New decree regulates NGOs’ operations in Vietnam

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has approved a decree to provide more benefits for international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) operating in Vietnam.

The new decree will take effect as from June 1, 2012, replacing the older version issued in 1996.

It was first compiled in 2007 after the release of ministerial, industry and locality reports on NGO operations, said Don Tuan Phong, director of the People's Aid Co-ordinating Committee (PACCOM) run by the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations (VUFO).

As part of new proceedings, administrative procedures in issuing operating licences for NGOs will be simplified, Phong added, saying such licences will be valid for three years instead of the initial one year.

Organizations will be able to apply for operating licences by directly submitting paperwork to the Committee for Foreign Non-governmental Organization Affairs, who will reply within 45 days.

NGOs will be encouraged to implement long-term projects of at least five years, in terms of humanitarian and development initiatives, Phong said, adding that organizations will be allowed to set up representative offices in the three big cities of Hanoi, HCM City and Danang.

Organisations will be prohibited from conducting political or religious activities and such operations deemed unsuitable to national security, defence and solidarity.