NA Deputy Chairman Phùng Quốc Hiển delivers speech at the fifth session of the 14th National Assembly (NA) Standing Committee yesterday. — Photo quochoi.vn
HÀ NỘI — The fifth session of the 14th National Assembly (NA) Standing Committee concluded yesterday with discussion about salaries for cadres and civil servants employed by the State Audit of Việt Nam (SAV), funding for constructions of SAV offices and the use of foreign funds.
The head of the SAV, Hồ Đức Phớc, said that in the light of the 2003 Constitution and 2015 Law on State Audit, the organisation’s leader was given many more tasks and responsibilities than before, but the salary for the post was not commensurate with the increased work load.
Now he received a salary that is either 9.7 or 10.3 times higher than the minimum wage for public servants and those working in the armed forces. The minimum wage was raised from VNĐ1.15 million (US$50.5) to VNĐ1.21 million on May 1, 2016.
He proposed an increase to rate 9.8 and 10.4 for the post of SAV head.
Chairman of the NA’s Committee for Finance and State Budget Nguyễn Đức Hải said the salary increase for the post was reasonable and some members of the committee suggested that the rate should be higher so that the SAV head’s salary would be equal to that of the Prosecutor General of the Supreme People’s Procuracy and Supreme People’s Court Chief Justice – 10.4 or 11.0 times higher than the minimum wage for public employees.
NA Chairwoman Nguyễn Thị Kim Ngân said that the salary adjustment for the post should be considered and proposed by the National Steering Committee on Salary Reform, which would submit a salary reform plan to the Party Central Committee in May 2018.
After the plan is approved, the NA Standing Committee would issue a resolution on salary and allowances for State Audit staff.
Also yesterday, the NA Standing Committee agreed on the need to fund construction of 13 SAV offices across the country and two audit training schools. The projects were approved with an investment of VNĐ2.4 trillion ($106 million) by the then Prime Minister in 2012 as part of Việt Nam’s strategy of developing audit sector by 2020.
Construction of ten offices is ongoing, and additional funds are needed to complete them and build the others.
The total estimated investment in the next three years for the constructions is over VNĐ3.1 trillion ($138.2 million).
Under the Government’s mid-term public investment plan for 2016-2020, nearly VNĐ1.6 trillion is allocated to the SAV. The SAV recommended seeking the other half of the required investment from other sources, including from money added to the State budget as a result of auditing activities.
The NA Standing Committee agreed with the SAV’s proposal.
Slow foreign fund disbursement
The last issue discussed in the fifth session of the NA Standing Committee was the slow disbursement of foreign funds.
Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyễn Thế Phương said that this year, Việt Nam plans to receive foreign funds totaling VNĐ50 trillion ($2.2 billion), but as of last month, just 74.9 per cent of the sum had been disbursed. Nine ministries, agencies and 26 localities failed to disburse the foreign funds as planned.
The planning and investment ministry wants to change this year’s plan of foreign funds disbursement and suggested putting part of the money into two State banks – Việt Nam Bank for Social Policies and the Việt Nam Development Bank. The foreign funds would be used to increase charter capital of the two banks.
Hải from the Committee for Finance and State Budget said each foreign fund including Official Development Assistance or loans from international credit institutions were committed to certain programme or activity.
Some who spoke at the debate said depositing foreign funds in the banks might contravene the agreements governing the funding, as well as the funding principles of the Law on State Budge, Hải said.
He added that the grant of charter capital for the two banks must be included in the Government’s mid-term public investment scheme until 2020.
NA Chairwoman Ngân noted that the Government proposal to adjust the foreign fund allocation plan comes just nine days before the end of 2016. “It’s too late,” she said.
She claimed that for years, the management and disbursement of foreign funds had been inefficient, with some funds disbursed slowly, some localities who could not disburse the funds they received while other localities overspent what they got.
She asked the Government to review and address the problems so that the problems would not recur next year. — VNS