By Souksakhone Vaenkeo
April 20, 2012
National Assembly (NA) committees in each constituency are keeping a close eye on local government performance and state development projects in order to maximise effectiveness, in line with the amended Law on the National Assembly.
Vientiane took the lead by opening up its second Plenary Session yesterday for Vientiane NA members to enquire about the performance of certain departments and their issues of interest.
Chairman of the NA Committee of Vientiane, Mr Latsanivong Amalathithada, declared the one-day sitting open to test the new initiative that allows the NA committee of each constituency to fully exercise its oversight role, as part of the National Assembly.
NA President Ms Pany Yathortou, Vientiane Mayor Soukanh Mahalath and other high-level officials attended the meeting.
Participants would also consider and approve Vientiane’s draft socio-economic development and state budget plans for 2012-2013, Mr Latsanivong said.
The final plans endorsed by the session will be submitted to the central government. They will be taken into account during drafting of the national socio-economic development and state budget plans for 2012-2013, a senior NA official said.
The final drafts of the national plans will be submitted to the upcoming NA for consideration and approval at their next session slated for June.
It is the first time ever that a provincial-level NA committee has launched a session that involves considering and approving socio-economic development and state budget plans at the equivalent state agencies, as well as enquiring about issues of interest to local governments, said the Chairman of the NA’s Law Committee, Prof. Dr Davone Vangvichith.
The initiative is in line with the Amended Law on the National Assembly that was promulgated in 2010.
Articles 55, 56, 59 and 61 enable the NA committee of each constituency to carry out the activities, roles, duties and responsibilities that enhance their oversight role in ensuring the work of local authorities is carried out properly.
Article 56 stipulates that the NA committee of each constituency is to open a Plenary Session at least once a year to hear socio-economic development reports and approve socio-economic development and state budget plans at their respective levels.
“But it does not mean socio-economic development and state budget plans approved by the NA committee of a constituency will come into force directly,” Dr Davone explained.
“Instead, the final draft plans from the local authorities will provide the central government with important information for drafting the national plans before they are submitted to the NA for approval.”
Article 56 also gives the NA committee of a constituency the right to question the mayor, provincial governors, department directors, presidents of the people’s court, prosecutors and the heads of regional inspection organisations on issues of interest.
NA officials said NA committees in more than 10 constituencies have held their first Plenary Sessions, at which several issues were debated.
They also said NA committees in several constituencies are believed to be preparing to convene sessions ahead of the upcoming NA session in June, as stipulated in the amended law.