Ensuring transparency in state management of prices protecting consumer interests

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Customers go shopping at the supermarket system of Saigon Co.op.
Customers go shopping at the supermarket system of Saigon Co.op.

The voters of HCM City have made a written petition to the Ministry of Finance about the amendment of the Law on Prices, which must aim to control goods so as not to negatively affect consumers, and it needs to protect the legitimate interests of the people, especially poor people.

Responding to voters, the Ministry of Finance said that the Law on Prices No. 11/2012/QH13 was approved by the National Assembly at the 3rd Session of the XIII National Assembly, taking effect from January 1, 2013, replacing Ordinance on Price in 2002 has made an important contribution to the improvement of the economic and civil legal system.

The promulgation of this law has created a full legal framework for price management and administration to be carried out consistently in accordance with the market mechanism in the direction of encouraging price competition, respecting the right to self-determination of organizations, individual production and business, respecting objective economic laws governing the formation and movement of market prices; at the same time, ensuring the State’s regulation on prices which is mainly by macro-indirect measures in line with international commitments.

After 9 years of implementation, the Law on Price has come to life and achieved many positive results, but it also encountered problems and limitations which were summarized and evaluated in detail by the Ministry of Finance.

On the basis of the 2022 Law and Ordinance Development Program and the Government’s assignment, the Ministry of Finance has chaired the formulation of the Price Law (revised) project in order to fully institutionalize and comply with the Party’s policy on market economy development regulated by the State.

In particular, clearly defining the boundaries, extent, scope and regulatory measures of the State on the market based on respecting market rules, and overcoming negative effects of the market. At the same time it must still ensure the right to self-determination and freedom of business of enterprises; continue to innovate to increase the workable competition among enterprises, avoiding interference by administrative orders.

Besides that, the legitimate rights and interests of consumers must be protected, especially the vulnerable subjects but not subsidized; overcome institutional problems and policy gaps; the irrationalities of the legal system are hindering the development process; creating transparency in the state management of prices, publicizing enterprise information; clearly define the responsibilities of competent organizations and individuals.

According to the Ministry of Finance, on the basis of the above orientations, the Law on Prices (revised) has concretized many guidelines and policies related to stabilizing the prices of goods and services and protecting the rights and interests of the people, especially poor people.

First of all, the State’s regulations on the principles of price management and regulation have affirmed that the State’s implementation of price management and regulation on the basis of the market mechanism is consistent with the socio-economic development policy in each period; ensures publicity, transparency, respect for the right to self-valuation and compete on prices of organizations and individuals trading in goods and services in accordance with law; thereby, harmoniously protecting the legitimate rights and interests of consumers, organizations and individuals trading goods and services and the State.

Besides that, price management must also contribute to macroeconomic stability, social security, green growth, circular economy and sustainable development; promote the socialization of providing public service; adopt a price policy that is appropriate for those facing difficult or extremely difficult socio-economic conditions and the cases prescribed in other relevant laws.

These principles ensure throughout all the State’s price management and regulation measures prescribed in the Law and the state management of prices by the Government, ministries, sectors and localities.

Regarding the State’s pricing measures, according to the Ministry of Finance, the price control of essential and exclusive goods and services is also set in order to ensure the legitimate rights and interests of consumers in the economic relations, and transactions related to those goods or services.

Accordingly, the revised Law has added the criteria “essential goods and services which are a monopoly in trading or have a limited competitive market and greatly affect the socio-economic, people’s lives, production and business.” Through that, it will partly ensure the harmony of interests, and positively impact the lives of people and the production and business activities of enterprises.

Regarding the regulations on price stabilization measures, the Ministry of Finance said that it has specified the implementation of price stabilization in many cases to ensure favorable conditions for implementation.

Along with that, the consolidation of price stabilization measures in the direction of strengthening the responsibilities of ministries, sectors and localities to promptly stabilize the price level of goods and services in emergency cases is also an important point. The new draft Law on Prices (revised) aims to protect the rights and interests of people, ensuring social security.

In addition, measures on price declaration and price listing are also specified in the Law in order to ensure indirect control measures over the prices of goods and services; towards increasing publicity and transparency in buying and selling, ensuring the legitimate rights and interests of economic entities, including the rights and interests of the people, especially the poor.

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