Lê Như Tiến, Deputy to the 13th National Assembly, spoke to vov.vn about the serious problem of losses and wastage in Việt Nam
How do you respond to a recent report saying that there are many large projects with millions of US dollars invested in them where wastage has been detected?
I have to say this problem has time and again been mentioned at National Assembly meetings. The deputies have even pin-pointed projects that had problems at the appraisal and approval period or during investment making decisions and investment appraisals. A case in point was the Thái Nguyên Iron and Steel Complex. Millions of dollars from the State budget were invested in this complex, but it has been lying idle for almost a decade!
Here I just want to emphasise that the State budget is tax payers’ money. And we, National Assembly deputies, were elected by the voters. So it is our duty to make sure that tax payers’ money is wisely used.
Reports on the practice of thrift and the fight against wastage have repeatedly pin-pointed shortcomings in the use of the State budget. Why can’t we take action to stop such encroachments of the law?
I have to admit that there remain loopholes in the implementation of the State Budget Law, ranging from management to budget spending.
In some special circumstances, a few local governments have given themselves the right to use the State budget at their own will before asking permission from the Central Government.
In other words, our rule of law on finance has not been strictly upheld by some high ranking local government officials. As a result, many colossal buildings have been built, like a million dollar stadium lying idle for the whole year, or a million dollar museum that was built either in Hà Nội or Quảng Ninh Province – but where only a few art objects are displayed.
These are eloquent indications of big wastes of tax payers’ money!
Many laws have been approved by the National Assembly, including the Investment Law, Tender Law, the Law on Enterprises and many others. What do you think about the enforcement of these laws in Việt Nam?
I’m sorry to say that law enforcement in Việt Nam is not as good as expected, particularly regarding the Laws on State Budget, the Law on Investment, the Law on Tendering and the Law on Enterprises.
A case in point is the elevated train project in Hà Nội. The project has been delayed for several years, causing a budget blowout of millions of dollars. That’s not all. The project has become a threat to passersby and claimed the lives of several people.
How about the responsibility of heads of office in the course of project implementation?
This has been well written in our laws, but in real life, something is different.
The saying, “Victory has a hundred fathers and defeat is an orphan,” is true in many cases in Việt Nam.
In my opinion, the “pollutant pay” principle should be upheld. First of all, the head office and then the people who have caused the problem or wastage.
To my understanding, in the near future, the National Assembly Standing Committee should ask the Government to present a specific report on the issue of losses and wastage throughout the whole country to a National Assembly full house meeting. The deputies will then discuss measures to remedy the problem. — VNS