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National Assembly on target with law enactment

The National Assembly (NA) has achieved a quarter of its planned target of law enactment and amendment under the current Eighth Legislature, but is urging administrative and legislative bodies to make sure that the laws passed are more effective.

The Assembly's current Legislature aims to enact or amend 105 laws during its current five-year term from 2016 to 2020.

A plenary meeting of the National Assembly's Law Committee last week revealed that the previous two ordinary sessions of the NA approved 27 amended and newly drafted laws, which is one quarter of the number targeted before its term ends in 2020.

A total of 105 laws, including 50 that will be newly created, are outlined in the Assembly's plan for consideration and approval at its nine ordinary sessions over these five years.

Of the 50 laws that are scheduled for enactment, five concern governance and justice, 27 relate to the economy, and 18 concern the socio-cultural sector.

The Assembly has so far enacted 124 laws.

According to the Law Committee, the coordination between departments as counsellors to both administrative and legislative bodies has not been unified, which has been a challenge to the enactment process.

In his address at the meeting, Assembly Vice President Dr Bounpone Bouttanavong commented on the enactment process, praising the cooperation between ministries, government agencies and the National Assembly.

But he said law enactment was a difficult job and necessitated a joint effort by all sectors involved.

Some 278 articles of the promulgated laws needed directions and explanations, which is referred to as sub-enactment.

Dr Bounpone commented on the drafting process undertaken by some ministries and related bodies, which he said did not comply with the Law on Law Building, and the resulting inadequately compiled drafts were a burden on the Law Committee.

Many laws had to be amended shortly after they were promulgated because of shortsightedness on the part of law writers, he added.

To improve the situation, Dr Bounpone suggested that every ministry engage a legal expert to take responsibility for enactment, while also stressing the need for capacity building of the personnel involved.

The Law Committee comprises members who are provincial representatives in the National Assembly. Dr Bounpone proposed that seminars be organised on a regular basis so that members could discuss law implementation in various provinces.

He also wanted the Law Committee and related sectors to learn from neighbouring and other Asean countries about the enactment of laws and law enforcement.

The National Assembly plans to consider 16 laws at its upcoming ordinary session this month. Of these, nine have been newly drafted and seven drafts will be amended.

By Somxay Sengdara
(Latest Update October 3, 2017)

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