Having money but not spending is unacceptable: PM

The disbursement of public investment from the state budget has reached 60 percent, the highest ever level. The disbursement of ODA has also improved, but is still low.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, who chaired an online conference on the disbursement of development programs, ODA projects and preferential foreign loans on October 29, said the disbursement has been going very slowly and asked to find the reasons behind the problem.

Having money but not spending is unacceptable: PM

PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc

Phuc requested to clarify which agencies placed difficulties in administrative procedures for disbursement and caused problems during disbursement.

He said authorized individuals, agencies and management boards have to settle problems themselves, and not ‘pass the ball’ from provinces to the central government.

Emphasizing that the disbursement rate must be higher by the end of the year, Phuc said localities that cannot do this need to report to the Prime Minister, so that the government will transfer allocated capital to other localities and will never allocate capital to them in 2021 and 2022.

“There must be strong sanctions,” he said.

Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung reported at the conference that ODA disbursement had reached VND18.089 trillion as of October 31, or 30.15 percent of the plan assigned by the Prime Minister.

The ODA disbursement increased from 21.26 percent in the first eight months to 30.15 percent in the first 10 months, higher than the same period last year. The figure will be over 35 percent if compared with the adjusted plan.

The ODA disbursement increased from 21.26 percent in the first eight months to 30.15 percent in the first 10 months, higher than the same period last year. The figure will be over 35 percent if compared with the adjusted plan.

Since activities of ODA projects depend on foreign elements, the implementation of the projects has been adversely affected by Covid-19.

The pandemic has caused delays in importing machines and equipment, and in mobilizing specialists, foreign contractors, supervisors, consultants and workers.

In the case of the HCM City urban railway project (Ben Thanh – Suoi Tien section), for example, 100 foreign specialists could not come to Vietnam as planned and the import of equipment was also affected.

Dung said the government should set up a special policy allowing foreign specialists and consultants to enter Vietnam under the same conditions as short-term entry specialists.

According to HCM City’s Vice Mayor Vo Van Hoan, HCM City is implementing nine ODA projects, six A-group projects, and three B-group projects with total investment capital of VND123 trillion. And 100 percent of budget has been allocated.

Regarding ODA capital sourced from the state budget, HCM City has allocated VND5.044 trillion to six projects and disbursed VND1.51 trillion as of October 23, or 30 percent of the plan. It is expected that VND2.058 trillion will be disbursed by the end of the year, or 40.8 percent of the plan.

 

According to Hoan, the ODA disbursement rate is lower than the average disbursement rate of public investment in the city. This is mostly because of slow disbursement of capital for two subway projects due to problems in the dong/yen exchange rate.

The differences in administrative procedures between Vietnam and foreign contractors have also caused delays.

Hoan proposed that the Prime Minister should instruct the Ministry of Planning and Investment to soon define the ODA capital to be allocated to the two subway projects from the state budget, in Vietnamese dong, to speed up disbursement for the projects.

If the disbursement goes smoothly, the disbursement rate of the city may reach 80 percent. If the disbursement cannot be fulfilled this year, the city wants permission to carry forward the capital to the next year.

Phuc said the undisbursed capital remains very high, so localities need to speed up disbursement.

“Only when you are determined to set a specific goal will you be able to do this,” he said. “If the secretaries and chairs of cities and provinces don’t supervise and speed up the disbursement, the situation won’t improve."

Phuc emphasized that local authorities have to disburse as much capital as they are allocated and not let money become stagnant.

“Investors and contractors complain that they have to come to agencies many times,” he said.

The Prime Minister asked ministries and branches to continue completing the legal framework to better use ODA and disburse the capital, which serves the drawing up of a medium-term five-year plan.

“Having money but not spending is unacceptable,” he said. “This shows mismanagement, which must be changed."

Disbursement results of state budget capital in 2020:

VND321.5 trillion, 68.3 percent of plan. Thirteen ministries and branches, and 21 localities have disbursement rates of over 70 percent; 14 ministries and 6 localities below 45 percent; 8 ministries and 1 locality below 20 percent. 

Huong Quynh

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