Legal updates by Dr. Oliver Massmann | May 2022

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Our long-standing GBA board member Dr. Oliver Massmann, Partner at Duane Morris Vietnam LCC, is sharing the most relevant legal updates with you.

Dr. Oliver Massmann is an International Attorney at Law and a Financial Accountant and Auditor, with over 20 years of experience working as a commercial lawyer in Vietnam. He is volunteering as a legal advisor for the GBA from the beginning of the association. Our regards and thank you!

  1. Vietnam temporarily stops health declaration for arrivals from April 27
  2. Government sets up six working groups to boost public investment disbursement
  3. Nation strives to remove bottlenecks for digital government development
  4. Vietnam will raise special consumption tax (SCT) on cigarettes, beer, and spirits
  5. Policies in support of post pandemic economic recovery translated into legal texts


  1. Vietnam temporarily stops health declaration for arrivals from April 27

Some highlines are as below:

  • Arrivals entering Vietnam via all border gates will no longer have to fill and submit health declaration forms from April 27, the Ministry of Health has announced on April 27.
  • Based on the pandemic situation and the Government’s Decree 89 of 2018 regulating the implementation of the Law on infectious disease prevention and control regarding border health quarantine, the Ministry of Health asked the People’s Committees of localities to guide agencies to temporarily cancel the requirement to make health declarations for all arrivals from April 27.
  • They are instructed to continue monitoring arrivals’ health at border gates and proactively update COVID-19 prevention and control recommendations in line with the real conditions.
  • The dropping of this measure is in response to recent reports of long waiting time and congestion at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City due to the rising number of flight passengers with the country’s reopening and the upcoming four day public holiday April 30 May 1.
  • The ministry said it will continue to update and provide information relating to the pandemic inside and outside the country to have proper prevention and control solutions.
  1. Government sets up six working groups to boost public investment disbursement

Here are some remarks:

  • Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh signed Decision No 548 /QD TTg on May 2 establishing six working groups to solve problems related to the disbursement of public investment.
  • The groups will work with ministries, central agencies, and cities and provinces which have failed to allot all of their allocated public investment by April 30 and those with a disbursement rate below the country’s average at around 18 5 per cent.
  • Members of the working groups include leaders of ministries and central agencies including the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Construction, the Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, and the Government Inspectorate.
  • According to the Ministry of Finance, the country’s public investment disbursement in the first four months of the year was expected to reach almost 18 5 per cent of the allocation made by the prime minister Seven ministries and eight cities and provinces had a disbursement rate of over 25 per cent, however, 43 out of 51 ministries, and 28 out of 63 cities and provinces achieved less than 17 per cent.
  1. Nation strives to remove bottlenecks for digital government development

Some points stated as below:

  • Prime Minister has ordered ministries, ministerial level agencies, government attached agencies and provincial level People’s Committees to prepare infrastructure and fulfill cyber security conditions to connect national databases, and use data for the implementation of online public services by December Such is provided in Directive 2 /CT TTg of April 26 on development of e Government towards digital governance and promotion of national digital transformation.
  • Ministries and agencies must work to improve their capacity and quality of services, as well as expand connectivity, surveillance and access control over data transmission networks by September.
  • Agencies have also been asked to make more efforts in IPv6 adoption, work on information systems and the establishment of a communal digital technology network. The evaluation of digital Government and digital transformation progress at agencies and organizations should be conducted in December annually. The agencies are required to devise measures to encourage people to use digital signatures for administrative procedures.
  • The development and use of ‘Make in Vietnam’ digital products and services must be promoted, with the deadline for assessment set in December each year.
  1. Vietnam will raise special consumption tax (SCT) on cigarettes, beer, and spirits

        Some remarkable points here:

  • With Decision No.508/D TTg approving the Strategy for Tax System Reform to 2030, which was approved on April 23, the government will develop a road map to increase the SCT on tobacco, beer, and alcoholic products to limit production and consumption and meet international commitments, as well as review and adjust excise tax rates on several commodity items to suit socioeconomic conditions.
  • In Vietnam, alcoholic beverages are currently subject to an SCT of 65 per cent, increased from 50 in 2018, while the SCT on tobacco stands at 75 per cent as of 2019.
  • Smoking rates in Vietnam are one of the highest in the world according to the World Health Organization (WHO), while in recent years, Vietnam’s alcohol consumption, particularly beer consumption, has risen dramatically. Vietnam is Asia’s third largest beer drinker, with volumes increasing by an average of 6.6 per cent over the previous six years, compared to the global growth rate of 0.2 per cent.
  • According to WHO’s report in February, taxation on alcohol should be considered a health measure and not purely an economic instrument. There is consensus among many of its member states to follow the recommendation of a minimum of 75 per cent tax share of the retail price of tobacco, a goal that has already been achieved by more than half of the 53 countries.
  1. Policies in support of post pandemic economic recovery translated into legal texts

 Some remarks here:

  • The National Assembly (NA) on January 11 this year adopted Resolution 43 providing a number of fiscal and monetary policies to support the socio economic recovery and development program.
  • The Government issued Resolution 11/NQ CP at the end of January, focusing on recovering and developing production and business activities and maintaining growth motivations with priorities given to certain fields and sectors.
  • The Prime Minister signed two Official Telegraphs 126/CD TTg and 252/CD TTg in February and March, urging related agencies, sectors and localities to resolutely and efficiently implement the program set forth in the NA’s Resolution 43 and Government’s Resolution 11/NQ CP.
  • Fiscal and monetary policies and Institutional and administrative reforms: Tax incentives with Decree 15 which was issued on February 1, 2022, guiding in detail a number of tax reduction or exemption policies under Resolution 43, Credit policies under Resolution 11 as the subsidized interest rate of two percent per annum for a total loan amount of VND 40 trillion will be provided in 2022 and 2023.
  • According to the 2022 Asian Development Outlook, the Vietnam’s economy is expected to grow 6.5 percent this year, and 6.7 percent in 2023 on the back of the high vaccination rate, promotion of trade activities and effective fiscal and monetary policies.