The National Assembly will increase its budget oversight activities to ensure that the country's financial resources are being used in a transparent and proper manner, Bui Dang Dung, Vice Chairman of the National Assembly Financial and Budgetary Commission, told the Viet Nam Economic Times.
The year 2013 was the first year when the practice of transparency in the state budget expenditure became an urgent and pressing issue in Viet Nam. Do you support such a conclusion?
Yes. I can't agree more. In the course of national development, our public finance has undergone quite many changes. The State budget keeps increasing with diverse revenues coming from taxes, tariffs and natural resources.
Meanwhile, the State spending also increases, requiring more efficient and transparent resource management. This is a burning issue for managers, voters and all Vietnamese citizens.
To make things more transparent, it is imperative for the legislative body to increase its oversight activities. Do you think that the lawmakers have done well in this task?
I have to concede that the National Assembly has certain constraints in making decisions relating to the State budget, including budget projection, budget allocation or the oversight of the State budget.
There are various reasons leading to such constraints. The operational mode, organisational structure, mechanisms and policies on the management and use of the State budget sometimes have failed to meet the requirements.
However, in my own opinion, we cannot forget to mention the insufficient and timely information given to the National Assembly deputies before they cast their votes on matters relating to the State budget.
However, I should say that in the past few years, the financial and budgetary oversight missions conducted by deputies were highly appreciated and had positive effects. The quality of the missions had a lot of improvement.
During the full House meetings, deputies discussed and assessed the collection of revenue activities and came up with measures to increase the State budget, while making the right decisions on the spending.
A very important task of the National Assembly is to allocate the State budget for sectors, ministries and localities so that they are able to fulfill their assigned missions.
Of course, a very important mission that the National Assembly has to do is to evaluate the budget structure for development investment in each period of time.
I should say the performance of the National Assembly in the past few years was really good, contributing to better management and usage of the State budget in a practical, thrifty and effective manner.
Do you think that your commission had a strong voice in the National Assembly's oversight activities?
In the past 10 years, from 2003 to 2013, in the implementation of the Law on the State Budget and the Law on the National Assembly Oversight Activities, my Commission conducted many theme supervision visits, including "State budget investment in rural agriculture", "Equitisation of State Owned Enterprises", "Compensation in Land Clearance" and others.
These are burning issues in the society and have great impact on the State budget. I just want to say that the findings and conclusions made by the mission have reflected comprehensively the advantages and disadvantages as well as successes and constraints of those projects.
Meanwhile, the Financial and Budgetary Commission also conducted many supervisory visits to organisations and government agencies which use the State budget in their day-to-day activities.
During the missions, we checked all the steps thoroughly, ranging from formulating the requests for State budget funding, budget allocation and settlement and tax management and national reserve management.
My commission also organised a testimony on the operation of the Viet Nam Oil and Gas Corporation or a thematic conference on the public debts issue, public management and others.
However, many people have complained that your commission's oversight missions have not helped to improve the situation much. How do you respond to that?
No. I don't agree. Our missions have provided solid foundations for evaluation of the government's task of managing the State budget. Every year, we have to do the appraisal of the government's report on implementing the Law on Practising Thrift and Combating Waste.
In addition, we also conduct monitoring visits to various government agencies at the central and local levels on how they use the State budget. Our reports on these visits have served as an important information source to the National Assembly Standing Committee and the deputies for discussing and evaluating the government's report.
I also want to say that our supervision visits have contributed to solving some of the burning issues in the financial and budgetary fields. Our thematic supervision visits have had strong impacts on the generation of revenue for the State budget and its spending.
And what's more important, our findings have been used in appraisal reports sent to the National Assembly for the deputies to consider before casting their votes on the House's important resolutions on the State budget.
I just want to reiterate that the reports written following our oversight visits have always reflected the true facts that we observed. They have provided a lot of useful inputs for the appraisal work and the decision making on issues relating to the State budget and the work of making laws. — VNS