Vietnam’s ODA disbursements rise in the second half of 2017

The disbursement of public investment and official development assistance-based capital through the end of the year is expected to reach government targets.

Tran Quoc Phuong, head of the Department of General Economic Affairs under the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI)-which manages the country’s public investment and official development assistance (ODA)-said, “Almost 100% of public investment capital for 2017 will be disbursed in full.”

Earlier, the National Assembly decided that total public investment capital for the year should be set at VND357 trillion (US$16.23 billion), including VND307 trillion (US$13.95 billion) from state coffers and VND50 trillion (US$2.27 billion) from government bonds.

As of late last month, only 30% of the total was disbursed, Phuong said. He cited many major causes, including complicated procedures, difficulties in site clearance, and weather conditions.

“Now many projects have completed their procedures, and their capital will be disbursed soon,” Phuong said. “The remaining months of the year often see higher disbursement than the first months of the year, because investors and contractors often prepare documents in the year’s first half, and then boost disbursement in the year’s second half.”

MPI is now listing all state-funded projects to be implemented by other ministries and agencies this year, so that capital can be provided. “We have to follow the prime minister’s Resolution 70 quite strictly,” Phuong said.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc enacted Resolution No. 70/NQ-CP on speeding up the disbursement of public investment capital nationwide, in a bid to contribute to helping reach the economic growth target of 6.7% this year.

The resolution states that all of this capital, regardless of its source, has to be disbursed in full.

At a meeting on public investment disbursement in 2017, organized two weeks ago between the prime minister’s Working Group of the Government Office Mai Tien Dung and leaders of 13 ministries and provinces, Dung conveyed Phuc’s order that if the disbursement is not improved by October, the prime minister will consider transferring the funds to other ministries and localities, and that the heads of ministries, agencies, and localities will have to take responsibility for such delays.

“Next month, the prime minister will directly inspect some projects with slow disbursement or slow implementation progress,” Dung said.

Luu Quang Khanh, head of the MPI’s Department of Foreign Economic Relations, said that efforts will be made to disburse all US$4.6 billion in ODA earmarked for 2017.

In this year’s first seven months, only US$1.9 billion in ODA was disbursed, 41.3% of the total. This is equal to 95% of the same period last year.

The slow disbursement is due to differences in procedures between Vietnam and international donors, site clearance difficulties, and weather conditions.

“We will combine with ministries and localities to review all ODA-funded projects. Any project which proves to be ineffective will see no disbursement, and its capital will be transferred to other effective projects,” Khanh said.

He added that under the prime minister’s order, MPI will amend Vietnam’s ODA attraction and usage strategy, ODA will not be invested in sectors where private firms and investors can engage.

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