New laws to cut red tape and improve real estate planning in Vietnam

The government in Vietnam is drawing up a major overhaul of the country's planning laws aimed at making it simpler for property developers to get projects underway.

At present the average development project needs 33 licenses which can take up to three years to obtain.

Many of these licenses are not regulated by the central government but are instead the whims of local authorities. They include a certificate stating that the land is not in dispute, approval of the location, the project's borders, the amount of land used and a detailed 1/500 scale master plan.

It is not unusual for a developer to wait months while a city People's Committee reviews plans and then find it is rejected on a whim. Also developers have to meet with relevant agencies to understand each specific rule and step of the process. But many investors can't even get appointments with officials in charge of providing the guidelines.

If the developers then fill out applications on their own, the documents will inevitably be returned with notes asking for changes, sometimes so frivolous as the dotting of an i, the crossing of a t, or a misplaced comma.

Now six new laws are being drafted that will make the approval of projects and selecting contractors simpler and easier. They will change regulations that are no longer suitable, avoid overlapping and synchronize relevant laws, said Vo Hong Phuc, Minister of Planning and Investment.

'It will help improve the investment environment and create favourable conditions for attracting investments, particularly to promote State budget disbursement and socio-economic development,' he declared.

The amended laws are also a sign of Vietnam's commitment to international integration and the country's efforts to make investment management transparent and improve investment effectiveness, according to the minister.