Vietnam gov't plans to borrow over $20 billion this year

Thanh Nien News

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A newly-built road in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Diep Duc Minh/Thanh Nien A newly-built road in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Diep Duc Minh/Thanh Nien


The Vietnamese government will borrow VND452 trillion (US$20.08 billion) this year to make up for its budget deficit and refinance its existing debts, according a plan recently approved by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.
In comparison, that was an increase of 50.6 percent from the government's borrowings in 2013. 
According to the plan, more than 56 percent of the money will be spent offsetting the country's budget deficit, projected at 4.95 percent of gross domestic product this year.
Only 13.2 percent will be distributed to public projects. About 21 percent will be for refinancing debts and the rest will be on-lent to local governments.
Vietnam's debt servicing costs are estimated at VND272.3 trillion ($12.1 billion) this year.
The government plans to raise VND353 trillion, or 78 percent of the borrowing target, through bond sales as well as loans from the social insurance fund and sovereign investment fund SCIC, which itself is trying to collect money from its investment in state-owned companies.
Official development assistance (ODA) loans from foreign sponsors are expected to amount to VND99 trillion. 
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has ordered his cabinet to cut public spending, as the state revenue has been hit by the global oil slump, news website VnExpress reported on Tuesday.
He also demanded government agencies step up efforts to prevent the revenue declines, including collecting more back taxes and selling stakes in state-controlled enterprises.
Profits and dividends from these companies will have to be submitted to the state budget, instead of getting reinvested, the website said.
Although Vietnam's crude exports dropped 48.1 percent year-on-year in the first five months, the state revenue still rose 4.5 percent thanks to sharp increases in tax collection, according to the Ministry of Finance's data.
Latest figures released by the government last month showed Vietnam's public debt was equivalent to 62.2 percent of GDP.
It will rise to 63.8 percent at the end of this year, and then 64.7 percent in 2018, or slightly lower than the threshold of 65 percent, according to the World Bank's projections.

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