Vietnam government urged to tighten belt amid falling revenues

By Thanh Nien Staff, Thanh Nien News

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 Vietnam's government reportedly has only VND45 trillion (US$2.02 billion) available for its management jobs. File photo
Many legislators have urged the government to cut administrative spending amid forecasts that revenue flows will remain weak next year.
Speaking at a legislature session last week Cao Sy Kiem, a legislator from the northern province of Thai Binh, criticized the government for failing to downsize as promised at the beginning of its office term in 2011.
"The government system, in fact, has been swelling."
Ho Chi Minh City legislator Tran Du Lich agreed, saying that since it is getting bigger and bigger, thus needing more money to function, the government would have no money left to do other management jobs.
The government also needs to "strongly" cut down on its spending on activities such as conferences and ceremonies, he said.
"We need to stop turning field trips into leisure trips at the government's expense."
'Extremely strained'
At the same meeting, Minister of Planning and Investment Bui Quang Vinh expressed doubts about the finance ministry's positive forecast about next year’s budget.
Although the ministry expects public revenues to see an increase of nearly VND60.75 trillion (US$2.72 billion) from this year's estimates, the budget would continue to be "extremely strained," he said
Nearly 42.8 percent of the estimated rise would come from lottery sales, which local governments would keep, he said.
The minister further pointed out that the government had only a meager amount of VND45 trillion ($2.02 billion) available for its management jobs in financial year 2014, even though it reported revenues of VND255.75 trillion ($11.46 billion).
More than half of the revenue was in local governments' pockets, and over 70 percent of the government's money was from sources such as foreign funding, he said.
The government plans to borrow more than VND3,000 trillion ($134.3 billion) over the next five years, mostly for repaying existing debts and covering the budget deficit, the media recently reported.
It expects its budget deficit to fall from 5 percent of gross domestic product now to 4.8 percent by 2020.

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