ODA report: debts heaped on debts

09:04' AM - Friday, 29/12/2017

The Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) has been asked to explain to the National Assembly why ODA (official development assistance) loans have reached a total of VND600 trillion, twice as much as the amount approved by the NA.

The amount is the total sum of capital Vietnam has signed to borrow, but a part of it has not been disbursed and will be taken into account for the next period, according to MPI.

However, Dang Dinh Dao, an economist, said agencies signed ODA contracts when they had not analyzed the projects thoroughly.

It is alarming that agencies try to borrow as much more ODA capital as possible, viewing this as a great achievement, he said.

Affirming that ODA capital is not non-refundable aid, Dao said MPI has to report in detail which projects Vietnam has borrowed capital for, which localities have capital allocated, and if the projects have been programmed for medium- and long-term development.

MPI also has to explain how the borrowed capital has been used and the efficiency of capital use.

“It is necessary to assess the efficiency of ODA capital use in every specific project. Though ODA plays a very important role in the national economy, we sometimes have to say ‘no’ if the projects are ineffective and place a big burden on the nation,” Dao said.

“So, the next step we have to do after MPI explains the amount of VND600 trillion of ODA loans is to check all the projects which have been using and will use ODA capital,” he said.

Dao went on to emphasize that it is necessary to clarify the responsibilities of the state management agencies on the borrowing of capital.

“The agency now must come forward and take responsibility for its plan,” he said.

Dinh Son Hung, former deputy head of the HCMC Research Institute for Development, said it is necessary to clarify the amount of ODA loans which are double the permitted level.

There are several things Hung believes MPI has to do. First, it has to explain why Vietnam needs a loan of up to VND600 trillion, and if the borrowing is necessary and how the loans will be used.

Second, Hung believes that the NA should ask MPI to make public which projects the capital has been used for.

“I can see that ODA capital has not been used effectively,” he said.

In the latest news, the Ministry of Finance has become the only body that manages public debt in Vietnam.- VNN -

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