Administrative Procedures For INGO Work will See Breakthrough in 2023

Committee for Foreign Non-Governmental Organization Affairs (COMINGO) chooses 2023 to make breakthroughs in administrative procedures for foreign non-governmental organizations (FNG), which is an important measure to maintain a favorable environment in aid mobilization and a key in building the image of Vietnam in the eyes of donors, NGOs, and international friends.

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The statement was made by Ha Kim Ngoc, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chairman of the Committee at the 2022 FNG briefing session, held in person in Hanoi on March 14 and online at 63 local bridge points. The conference was attended by members of the Committee, representatives of agencies participating in the FNG Working Group, ministries, units, organizations at the central level, representatives of leaders of People’s Committees, and departments in charge of FNG work in localities.

Ha Kim Ngoc, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chairman of the Committee, and Phan Anh Son, Vice President – General Secretary of the Viet Nam Union of Friendship Organizations, Vice Chairman of the Committee chaired the meeting.

Reporting on FNG work in 2022, Nguyen Ngoc Hung, Head of the People’s Aid Coordination Committee (under the Viet Nam Union of Friendship Organizations), representative of the Committee’s standing agency, said: Administrative procedures are still a “bottleneck” in FNG work, which affected the activities of NGOs, people who benefit from aid projects and affected Vietnam’s image and environment in mobilizing aid from NGOs.

Administrative Procedures For INGO Work will See Breakthrough in 2023
2022 FNG briefing session, held in person in Hanoi on March 14 and online at 63 local bridge points (Photo: Thu Ha)

According to some ministries and localities at the event, the approval and review of aid projects are slowly processed. They suggested that the Committee’s standing body connect localities with donors, approach potential organizations, regularly exchange and provide information, especially adjustments so that localities can be proactive in approaching and establishing relationships. The localities expect the Committee to strengthen exchanges and coordination with them in advising, formulating policies, handling administrative procedures, and arising issues to create unity and synchronization in the implementation of the resolution.

Speaking at the conference, Ha Kim Ngoc emphasized that the common goal of FNG work is to help people have a better life, and to help Vietnam have a more friendly and positive voice at international and regional forums, at the same time ensuring political security.

The Committee has designated 2023 as the year to create a breakthrough in the reform of administrative procedures of FNG work. Therefore, the Committees, agencies participating in the NGO Working Group, ministries, sectors, organizations, people’s organizations at the central level, departments, and units at the local levels need to:

Continue to thoroughly apprehend the guiding spirit of the Secretariat at Directive 19/CT-TW dated January 24, 2003, on FNG work and Conclusion No. 98-KL/TW on the continued implementation of Directive No. 19-CT/TW.

Focus on effectively implementing Decree No. 58/2022/ND-CP dated August 31, 2022, of the Government on registration and operation management of NGOs in Vietnam (Decree 58). Thoroughly grasping the main spirit of the decree, which is towards simplifying administrative procedures, both well control and motivate NGOs.

In parallel with the building of a database on NGOs chaired by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, agencies and localities need to actively enhance the application of information technology in handling administrative procedures and providing feedback on dossiers, records, and registration papers in a timely manner, minimizing delays in handling administrative procedures.

Promote guidance and remove difficulties for Vietnamese governing bodies in the process of appraising and approving FNG aid documents according to Decree No. 80/2020/ND-CP dated July 8, 2020 of the Government on the management and use of non-refundable aid not belonging to official development assistance of foreign agencies, organizations and individuals for Vietnam.

“Improving aid approval procedures has a decisive impact on the aid advocacy environment and the situation of Vietnam in the eyes of NGOs and international friends,” said Ha Kim Ngoc.

Ha Kim Ngoc suggested the Committee and other ministries and localities actively promote its role in connecting, monitoring the situation, and promptly coordinating to exchange information with local agencies during their work.

He suggested the Committee continue to proactively guide local ministries and sectors to effectively implement the national program on strengthening FNG cooperation and advocacy for the period of 2019 – 2025 in line with the current context, adhere to the orientation of supporting NGOs to working in new fields arising after Covid-19 that Vietnam has needs.

“The Committee will accompany agencies and localities to more effectively implement FNG work in the coming time,” said Ha Kim Ngoc.

Administrative Procedures For INGO Work will See Breakthrough in 2023
Trinh Thi Mai Phuong, Deputy Director of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Photo: Thu Ha)

At the conference, Trinh Thi Mai Phuong, Deputy Director of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs introduced the new points of Decree 58.

According to Phuong, Decree 58 abolished the two-step process, instead of having to register for operation and then register to establish a project office or representative office, NGOs have the flexibility to choose the form of registration for their operations or register to establish a representative office.

The processing time for application for grant, extension, modification, and supplementation of registration permits has been shortened from 45 working days to 30 days. The extension time for modification, supplementation and re-issuance of the registration license is shortened from 30 days to 25 working days.

Decree 58 also stipulates the establishment of a database of FNG organizations. This is a step forward in administrative procedure reform, which is both a channel for NGOs to update information and report on their operations, and for state management agencies to capture information and provide timely support. After the database is built, many administrative procedures in the registration and operation management of NGOs will be simplified.

The Committee’s report said that, up to now, Decree 58 has been in effect for 5 months, and the implementation of administrative procedures related to registration papers, visas is handled faster, creating favorable conditions for NGOs in Vietnam.

Valerie Mai translates