Vietnam lawmakers call for better accountability at SOEs

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Vietnamese legislators have demanded greater accountability on the use of public money at state-owned enterprises after the government admitted to poor investment practices at several state-run firms. 

In a report sent to members of the National Assembly late last week, the government said 103 state groups and enterprises cut production costs and spending worth VND13.74 trillion (US$659.2 million) in a five-year period ending September 2011. They also scaled down or delayed 907 investment projects last year, saving more than VND39.2 trillion, according to the report.

However, the government noted that state capital and assets have not been used effectively, with some state enterprises making bad investments and facing losses.

Legislators said despite the conclusion, the government did not provide any further details on the losses, nor did it point out which companies were using state capital ineffectively.

Ho Chi Minh City representative Do Van Duong said recent scandals involving shipbuilder Vinashin and shipper Vinalines showed that public money has not been managed properly.

"It's time to investigate investments that cause huge losses of state money and hold accountable those responsible," he said.

Duong also said the National Assembly should review future government plans to grant money and assets to state-owned enterprizes to prevent more losses.

State enterprises should be making money for the government after being given preferential policies, instead of making losses, he said.

"State enterprises have large equity and receive tax incentives, but they are still doing a bad job," said economist Tran Du Lich.

He agreed that the government should have to explain in detail every decision to give state enterprises more money in the future.

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