Chairman calls for public investment strategy
HA NOI (VNS)— Lack of a comprehensive planning strategy has led to waste and losses in public investment.
This comment was made by the chairman of the National Assembly (NA) Committee for Finance and Budget, Phung Quoc Hien, yesterday during a review of the NA Standing Committee's implementation of the Law on Thrift and Waste Prevention.
Hien said many public investment projects did not spring from national or local development plans but were based on short-term demands. And while many were approved, they were often kept waiting for plans.
Ha Noi is an example. It has about 500 projects delayed by lack of plans.
In addition, many plans overlap and are inconsistent, which also leads to waste.
Hien said the approval of public investment projects without taking account of financial resources had led to a scattering of investment in many projects and ineffective use of other resources.
Statistics from the Ministry of Planning and Investment show the total of State bonds allocated for this purpose had funded only 36 per cent of the projects in progress. Another 7,000 approved projects involving a total of VND273.4 trillion (US$13 billion) have yet to be allocated finance.
The ministry also reported that the time for completing 143 projects funded by State bonds had lengthened.
Chairman of the NA Law Committee Nguyen Van Hien said violations during the review, approval and implementation of state projects had also caused a lot of waste.
Hien shared Hien's opinion and said violations remained high. Reports from the State Audit of Viet Nam showed most public projects audited in the first eight months of this year committed violations in bidding, appraisal, approval, implementation or declaration of balance sheets.
Meanwhile, the illegal exploitation of minerals and other natural resources has also concerned NA Standing Committee members.
Deputy Minister of Finance Vu Thi Mai said the failure of many localities to prevent illegal exploitation and trading of minerals, including titan, gold, mineral sands and iron ore, had depleted the country's natural resources.
The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources has revoked 200 illegal licences for mineral exploitations.
Last year and during the first six months of this year, environment police halted more than 2,100 mining projects and collected fines worth VND21.7 billion ($1 million).
Members blamed shortcomings in State management between central-level relevant agencies and local authorities for the problem.
The Law Committee's Hien said other countries set short, mid and long-term plans for minerals exploitation coupled with strict management.
"It is necessary for the country to figure out which minerals or natural resources should be used now and which should be saved for the future," he said.
He also suggested there should be statistics to enable comparisons of waste and losses from year to year.
Hien said violations creating losses for the State budget or the country's natural resources should receive tougher punishments.
The NA Standing Committee yesterday also discussed the organisation of the fourth session of the 13rd National Assembly scheduled between October 22 and November 23.
During the session, deputies will comment on plan for socio-economic development and State budget allocation.
Yesterday afternoon, members debated a report on the prevention of corruption.
Deputy chairman of the NA Uong Chu Luu said State agencies needed putting under a light so that the public could supervise officers' decisions and performance.
The discussions ended the 11th session of the NA's Standing Committee which lasted for a week. — VNS