The Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) has pointed out shortcomings in the operation of the Disaster Risks Prevention Fund.
The fund was set up in accordance with the Law on Natural Disaster Prevention and Control and Resolution 94 issued in 2014. However, after five years, VCCI has received many feedbacks about its shortcomings.
For example, some firms have contributed hundreds of millions of VND to the fund for the company and for their employees. Meanwhile, other firms do not have to follow such regulations for no clear reasons. Several firms complained that the fund is not transparent and they do not know how their money is managed.
As of June 25, the total collected money reached VND2.36trn (USD101m), of which VND826bn was collected in 2018. Lai Chau and Quang Binh provinces still have not established their own funds and eight provinces do not collect money. The government could collect up to VND5.8trn last year but the real total was only VND826bn.
According to VCCI, only VND920bn (USD39m) has been used in the past year while over VND1.4trn is still lying idle which is a huge waste. It is shown that seven provinces only collected money and seven other provinces spent very little money. For example, Bac Kan Province collected VND15bn but only spent VND37m.
Resolution 74 stated that the management of the fund must be published since many firms want to know how effectively their money is being used. However, such rules haven't been applied properly since only 42 provinces and cities submit reports. Only Binh Duong Province listed out every project for public monitoring.
Tran Quang Hoai, head of the General Department of Disaster Prevention and Control, said many authorities didn't dare to spend the money, fearing that they might violate the rules. Many localities face difficulties because the money from the fund cannot be used to pay salaries.
After the communal authorities collected the money, they can keep 5% and transfer the money to the district and provincial authorities.
"If the local authorities want to use the fund, they must submit the request to the provincial authorities for approval. It's very difficult to disburse the money," Hoai said.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has proposed to simplify the regulations and let the communal and district authorities keep 20% each.