Minister of Finance Đinh Tiến Dũng said in a statement that budget overspending reached about VNĐ249.4 trillion (US$11.1 billion) in 2014, representing 6.3 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) at that time. — VNA/VNS Photo
HÀ NỘI — National Assembly (NA) deputies speaking at a legislature session in Hà Nội yesterday urged the strengthening of financial discipline in the wake of official reports showing a rise in the State budget overspending and shortcomings in budget operations for 2014.
Minister of Finance Đinh Tiến Dũng said in a statement that budget overspending reached about VNĐ249.4 trillion (US$11.1 billion) in 2014, representing 6.3 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) at that time.
This exceeded a limit set by the NA for the year of VNĐ224 trillion, or 5.3 per cent of the annual GDP.
In 2014, budget revenues reached VNĐ877.7 trillion, 12 per cent higher than the planned figure, thanks to increased revenues from crude oil, land use rates, import taxes, and tax collections from different economic sectors.
Budget spending amounted to more than VNĐ1.1 quadrillion in 2014, an increase of 9.7 per cent over the value allocated for the year. This was attributed to increasing capital investments with money mobilised from overseas sources.
Dũng said ministries and national and local agencies sought to adhere to their budgets following national goals for macro-economic stability, inflationary control and social security performance.
However, the country’s demand for official development assistant (ODA) capital to implement traffic and irrigation works in 2014 was great, driving ODA disbursement value to nearly VNĐ41.7 trillion – a hike of up to VNĐ26.2 trillion compared with the set limit.
General State Auditor Hồ Đức Phớc said audit results showed that ministries, central agencies and localities had not established proper plans for adequate budget revenues.
Some localities failed to assure a general growth rate of 12-13 per cent for revenues from domestic sources, and 8-9 per cent for revenues from import-export activities.
As for capital investment, shortcomings were found among the authorities which allocated money for unsuitable or unqualified projects, as well as those that used capital without practical surveys, Phớc said.
Nguyễn Đức Hải, chairman of the NA Committee for Finance and Budget, said the committee proposed adopting the ODA use hike of VNĐ26.2 trillion.
It also proposed NA ratification of this balance for 2014, based on the suggestion of the State Audit: a budget overspending of VNĐ249.4 trillion, or 6.3 per cent of GDP, with revenues of VNĐ1.1 quadrillion and spending of VNĐ1.3 quadrillion.
The NA will decide whether to adopt the figures in an early session today.
“We are presenting [the NA] with a fait accompli,” said Ngô Văn Minh, a deputy of central Quảng Nam Province, referring to the adjustment of budget figures
“As per the spirit of Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc, we should have nursed every đồng of taxes contributed by the people and used it efficiently,” he said, urging authorities to treat tardy projects and intensify regulation of spending in important fields such as education and science and technology.
Hà Nội delegate Nguyễn Văn Tuấn said he was worried about rapidly expanding public debt, although it remained below the national red line, accouting for about 58 per cent of GDP in 2014.
“This increased 17.1 per cent over 2013. Definitely we were trying to control public debt, yet we could not curb its growth… I would request that the ministries of Finance and Planning and Investment look straight into the issue, as public debt is one of the indices showing health of the economy,” he said.
“Financial discipline must be respected and strictly implemented at different levels, from central to local governments,” said Trần Hoàng Ngân, a deputy from HCM City.
Ngân said the Government, besides drastically fighting smuggling and tax and trade frauds to protect budget revenues, should continue to improve the business environment and foster production and business activities to create more revenues.
Cabinet member approvement
The 14th National Assembly yesterday also approved a list of 27 members of the Government proposed by Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc.
During the morning session, deputies heard a report presented by NA General Secretary Nguyễn Hạnh Phúc on the results of group discussions on the approval of appointing deputy prime ministers, ministers and other members of the Government.
NA deputies had a secret ballot to ratify the PM’s proposal on the appointment of deputy PMs, ministers and other members of the Government.
With 97.37 per cent of votes, the NA approved a resolution on appointing deputy PMs. They are Phạm Bình Minh, who is also Foreign Minister, Vương Đình Huệ, Vũ Đức Đam, Trương Hòa Bình and Trịnh Đình Dũng in the 2016-2021 tenure.
The NA also ratified a resolution on appointing 21 ministers and heads of ministerial–level agencies with 96.56 per cent of votes.
In her speech, NA Chairwoman Nguyễn Thị Kim Ngân said she hopes members of the new cabinet will perform well in their duties, meeting the expectations and confidence of NA deputies and voters nationwide.
Also in the morning, the NA heard and adopted a list of the vice chairmen and members of the NA’s National Defence and Security Council presented by President Trần Đại Quang. -- VNS