|Deputy finance minister Nguyễn Đức Chi gives a speech during a workshop on public debt management with economists in Hà Nội last week. — VNA/VNS Photo|
HÀ NỘI — Progress has been made in reducing Việt Nam's public debt according to the latest report released by the Ministry of Finance.
The country's debt level has gone down from 61.4 per cent to 43.1 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP) during the 2017-21 period.
While some of the country's objectives have been met, economists urged the Government to improve fiscal policies, debt and risk management to achieve greater efficiency and stability.
The report said Việt Nam's public debt has been steadily on the decline as the Government tightened up the control of key debt indicators and stepped up efforts in risk management to make sure it stayed under the debt ceiling set by the National Assembly.
According to the ministry, by the end of 2021 external debt was calculated at VNĐ1 quadrillion while domestic debt was at VNĐ2 quadrillion. The shift has significantly enhanced the country's ability to control exchange rates and national financial security.
As the country continued to improve its economic performance, experts have warned that its ability to access financial assistance will gradually deteriorate while its debt portfolio will become more complex and require a clear and consistent management approach in order to minimise risk and maximise efficiency.
"The ministry is looking forward to suggestions and advice from the international community on how to better manage Việt Nam's public debt level and how to make the most out of it for the country's socio-economic development," said deputy finance minister Nguyễn Đức Chi.
Economist Trần Du Lịch said special attention must be paid to the country's net income and how to attract additional capital in the near future, especially in meeting its existing financial obligations and speeding up public investment projects.
"One of today's key issues is how to quickly put our money to use. Last year, the Government made it clear that it was not going to allow costly borrowing to stay idle for long. Steps have been taken to address shortcomings and limitations in public investment policies," he said.
"The idea is to make the most out of our borrowing by quickly lying down public projects that are capable of stimulating growth within our private sector, a major macro-economic objective," Lịch said.
"The key here is economic efficiency. In the long run, the public debt level will likely decrease as our economy maintains its growth," he said.
Experts have suggested the Government consider the establishment of an independent debt management office (DMO) modelled after successful examples such as those found in Austria, Finland, Ireland, Portugal and Germany. — VNS