Lao Vice President Bounnhang Volachith hosted a reception in Vientiane on May 23 for Nong Quoc Tuan, deputy head of the Vietnamese Government’s Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs (CEMA), who is on a working visit to Laos from May 21-29.
|The lack of funding is one of the reasons for the slow progress on construction of National Highway 27 linking Lam Dong Province to Ninh Thuan Province. — VNA/VNS Photo Ngoc Ha|
Many voters are worried about the fact that local interest groups have influenced State budget allocation. What are your comments?
I'm afraid to say that I don't have any comment on that. However, what I can say is that in Viet Nam, decentralisation has created a solid foundation for local authorities to decide in what to invest.
In reality, I concede that in recent years, some localities have over invested in projects, which has led to delays from lack of funding.
In my opinion, local planning should occur in line with national measures. That's the only way to help pull limited resources into important projects and avoid sluggish progress.
In your opinion, what can we do to avoid project delays?
Under Government Directive 1792 released on October 15, 2011, which focuses on strengthening investment management of state budget and government bonds, whoever gives the green light to a project has to ensure funding for it.
In the past, state budget was allocated to localities annually, but now it is distributed for three or even five-year periods to enable pro-activity in making the best use of available resources. This is a good way to abolish the practice of "ask and give." This way of decentralisation requires local authorities to take responsibility for taxpayers' money.
In recent years, more money has been channelled to public investment. Do you think this is a good sign?
It is a good sign indeed. However, I think the tendency will gradually decrease. Public investment should be focused in areas that other economic sectors cannot participate in. If total investment is decreased while public investment increases, our country will be in big trouble.
Should we have a legal mechanism strong enough to regulate and monitor public investment projects?
I can't agree more. Such projects must be effective and be a catalyst for investment those from other non-public sectors.
In Viet Nam we have many laws, including the Budget Law, the Investment Law and the Building Code. They are not enough! We should have a Law on Public Investment to ensure efficiency. In addition, we should have a Law on Public Procurement.
These two sets of documents can be useful to State Owned Enterprises as the largest consumers of public money.