They raised the proposal at yesterday’s meeting to discuss altering the land policy, held by the Party Central Committee Office and the Ho Chi Minh City Open University
Assoc. Prof. Dao Cong Tien, former headmaster of HCMC Economics University, said the 1992 Constitution, of which Article 17 stipulates that land belongs to the entire people’s ownership, should be amended to facilitate land ownership diversification.
“Land is not a product of nature, so it does not come under the entire people’s ownership. In fact, land is a product of labor, so if we did not put it under ownership of those who have created that product, we would turn our back on them.”
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Vu Trong Khai, headmaster of the School of Agriculture Management and Rural Development II, suggested three types of land ownership: state, collective and private.
Private ownership should be applied to individuals’ dwelling land and farmland, and collective ownership can be given to a community that uses a certain area of land for their common purposes. Meanwhile, the State will take ownership over land of all other kinds.
Dr Nguyen Dang Liem, principal of the Gia Dinh University, agreed with Khai, saying that diversification of land ownership would confrom to the country’s trend towards international integration.
When private ownership is applied, farmers will feel secure in using their land and they will likely use the land in sustainable ways, instead of exploiting it excessively, said Nguyen Phuong Vy, former head of the Agriculture and Rural Development Policy Department.
Some other experts shared the same opinion that “the improper land policy has resulted in many problems, complaints or disputes relating to land in the past.”
Dr. Pham Van Vo, chairman of the land and environmental law department of the HCMC Law University, referred to the land conflict case in Tien Lang District, Hai Phong City as an example. “The district People’s Committee issued decisions to allocate land to farmers and it later handled complaints from farmers about those decisions. It was also the agency that issued decisions on land withdrawal or forced removal,” Vo said.
Under such a mechanism, if officials in charge of land issues are not honest, then farmers will suffer from their decisions, he said.
Dr Khai said the mechanism in which a State agency issues land withdrawal decisions to citizens and then gives them compensation is not satisfactory. Instead, when the agency wants to reclaim land that has been allocated to a citizen, it should repurchase the land through negotiations with that citizen.
However, Khai emphasized that such a change can be carried out only when private ownership of land is recognized.
Most of the seminar’s attendees agreed that the current unit prices of land regulated by the State should be abolished, since they have long been obsolete. Instead, local authorities should apply new land prices that are equal to 70-80 percent of the market prices, or to the average market price. Such prices will be used in calculating financial obligations payable by land users to the State and in determining compensation payable by the State to those who have their land withdrawn.