New era for municipalitiesWe live in an era of unlimited competition. The paradigm of global competition is changing from competition among countries to competition among areas or cities. Local areas’ competitiveness defines the country’s competitiveness. This is a global trend.
We hope that the 18th National Assembly will present a vision for strong local governments by revising the Constitution to guarantee local autonomy. The first step to enhance local municipalities is to restructure the administrative system. Local governments are meaningless if they don’t generate development in an area.
In the 17th National Assembly, the ruling party and the opposition party agreed on a basic idea to form a special committee for restructuring the local administrative system to make cities, counties and districts larger administrative units.
But as their political interests clashed, their agreement didn’t lead to legislation. We hope the 18th National Assembly will craft a blueprint for restructuring the local administrative system and try to win public consensus.
Local municipalities can have autonomy and become more powerful when they have an enhanced right to enact laws for themselves and to financing, which can be possible through restructuring the administrative system. First, local government should be given a right to legislate ordinances to have more autonomy. For instance, they should be allowed to draw ordinances to limit citizen rights, impose duties and establish punishment in accordance with law.
Useless fights over power between the central government and local governments should be avoided. Rights should be allocated in a reasonable way to increase the entire country’s effectiveness and competitiveness.
It is important and necessary to allow local governments to finance themselves. If local municipalities don’t have their own capacities or rights to finance themselves, they can’t have autonomy in the truest sense. The local governments are constantly requesting that national taxes and local taxes be adjusted and this request must be discussed seriously.
Local municipalities, not the nation, are at the center of global competition. The destiny of a nation depends on how many competitive local governments the country has.
A direction to restructure the entire country should be established with a broader perspective for the future. The National Assembly must take a leading role to open a new era of enhanced local municipalities.