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International bond issuances: who are the borrowers?

The Ministry of Finance does not make public the names of borrowers of the capital the government mobilizes through its international bond issuances, making it difficult to control repayment obligations of debtors.

VietNamNet Bridge – The Ministry of Finance (MOF) does not make public the names of borrowers of the capital the government mobilizes through its international bond issuances, making it difficult to control repayment obligations of debtors.

The government has released an official announcement about the issuance of $1 billion worth of international bonds that would help pay debts.

Though MOF has declined to give further details about the debts, observers know that payment of a $750 million debt the government borrowed from foreign sources through an international bond issuance in 2005 is due soon. The capital had been re-lent to Vinashin, the shipbuilder.

Vietnam will have to begin to repay the debt in 2016, while Vinashin, which has been renamed SBIC, is unable to repay debts due to big losses.

In 2013, when the government requested MOF to come forward and issue bonds for the Vinashin-incurred $600 million debt swap, it also asked the ministry to prepare a similar bond-issuance plan for the government’s $750 million debt swap.

An accumulation fund for debt repayment was established at the time of the rollover bond issuance for the $600 million debt, but sources said the accumulated money is modest.

It is unclear where the $1 billion capital raised from the bond issuance in 2010 has been used.

According to a government resolution, the 2010 bond issuance aimed to mobilize capital for the Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam), the Vietnam National Shipping Lines (Vinalines), the Song Da Corporation and Lilama to fund their projects, including the Dung Quat Oil Refinery, ship procurement, Xekaman 3 and Hua Na hydropower plant development.

However, there has been no further detail about the borrowers, project implementation or capital recovery.

Meanwhile, Vinalines has said that it had not borrowed capital from the source, and Vinalines’ restructuring plan submitted to the government did not mention the borrowed capital.

Economists have expressed concern about the lack of information about the enterprises which borrowed money from government-issued international bonds, saying that it makes it difficult to control the use of the capital as well as the payment capability.

Meanwhile, all the sources of income for repayment must be put into the accumulation fund for debt repayment from which money will be paid back to bondholders.

The Prime Minister’s Decision No 192 stipulates that non-state finance funds, including the accumulation fund for foreign debt repayment, must follow the financial exposure principle for strengthened supervision by the state and people.

However, the fund’s receipts and expenses have never been made public.

The 2013 State Audit report also cited problems in the management of foreign debts which have been re-lent to domestic XXxx missing  ,which serve the assessment of the debt payment obligations.



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