the draft revised Anti-Corruption Law on preventing and combating corruption in the private sector

Appreciation

The fight against corruption is a critical process  in achieving Vietnam’s sustainable development goals, however, the journey is not easy.  Therefore, I would like to start by commending the National Assembly for its leadership in addressing the necessary legal framework, and by thanking partners, all participants, and the UK government for the great collaborations so far.

Project context

This workshop is the very first activity of the UNDP Regional Project “Promoting a Fair Business Environment in ASEAN”, which is generously funded from the UK Prosperity Fund. This new three – year Project, which was just launched in Bangkok a few days ago, aims at promoting a fair business environment in ASEAN by minimizing corruption risks and encouraging sustainable practices. It will target 6 countries in ASEAN: Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam, among which Viet Nam is one of the priority countries. The activities in Viet Nam will focus on:

  • Promoting business integrity and sustainable practices for private companies and state-owned enterprises;
  • Strengthening anti-corruption strategies, policies and laws; and
  • Improving redress mechanisms for companies, investors and the broader public.

This workshop is the first activity this year. Considering the tight timelines of final consultation steps for the revised Anti-Corruption Law before approval by the National Assembly in October 2018, today’s discussions are extremely timely.

Status

During the two days of the workshop, we will focus our discussions on the new Chapter VIII of the current draft revised Anti-Corruption Law. The new provisions in this Chapter show the great intentions from Viet Nam on anti-corruption in the private sector, including development of a fair and non-corruption business culture. This very much aligns with the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (Article 12) which obliges states to take measures to “prevent corruption involving the private sector, enhance accounting and auditing standards in the private sector and, where appropriate, provide effective, proportionate and dissuasive civil, administrative or criminal penalties for failure to comply with such measures.” New provisions in the draft revised Law follow from the recent revision of the Penal Code to cover corruption offences in the private sector.

We are all familiar with the challenges faced by Viet Nam in the area of corruption in the private sector. For instance, according to the World Economic Forum’s “global competitiveness report 2017-2018”, Vietnam is in 109th position for Irregular Payments and Bribes out of 137 countries. There is growing pressure on Viet Nam to take measures to address this situation - foreign countries are enhancing enforcement of anti-bribery legislation, resulting in rigorous implementation of corporate compliance programs in their daily operation in emerging markets, including Viet Nam. We hope to learn from international examples of strong legislations such as the UK Bribery Act and the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Closing

In closing, I would like to stress that the strong Anti-Corruption Law is very important for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs by 2030. Viet Nam successfully presented its first Voluntary National Review (VNR) of SDGs at the High Level Political Forum in NY in July, and held a national consultation last Friday. At both occasions, we were encouraged to see Viet Nam’s strong commitment to 2030 Agenda. In achieving the 17 development goals and 169 targets, SDG 16 on peace, justice and strong institutions has a special role. It does not only exist for its own objective to promote transparent, effective and accountable institutions and reduce bribery and corruptions,  but also it will serve to accelerate all other goals by providing enabling governance environment.

I trust that today’s discussion will make a useful contribution to the revised Law on Anti-Corruption. As always, UNDP stands ready to support Viet Nam in its implementation of UNCAC and more broadly of the Sustainable Development Goals. I wish you all a good health and productive workshop.

Thank you (Xin Cám Ơn)!  

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