Guidelines for the Implementation of the Regulations on the Operation of Foreign Non Governmental Organizations

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Committee for Socialist Republic of
Non-Governmental Vietnam Independence-Freedom-Happiness
Organization Affairs

No. __________/UB-PCPNN Hanoi, 7th August, 1996

Guidelines for the Implementation of the Regulations on the
Operation of Foreign Non-Governmental Organizations
in Vietnam

Following Decision No. 340/TTg dated 24 May, 1996 of the Prime Minister on the issuance
of the Regulations on the Operation of Foreign Non-governmental Organizations in
Vietnam;

Following Decision No. 339/TTg dated 24 May, 1996 of the Prime Minister on the
establishment of the Committee for Non-governmental Organization Affairs;

The Committee for Non-governmental Organization Affairs (hereinafter referred to as the
Committee) hereby addresses the guidelines for implementation of the Regulations on the
Operation of Foreign Non-governmental Organizations in Vietnam as follows:

I- GENERAL PRINCIPLES:

1- Foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) stated in Article 1 of the Regulations
refer to non-governmental organizations, foundations, institutes, universities,
learning centres, trusts, friendship associations established in countries other than
Vietnam (including foreign individuals and Vietnamese overseas) coming to Vietnam in
the aim to conduct development, humanitarian activities without profit-making purposes
or others, shall have to get permission for operation according to the Regulations.

2- Types of Permits:

a) Permit for Operation: Permit for Operation is the recognition and permission given
to NGOs to legally conduct appraisals, financing and implementation planning for
development, humanitarian programs, projects in Vietnam or to implement development,
humanitarian programs, projects through Vietnamese partners.

b) Permit for the Establishment of Project Office: Permit for Project Office is the
technical and regular work station of an NGO or a Representative Office with programs,
projects in remote areas with difficult and costly access to transportation; bearing
the responsibility to manage one or several specific program(s), project(s) in the
locality or region.

Project Office shall be based in program/project area, or in a locality which avails
itself of favourable conditions for the supervision of programs, projects upon the
approval of that local authority.

c) Permit for the Establishment of Representative Office: Permit for Representative
Office is the official recognition to the regular presence and representation of one
NGO covering all its action plans in Vietnam.

Representative Office of NGOs shall be based in Hanoi.

3- The competent authority for the issuance, extension, amendment and withdrawal of
Permits shall be the Committee for Non-Governmental Organization Affairs. The standing
agency for foreign non-governmental organization affairs of the Committee shall be the
Vietnam Union of Friendship Organizations (hereinafter called the Union) . The People's
Aid Coordinating Committee (hereinafter called PACCOM) of the Union has been appointed
to be the focal point for foreign NGOs and functional bodies of ministries, central
agencies and People's Committees of provinces and centrally-administered cities,
addressing all issues relating to foreign NGOs' activities in Vietnam under the
leadership of the Committee and the Union. All information concerning NGO activities
in Vietnam shall be consulted with the People's Aid Coordinating Committee at 105A Quan
Thanh, Hanoi, Vietnam; Tel: (84-4) 8436936/8436937; Fax: (84-4) 8452007; E-mail: Paccom
@ netnam -org.vn.

II- CONDITIONS FOR THE CONSIDERATION AND ISSUANCE OF PERMITS AND PROCEDURES FOR
APPLICATION, EXTENSION, AMENDMENT AND WITHDRAWAL OF PERMITS:

1- The competent authority stated in point 3, Clause a, Article 6 of the Regulations
refers to the agency that is responsible for legal procedures for the operation
registration or permission for operation in its country or where its headquarters are
based. Apart from the conditions stated in Article 3 of the Regulations, NGOs with
effective on-going programs, projects shall be given priority in the consideration of
issuing Permit for the Establishment of Project Office.

2- The number of Vietnamese and foreign staff needed for the operation of Project Office
and Representative Office stated in Articles 6 and 7 of the Regulations refers to the
number of program officers, staff who will work on a regular basis at the Project Office
or Representative Office within the valid period of the Permit.

3- Chief of Representative Office, Project Office and the persons authorized by NGOs
stated in Articles 6, 7 and 14 of the Regulations shall be introduced by the leaders
of the NGOs in writing to be considered and accepted by the Committee.

4- The location of Project Office stated in the application for Project Office shall
be on the basis of provinces, centrally-administered cities. Project Office shall be
based in a provincial or a district capital which avails itself of favourable conditions
for the supervision of programs, projects after having been agreed upon by the provincial
authority.

5- The competent authorities for the approval of programs, projects stated in Article
7 of the Regulations shall, for the time being, be addressed in accordance with Decision
80/CT dated 28th March, 1991 of the Chairman of the Ministers' Council (now being the
Prime Minister) and delegated as follows:

– Programs, projects of under 50,000 United States dollars (USD) are to be
considered and decided by Ministers or Chairs of People's Committees of provinces,
centrally-administered cities.

– Programs, projects of from 50,000 USD to 200,000 USD are to be considered and
approved by the Ministry of Finance (given proper consultation with the Vietnam Union
of Friendship Organizations).

– Programs, projects of over 200,000 USD are to be considered and approved by
the Chairman of the Ministers' Council (now being the Prime Minister) upon the
recommendations after mutual consultation by and between the Ministry of Finance, State
Planning Committee (now being the Ministry of Planning and Investment) and the Vietnam
Union of Friendship Organizations.

Project partners under line agencies and localities (for programs, projects of under
50,000 USD) and project holder agencies (for programs, projects of over 50,000 USD) bear
the responsibility to complete all procedures relating to the presentation for approval
of projects/programs according to the above-mentioned delegation, as well as be
accountable for the use of the funded capital and management of programs, projects.

6- The Committee shall inform concerned NGOs of the results of applications according
to the time frames stipulated in Article 8 of the Regulations. While waiting for the

consideration and acceptance of the Committee, NGOs with on-going programs, projects
are permitted to temporarily operate as stated in their letters of application.

7- The issuance of Permit for the Establishment of Representative Office shall be done
right after a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is signed by and between the concerned
NGO and representative of the Committee. The Union shall be the agency responsible for
drafting, discussion and agreement with the NGO concerning the details of the MOU.

8- Within thirty (30) days from the date of issuance or extension of Permits, Project
Office, Representative Office of NGOs shall have to complete operation registration
procedures at provinces, centrally-administered cities as stated in Article 10 of the
Regulations. This registration shall be done through the body in charge of NGO assistance
affairs of the concerned provinces or centrally-administered cities (list and contact
addresses attached).

After completing operation registration procedures, the concerned NGO shall send a copy
of the Operation Registration Form (Form 1 and Form 2 attached) to the Committee.

9- Upon receipt of proper application documents for the issuance, extension, amendment
of Permit for Operation, Permit for the Establishment of Project Office, Permit for the
Establishment of Representative Office, PACCOM shall issue receipts.

III- RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF NGOS IN VIETNAM:

1- Responsibilities of NGOs:

a) Chief of Representative Office, Project Office or the person authorized by the NGO
to act as its representative shall abide by the stipulations stated in Articles 13, 14
of the Regulations.

Reporting: The time frame for regular reports (and upon-request reports) shall be as
stipulated by the Regulations (15th June and 15th December every year for NGOs having
been given Permits for the Establishment of Representative Office and the last day of
each Quarter for NGOs with Permit for the Establishment of Project Office and Permit
for Operation). Project Office of a Representative Office shall comply with
Representative Office requirements. Requirements on the contents of regular reports of
unified forms are to be sent to NGOs (Form 3, 4 attached).

Upon the completion of a project or at the end of each fiscal year, NGOs shall have their
liquidation statements sent to the Committee, the project holder agency. The Committee
shall request audits on the general financial activities of the Office and financial
transactions of programs, projects when necessary.

b) Chief of Representative Office, Project Office or the person authorized as
representative of NGOs bear the responsibility to assure that none of the staff of their
NGOs conducts profit-making or other activities which are not related to the those stated
in the application letters for Permits. Staff of one NGO can only work regularly for
another NGO only when permitted by that NGO and agreed upon by the Committee.

c) The person authorized by NGOs, Chief of Project Office and Representative Office bears
the responsibility to assure that relatives and dependents of the staff of their
organizations do not conduct technical, professional activities without seeking the
approval of the Committee.

2- Rights of NGOs:

a) Staff of NGOs shall be facilitated in getting entry-exit visas for Vietnam.

b) Representatives and full time staff of Representative Office, Project Office being
foreigners and their relatives (parents and parents-in-law, spouse, children) are
facilitated in obtaining entry visas according to current regulations of Vietnam.

Basing on the needs of programs, projects, consultants and advisers for specific programs,
projects shall be considered and facilitated in obtaining entry-exit visas upon the needs
defined in the programs, projects and current regulations of Vietnam.

c) Upon receipt of Permits for Project Office or Representative Office, NGOs are allowed
to rent office space, housing, hire Vietnamese citizens to work in the Office in
conformity with the regulations of the law of Vietnam. The number of foreign and
Vietnamese staff working at the Office shall not exceed the number that is stated in
the Permit. If a need for more staff is obvious, it shall be permitted by the Committee.

d) Representative and staff being foreigners of NGOs (when having assistance programs,
projects) can open expenditure bank accounts (in foreign currencies or in Vietnamese
Dong with foreign currency rooting) at banks established and operated alongside with
the law of Vietnam.

e) Tax-exempt importation of commodities, materials, equipment and vehicles for programs,
projects having been approved by competent authorities of Vietnam shall be facilitated,
and carried out by the Vietnamese project holder agencies basing on the project
agreements. All and every importation of commodities limited by Vietnam shall be approved
by the Prime Minister prior to importation.

f) Representative Office and staff being foreigners shall be allowed to import with tax
exemption, according to current regulations of Vietnam for foreigners, the following
commodities and equipment:

– Equipment, supplies, materials and vehicles needed for the operation of the
Office in Hanoi
according to current regulations of Vietnam.

– Equipment, facilities and personal effects for the Representative and
international staff within the first six month after their arrival in Vietnam.

g) Representative and staff being foreigners shall be allowed to re-export with tax-free
of commodities and equipment stated in Clause f.

h) Chief of Project Office and foreign staff are allowed to import with tax exemption
and tax-free re-export of certain office equipment and facilities, personal effects
alongside with the regulations of the Customs Office of Vietnam. The Committee shall
consider this on a case by case manner.

i) Officers, staff being foreigners of NGOs enjoy income tax exemption if all the payments
are made from external sources.

IV- MECHANISM OF ADMINISTRATION, MONITORING AND VIOLATION MANAGEMENT:

1- NGOs shall abide by the stipulations in Articles 16, 17, Chapter IV on Implementation
Provisions of the Regulations. Cases of delay due to the lack of information shall be
specifically considered.

2- People's Committees of provinces, cities where NGOs operate or Project Offices,
Representative Offices are based, bear the responsibility to facilitate and administer
the activities of NGOs (including administration and facilitation in housing, hiring
staff, registration procedures according to current regulations and all activities of
NGOs in the locality).

Line ministries, central agencies, People's Organizations, People's Committees of
provinces and centrally-administered cities shall give guidelines, assistance and
supervision the implementation of the Regulations according to given authorities. Every
case of violation shall be addressed and reported to the Committee accordingly. Every
merit of NGOs shall be reported to the Committee so that deserving acknowledgment could
be given.